Ten ways to improve your diet
We all know what we should be eating. We’re bombarded with advice and I doubt there’s anyone reading this who doesn’t know what good, healthy diets consists of.
But knowing what you should be eating – and actually putting it into practice – are two very different things.
Even though we know what foods are ‘good’ and which are ‘bad’, well, we only live once, don’t we? What about treats? What about those wonderful delights that make life worth living?
Improving your diet does not mean that we have to give up our favourite foods. We only need to make a few adjustments to improve the well-being of our families and ourselves.
Healthier eating starts when you’re shopping
If I had a pack of chocolate biscuits in the house right now, then I promise you there wouldn’t be a single crumb left in half an hour. Chocolate biscuits are fine as an occasional treat but I’d eat the lot so I simply don’t buy them.
It sounds simplistic but buy healthy foods and you’ll eat healthy foods. I’m not suggesting that you load your shopping cart with nothing but fruit and vegetables – that would be pretty boring – but make changes gradually.
Read the labels
When you think about the number of chemicals we are exposed to every day, it’s actually quite scary. Just walking down the street is adding chemicals to our bodies – who knows what’s in the air? We take medicines, we wear chemicals next to our skin due to laundry products, we even absorb chemicals that leach into foods from packaging.
There’s no need to be neurotic about this ‘chemical cocktail’ but check the labels on the products you buy regularly. If there’s an additive you’re unsure about, research it on the internet and check.
Cut down on animal fats
We all know we should do this. Even though we don’t eat meat in this household, there’s still cheese (and other dairy products) to consider. If you’re a regular meat-eater, it’s easy to cut down – try Meat-Free Monday – or to deliberately choose leaner cuts.
If cheese is your problem, again the answer is a little research. There are many websites that will tell you the fat content of your favourite cheeses. Switching to a lower-fat variety will lower the fat content of your diet and you might not even notice the difference.
Make changes gradually
If you try to suddenly revolutionise your diet, it’s going to be difficult. ‘Cheat’ and you’ll feel guilty.We don’t need stress and guilt in our lives so make your dietary changes in small stages. If you normally buy (or make) three fruit pies for your family every week, cut it down to two.
If you always buy weekly treats (such as my favourite chocolate biscuits!) buy smaller packs or purchase them less frequently. Don’t suddenly cut meat from your diet, just cut down. The aim is a healthier diet, not a penance. Be gentle to yourself.
Eat more fruit
This was such a tricky one for me – I’m not one of nature’s fruitarians. If you love fruit, there are plenty of ways to add it to your diet – add berries to breakfast cereal, make a daily smoothie, pureé fruits to add to both sweet and savoury dishes.
I find that I can easily eat more fruit if it’s already prepared and ready to eat in the fridge. It’s easy to select a few chunks of melon, some juicy strawberries and some delicious grapes for an instant fruit salad if all you need to do is grab them from containers in the fridge.
Rediscover homemade soup
Juicing is very popular and that’s a wonderful thing for health. But what you miss is the fibre from the fruit or vegetables. Homemade soup is the answer and is simplicity itself to prepare. (You also get a wonderful feeling of wellbeing simply making it!)
With the fabulous blenders available on the market today, delicious soups can be ready in minutes. They are wholesome and healthy and can also be very budget-conscious too. Add dumplings, croutons or simply lovely crusty bread on the side and your healthy soup is a meal in itself.
Buy organic when you can
I remember the days when organic foods were simply too expensive for the average household budget but things have changed. And buying non-organic can be a false economy. Organic foods taste better (so go further) and in many cases, will last longer in the fridge.
Would you eat a sliced supermarket tomato on toast for a satisfying snack? I wouldn’t. But a sliced organic tomato, broiled on slice of toast with a sprinkle of black pepper and a drizzle of olive oil (and why not?) is delicious and satisfying.
Find your local farmers market
If you’re lucky enough to have a good farmers market within driving distance, you’ll find organic produce, fresh wholesome bread, honeys, sauces, organic meats, unusual healthy foods and delicious tasty treats. And compared to trudging round the supermarket, the shopping itself is much more pleasurable.
Make your weekly trip to the market a pleasurable outing. Get to know the vendors – ask them about the items they sell. They’ll be happy to give you details. As a bonus, you might also discover chemical-free toiletries and household goods.
Make it fun
Food should be fun. Food is a pleasure. See your new way of looking at your diet as a voyage of discovery. Try new products, fruit or vegetables that you’ve never tried before. Experiment with fabulous recipes. Discover flavours that you’d forgotten about- or even never tasted. Be willing to try new foods and meal ideas.
Don’t see your goal of a healthier diet as something that is difficult or time-consuming- enjoy it. And remember, this isn’t a regime. Enjoy your glass of wine (or chocolate biscuit). Savour your food.
People have often said to me that they don’t eat as healthily as they could because it costs more. This is simply not the case. You’ll find that your healthier food will,over time, costless. Buy fruits and vegetables when they are in season. Make your own delicious, budget-conscious soups and other recipes.
Cutting down on expensive meats and ready-prepared,packaged food will invariably save you money. But do splurge from time to time!
You can really kick-start your healthier way of life – and make your life much easier with the product you see on the right.
The famous Nutribullet makes it so easy to prepare fabulous homemade soups and sauces as well as luscious fruit juices and smoothies.
It also does dozens of wonderful kitchen chores such as crushing ice, pulverising nuts and seeds and many more labour-saving tasks.
What’s highly useful too is that it has a special warming cycle that makes making soup and hot sauces as easy as pressing a button. There’s also a really good recipe book included that is full of great ideas.
Find out more here.