Monday 3th March
Eating a healthy, balanced diet is essential to any healthy lifestyle. But how do you do it? In our latest blog, we explore the 9 basics of healthy eating and the benefits they bring.
People are often put off cooking from scratch because of its perceived difficulty and time. There's tonnes of quick cook meals that take no more than 30 minutes including preparation.
Starting with food in its natural state is so important, that means all your food groups: Fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, seafood, nuts/seeds, wholegrains and beans. With processed or mass produced food such as ready meals it’s so hard to know what has been added and there are often hidden fats and sugars that taste great but aren’t good your body and can cause weight gain.
Real food is nutrient rich, giving your body everything it needs to keep your body strong and live an active life. Luckily real foods also include natural sweeteners in things like coffee, chocolate and wine – but these need to be consumed in moderation.
Wholegrains such as brown rice, pasta, and starchy vegetables (sweet potato, corn on the cob) have so many natural good things hidden in them, such as fiber for digestion, B vitamins for brain function & energy levels and minerals such as magnesium for bone health.
Refined carbohydrates like white bread and sugary drinks don’t fill us up for as long meaning we are more likely to snack and sugary drinks actually dehydrate us, leaving us tired whilst the sugar alters our metabolism.
Colours on a plate engage your enjoyment of food, particularly younger children, but also eating a variety of different colours gives your body all the different things it needs for high function. Whether its energy for that presentation at work or to mess around with your friends all day, ‘eating the rainbow’ will really boost performance, as well as looking great! Getting your children to help arrange a set of pizza toppings before putting it in the oven, or mixing up sliced vegetables into a slaw is fun and time saving.
It’s a misconception that all fats are bad for you. Our bodies need fat, particularly essential fatty acids which the body cannot make and to absorb vitamins A,D and E. However replacing saturated fats with unsaturated fats reduces our risk of heart disease. Unfortunately for us, any fats we eat that we don’t use get stored as fat in our bodies, so it's really important to make good choices.
Good fat choices are unsaturated fats of which there are 2 types; monounsaturated and polyunsaturated, which keep our cholesterol levels down helping keep our hearts healthy.
Examples of unsaturated fats are:
Protein is vitally important for our recovery and repair after a days work and after the supplementary fitness work we do. We can get this in a variety of ways, there is the obvious meat options with chicken and turkey naturally lean, and meat cuts that have chuck and loin in the name are lean, if you use a butcher asking them to trim the excess fat off is also good.
Fish is also lean and high in protein, and there is an exploding plant based market with tasty bean burgers, lentil curries to vary our diets. Low-fat yoghurts and 1% or skimmed milk are great ways to get extra protein without taking in extra fats. Explaining to your children where different cuts of meat come from and how fish are caught can really help foster their interest and enjoyment of eating food.
Carbohydrates are used to make energy for our bodies, our brains use 90 grams of glucose per day. Naturally occurring sugar is found in fruit and vegetables in the form of fructose or lactose. However, when sugar is added for flavour or colour to foods, these empty calories can have substantial effects, mainly weight gain. Reducing our processed food intake, changing sugary drinks for water and chocolate for fruit are good examples of quick wins in this area.
The easiest way to do this is too look at a plate and cover half of it with vegetables, a quarter with protein (Meat, Fish, Plant-based protein) and a quarter with carbohydrates such as pasta, rice and potatoes. If you miss a particular food group in one meal make sure you get it in a different one. Getting your children to help dish up and portion the plate helps them unconsciously learn about portion sizes and volume of food which will help as they grow.
In the busy lives we live, snack time is when we are most likely to reach for processed food. Preparing snacks that you like for the next day can help.
Great examples are:
Changing you and your families diet can be scary at first but if you plan properly and make little tweaks like going for natural not processed foods, reduce sugar and saturated fats you can start feeling healthier, lose weight and boost performance very quickly while eating scrumptious meals. Don’t make wholesale changes straightaway slowly change things overtime.
This doesn’t mean you can’t have the odd takeaway or meal out but make sure they are the exception and not the rule.« Back to News & Blog
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