Eating better or losing weight is often on people’s New Year’s Resolution list. Often that health kick doesn’t last long and there is a sense that good nutrition is complicated – you have read about it in loads of magazines, newspaper articles and internet pages. There are loads of adverts for expensive ‘nutritionally good’ foods and supplements, confusing labels and TV programmes. They so often say different things about what is good and bad.
Let us get back to basics. There are some simple nutrition principles that are generally accepted by trained health professionals and academics working in the field of public health nutrition. These principles are shown, in lots of scientific studies, to reduce the risk of those nasty things like high blood pressure, type II diabetes, some cancers and heart disease. If you keep these principles in mind then you can make a big difference and they are not complicated messages. In fact, I suppose they are quite boring so don’t make such interesting stories as […pick a food…] gives you cancer…..makes you fat….makes you thin…..makes you a sex god/goddess!!!!
- Eat more fruit and veg.
- Eat more fibre (wholegrain foods, pulses and of course fruit and veg helps too)
- Eat less red and processed meat
- Eat less saturated fat (found in animal products and the hard fats used in baking for example) and use more unsaturated based fats. Remember fat is an easy way to add calories to food so eating less fat can help weight management.
- Think energy – more calories than we use means more weight for us to carry. Thinking about how we snack, the drinks we have through the day, how we portion our meals and how we can make the food we eat less energy dense (think of that as calories per mouthful so adding more veg to a sauce for example) all can help us to eat fewer calories.
- Eat less salt
- Drink sensibly – I don’t just mean not drinking too much alcohol but also keeping hydrated and taking care with the choice of soft and hot drinks, they can be a real source of extra calories.
- ENJOY your FOOD!!!!! Changes for the better won’t last if you don’t enjoy it or doesn’t fit around the other pressures life throws at you. But eating well can taste good, be easy to prepare, doesn’t need to cost more – honest.
The name of the game is not to try to change everything all at once nor to ban some foods and drinks completely. That is so tough most of us mere mortals fall off the wagon and feel like we have failed. Instead look to make everything you eat or buy a bit better and change habits bit by bit. Making anything that you eat a little better and making those changes habit can add up to a large total benefit over time without feeling like we are sacrificing all we enjoy.
Eating well posts are going to explore these things in more detail and give ideas of how you can make easy changes, give some recipes and ideas of how you can change the way you make a standard recipe that you have regularly better.