Diet – the Golden Rules

Tips to make your diet healthier

A balanced diet is essential for a healthy body and lifestyle. Ensuring that you consume enough food from each of different food groups will ultimately make you feel and look more energetic throughout everyday life. It’s not rocket science, all that is needed are a few subtle changes in your lifestyle and diet routine – you may not even notice the changes but this is proof that the best things come in small packages. Read on to see our GOLDEN rules…

  1. Always eat breakfast Do you ever feel sluggish or lethargic by 10am if you miss breakfast?? Well, breakfast is the most important meal of the day! For most people, 8 hours is the average time spent sleeping and time is spent fasting. So after a night of fasting your body is in need of a quality kick start to help get it going. Feel more alert and give those hunger pains a miss by eating a decent breakfast – muesli or porridge with fresh fruit are brilliant options as these are slow releasing. Skipping will only make you feel worse and slow your metabolism!
  2. Rainbow food Attempt to eat as many different coloured healthy foods as you can throughout your day to ensure to are getting a diet rich in variety and nutrients. Set yourself a daily challenge of eating a minimum of 20 different coloured foods and try to introduce 2 new foods into your shopping trolley each time you shop! Doing so will guarantee you a broad range of vitamins and minerals as well as making your meals more interesting.
  3. Stay hydrated Keeping your body hydrated is vital considering that the majority of our bodies are made up of mostly water! Symptoms of dehydration include unusual fatigue, dizziness, hunger, dry skin, dark urine and general lethargy. So, topping up your body’s fluid intake with water and natural fluids (for example: fruit juice, green teas) is extremely important.
  4. Eat protein and complex carbohydrates together Combining these food groups in the correct proportions will ensure you received a steady flow of energy, as the body converts foods relatively slowly into glucose and avoid that slump or lethargic feeling after a meal. This would then prevent the triggering insulin production therefore minimising the potential for your body to store food as fat.
  5. Take some time to plan your meals Write out a shopping list and stick to it – this will ensure that you only get what you need and not what you want! Never shop when you’re hungry, as this is a fatal error that inevitably leads you to stuffing your shopping trolley full of junk! Also, stores usually place the expensive manufactured items at eye level so attempt to look at the other shelves for the best deal!
  6. Add in some exercise Exercise and a healthy diet are the key ingredients to getting results. Like it or not, doing one without the other will prolong your desired results! As a minimum guideline you should be aiming for 30-minutes of exercise three times a week to get you slightly sweating and out of breath. Remember, house work, washing the car or walking the dog to accumulate 30 minutes of exercise throughout the day to get your heart and lungs working!
  7. The 80:20 approach Our lives always involve some form of straying away from our perfect image. You would have to be a superhuman to follow a perfectly balanced lifestyle. The 80%:20% approach allows for this and can be adapted into most situation in life i.e. work: social time and healthy: unhealthy foods. It is acceptable to stray every now and then but it is essential that this only happens 20% of the time with the rest being good habits! This approach allows you the flexibility to enjoy life without being too restrictive, but still helps you to adopt healthy habits for the majority of the time.
  8. Make time to eat If you allow the time to savor and enjoy your meal it’s not only more beneficial to digestive health it will also allow your body the time to recognise that it’s full. Having lots of smaller mouthfuls compared to heaped forkfuls will also fill you up faster and get your digestive enzymes working. It takes around 20 minutes of eating before the body begins to feel signs of satiety, so make sure you take the time at every meal before skipping to desert.
  9. Avoid eating late at night Many people have a busy schedule, forget about lunch and having not eaten then do not eat until after 9pm once they are home. This ‘end-of-day load’ approach to your food intake can cause havoc with your Body-clock causing mood swings and ineffective decision-making! Effectively As a result of starving yourself during your maximum period activity, when you get home you would be extremely hungry and most likely eat a very large meal before going to bed. This ultimately sends the digestive system into overdrive well into the night and can cause you to have a poor night sleep as you body digests your dinner!
  10. Avoid sugar Where possible try to avoid sugary foods. Sugar acts as an additive so the best way to reduce your sugar intake is to do so gradually, weaning yourself off so that your cravings subside. Simple sugars i.e. from fruit are good however refined sugars from processed foods are the ones to avoid! By taking simple steps and being vigilant about ingredients, you’ll see the benefits in no time and seriously reduce the risks of disease, weight gain and tooth decay. Pretty sweet, eh?
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