By Maggie Catlow
I’m a creature of habit when it comes to food, so the suggestion of a diet or detox fills me with anxiety as I imagine that it would be living like I’m cast on Survivor with small rations of rabbit food. It may sound dramatic but I don’t think I’m the only one who feels overwhelmed at the thought of stepping out of their comfort zone by changing up their diet.
This is why it is recommended to integrate small changes to your meals that ultimately make a big difference to your overall health, happiness and waistline. It’s not a revolutionary concept, so I won’t take full credit for it, but I will advocate that you don’t need to be an extremist to feel noticeably better about yourself.
Here are a few simple nutritional changes that you can make today:
Chia seeds in the A.M.
Who knew that the little chia seed could pack such a powerful punch! A simple tablespoon of chia seeds over your breakfast cereal or porridge will increase your fibre intake for the day which optimises bowel health. It’s also a valuable source of omega-3 fats. Talk about getting the day started in the best way possible for next to no effort. Plus, if you have a little bit of extra time try making a Chia Pudding for breakfast. Click here for an easy three ingredient Chia Pudding recipe.
Incorporating good fats into your diet is fundamental for healthy skin and nervous system. Plant- based foods such as avocados, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil are great sources of healthy fats. A subtle way of increasing these is to cook with extra virgin olive oil as opposed to vegetable oil and snack on a small handful of nuts instead of crisps. Remember all things in moderation, so even with the good fats, keep them in balance with vegetables, fruits and proteins.
The big squeeze
A nutritious juice can be a fantastic and straightforward way to get your 2 fruit and 5 veg per day, just be mindful of how much you drink. You should be drinking mostly water throughout the day, but if you find yourself drinking primarily coffee, sports drinks, soft drinks or juices you are probably consuming a lot more calories and sugar than you need. Everything in moderation and remember to always drink water first when feeling thirsty.
Get some iron
Iron is a feel good nutrient, but all things in moderation including this little power house nutrient. Iron is essential for energy production and for carrying oxygen around your body. If you are a little low in iron, you may feel fatigued and tired if left untreated this can lead to anaemia. If you are a female of reproductive age, have a look at how much iron you are getting in your diet, especially if you are vegetarian. A simple change to add more iron into your meals involves adding spinach to salads and sandwiches, cooking quinoa instead of rice and enjoying a chickpea hummus dip for a snack.
Enjoy Mylk instead of Milk
Writing this as a lover of ice cream, I understand how sad the thought of eliminating dairy is. Rather than eliminating swap milk or dairy for an alternative that can have long term health advantages. Coconut and almond mylks are popular and delicious substitutes that are truly rewarding for your wellbeing. Almond mylks nutritional hit is due to its high B vitamin content and low sodium levels. Coconut mylk has magnesium and calcium, vitamins B, C and E locked away in this delicious drink, making it an excellent addition to our eating plans. Mix things up a bit, try swapping one of your usual serves of dairy for a tasty alternative and not surprisingly your body will often thank you.
Balsamic instead of heavy salad dressing
Don’t be fooled that only drizzling a “small” amount of heavy dressings such as Ranch or Mayonnaise dressing is harmless. Creamy salad dressings can be high in calories and often contain fats, sugars and preservatives. Instead opt for a couple of tablespoons of blood- stabilising balsamic vinegar with a squeeze of lemon to keep your salad, waistline friendly and tasty.
Switch up the sweeteners
While all sugars should be consumed in moderation, it is good to mix them up. Why not try pure maple syrup as an option rather than refined sugars. Maple syrup contains magnesium, calcium, manganese, iron, potassium and zinc. It also has a lower GI ranking than the standard table sugar. Other options may be Agave, Honey, Coconut sugar or Molasses, remember they all still contain sugars so go easy.
‘An apple a day keeps the Doctor away’. More fact than fiction in this statement, we can also extend the benefits to many different fruits. It’s easy to reach for seemingly healthy food such as cereal, nut and fruit bars when you’re looking for an in-between meal snack. Often these so called “nutritional” foods are loaded with sugar, corn syrup and saturated fat. In many cases an energy bar can have a similar amount of sugar as a biscuit. Many should be sitting in the confectionary aisle rather than positioning as a health food! People underestimate the sweet satisfaction of a beautiful piece of fruit. Nibbling on an apple, berries, pears, stone fruit or anything fresh can help you reduce your overall sugar intake and satiate your sweet tooth.
Mix and Mash
Have you tried swapping potato mash with cauliflower mash? Well I encourage you to, it is not only delicious it is full of nutrients and stacks up in the vitamin C intake, delivering almost a day’s worth of vitamin C, per cup.
On Different Condiments
Sour cream and Greek yogurt are so similar in taste and texture, but Greek yogurt is lean and packed with protein and probiotics that optimise gut function and health. Whenever you think to add sour cream to a sauce base or use as a taco topper, opt for Greek yogurt as an easy way of boosting your nutrition. Tahini added to a salad dressing, after shaking well can turn it into the ‘creamy’ option, as well as adding protein and calcium to the mix.This article provides general information and is not intended to constitute advice. All care is taken to ensure information is accurate and relevant. Please see your Practitioner for health treatments and advice.
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