As dietitians, we always get asked for our number 1 tip on healthy eating. So, here they are! Just a warning – there is nothing extreme, restrictive, radical or new-age about this advice. Just tried and tested methods.
1. Fad diets don’t work
Firstly, ditch those preconceptions that you need to drastically change your diet to see results. Years of research and clinical experience repeatedly tell us that strict diets don’t work. No, you don’t have to drink only lemon juice for 5 days to detox your body (why do you think we have a liver?). No, you don’t have to cut out gluten and dairy to cure your IBS. And no, you most definitely don’t have to starve yourself on 2 days of the week to lose weight. Be wary of anyone who suggests otherwise.
2. Learn to cook
Know what goes into your food. For the most part, try to cook with whole, unprocessed foods. A good rule of thumb is to choose foods with less than 3 ingredients. Build your meals with wholegrains (e.g. quinoa, brown rice, oats, wholewheat pasta), protein (e.g. meat, fish, eggs, dairy, lentils, legumes) and a variety of vegetables (the more the better). If you don’t feel confident in the kitchen – take a course or Youtube cooking videos. Cooking will be your greatest weapon.
3. Add don’t cut
Cutting things out of your diet doesn’t necessarily make you healthier. It’s what you add in that will have the biggest impact. Instead of thinking about the things you should reduce, think about the things you could increase. If you take one thing away from this article, it would be to eat more vegetables.
4. Everything in moderation
Yes, crispy cream donuts DO have a place as part of a balanced diet. We don’t just eat to nourish our bodies, but for a number of reasons including social connection, enjoyment and celebration – and that’s ok! Start being friends with food and stop feeling guilty for enjoying the food you love.
5. You aren’t what you eat
Health is not just about what you eat. We seem to be caught up focusing on what we put in our mouths, sometimes we forget there are so many other factors that influence our wellbeing. Don’t forget to think about your sleep, stress levels, mental health and physical activity – these are equally as important.
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