Many of us start 2020 with a list of New Year’s resolutions that fall by the wayside by the end of January, if not before. What we really need is a sustainable and balanced approach to healthy eating that we can carry on month on month, year on year.
Here are my top 10 tips you need to adopt to achieve this:
- Ditch the January diet. Don’t fall onto the latest ‘diet’ bandwagon that will inevitably fill your inbox and hit the Daily Mail headlines on January 1st. The chances that these diets are sustainable or even right for you (bearing in mind we are all metabolically unique) is unlikely.
- Get back to basics. Unless you have a complex health condition, the chances are you are trying to over-complicate matters. Eat wholesome, unprocessed foods, ditch the excuses (eg I’m too busy) and just do it. Work out your priorities – if you don’t have your health, the rest of it is not much use to you.
- Work out what your goals are. What are the barriers you are going to face, the excuses you may make and how will you overcome them? Writing them down can be very helpful to help you stay focused and to go back to in moments of weakness to remind you why they are important.
- Diversity – diversity of food is important not only to avoid nutrient deficiencies but it has been shown to be key for a balanced gut microbiome. Our gut microbiome has a huge influence over our mental health, immune health, levels of inflammation and overall state of health. See how many different plant based foods you can include in your diet each day.
- Rotate your foods – it is easy to get stuck in a rut making the same decisions week in week out. By rotating the foods you buy and eat, not only will this naturally increase the diversity of your diet but reduces the chance of food intolerances developing. In addition, food rotation can reduce the risk of boredom setting in and, for children, helps expand their corticol processing response to food and taste from a young age.
- Search for new food sources. ‘Healthy’ foods are perceived to be expensive but they do not always have to be. Search out your local farmers market, a nursery selling home-grown produce, grow your own (you don’t need much space) and experiment making foods such as fermented foods and bone broth.
- Plan ahead. This is key for anyone with a busy life or just where food organisation is not your strong point. At the weekend sit down, decide what you are going to eat the coming week, draw up a 5 minute timetable, work out what you need in your fridge, when you will go to the shops and what on-line orders you need to book in. Who is going to do the cooking, what can you pre-prepare in case you are held-up or tired?
- Get educated on food matters. For example do you say ‘I have given up sugar’? Have you given up vegetables?! All carbohydrates are broken down in to simple sugars (glucose), even broccoli. Do you mean you are avoiding ‘added sugar’ and processed foods? Understand what is what – remember everything you eat, drink, breathe or touch is what makes up every cell in your body – what can be more important than understanding the importance of what you put into it – if not your own body then at least your children’s.
- Eat Mindfully. This sounds very basic but it can have a profound impact on what we eat: slow down when you eat, put your knife and fork down between mouthfuls, think about the flavours and last but not least, do not eat in front of the television or whilst using an electronic device
- Finally, enjoy your food. If you have become reliant on processed foods, as you start to cook your own food from scratch (which can be quick by the way), add herbs and spices, experiment with flavours and enjoy it:-).
If you would like to contact Katherine to find out how she can help you further please click here.