Friday, 5 October 2012

Some Tips for Happy Healthy Eating

1.    Eat Protein such as organic lean meats, topside or silverside, sirloin or filet of beef for example, poultry, chicken, turkey (everything trimmed of fat), beans, pulses and fish with at least once a week make this be an oily fish such as fresh tuna, salmon, herring or mackerel.  Soya and Tofu products are also very high in protein. 

To the protein add complex carbohydrates such as wholegrain bread, brown rice/ pasta and fibre rich vegetables, and fruit.  Complex carbs release glucose into your bloodstream more slowly, therefore making you feel fuller for longer.  Our bodies find complex carbs harder to break down; hence you get more energy from it for longer.  Both protein and carbohydrates are essential for bodily functions.  Protein helps with the growth and repair of muscles, bones and cells in the body.  And carbohydrates are our bodies preferred energy system. 

2.    Cut down on saturated and more importantly trans fats, that is the kind we find in cakes, biscuits, baked goods, chocolates, processed foods and junk food, pastries, pies, pasties and always trim the fat off from around meat.


3.      Eat a wide variety of foods.  Your aim is to have a colourful plate of appeasing foods, rather than a bland uninteresting one.

4.      Ideally 40 % of your plate should be made up of carbohydrates, up to 30% should be protein, and up to 30% good fats.


5.      Eat breakfast; it’s the most important meal of the day! 

It will start you off for the day, kick start your metabolism into gear and boost your energy too.


6.      Eat little and often.  Our stomach doesn’t like to be overloaded at any one meal.  Try and have at least 3 meals a day, breakfast, dinner and tea with a healthy snack either side of dinner and tea if possible.  Eating this way helps keep energy levels constant throughout the day.  Plus if you sporadically eat, only once or twice a day, you slow down your metabolism and the food you do eat may well be kept and stored as extra fat!  Try and trick the brain into thinking you are full by eating off a slightly smaller plate.  Take your time and chew properly, it takes about 20 minutes for the stomach receptors to tell the brain you’ve had enough. 

7.      Avoid sugar, or at least try and cut down on the amount you have.  For example, if you have 2 teaspoons of sugar with your morning coffee try and cut down to 1!  Remember sugar causes rapid energy highs, followed by energy slumps, which make you then crave more sugar or sugar loaded snacks.  Instead always make sensible nutritional choices to keep your blood sugar levels constant throughout the day.  Although that said I would prefer to have sugar (which is a natural product) over sweeteners, which is a man-made refined processed product.  As I’ve mentioned just be sensible.

8.      Also watch portion control, we tend to be a very visual, and what’s better than seeing a great big plate full of Steak and chips literally piled high on a plate!  As a general guideline a portion size is what you could fit into the palm of your hand (more detail on this subject to come).

9.      Eat fat to lose fat.  Essential good fats such as Omega 3 found in fish, oily in particular such as sardines, mackerel, trout, tuna and salmon. Omega 6 fats are found in nuts, seeds and pulses.  Other good fats include both poly and monosaturated such as olive, sunflower, vegetable and plant based oils or spreads and avocados.  These types of fats are vital for healthy bodily functions. 

10. Try not to add any extra salt when cooking or at the table. Recommendations are less than 6 grams for an adult and 4 grams or less for children per day.  If you must have your salt fix, look for a low salt or sodium alternative at the supermarket.  Also check food labels, a lot of hidden salt can be found in things such as bread, and cereals.

11. Keep hydrated.  Water is valuable and very important to our daily bodily functions and it helps cleanse are body of nasty toxins.  Try and drink as much as you can, up to 2 litres a day is perfect, more during exercise.  If you find plain water a bit of a chore, try adding a little fruit juice to make a little more appetising.  Rather this than a fizzy drink that will be loaded with sugar and chemicals.

Note on Alcohol, the experts now say, drinking moderately is actually okay.  It allows the arteries to open a little more allowing greater blood flow.  But this is NOT an excuse to drink inexcusable amounts, be careful!!  No more than 14 units for women per week or 2 per day and 21 per week or 3 per day for men.  If possible try and have a couple of ‘non alcohol’ days during the week to allow your liver to recover.

12. Obey the 80/20 rule.  This means if you can be good for 80% of the time, you may allow yourself a little treat or reward 20% of the time.

13. Make time to eat.  In this hectic lifestyle that we tend to lead inevitably we may sit down in front of the telly with a meal on our laps after a stressful day.  Try and make time to sit down at the table and enjoy a family meal together.  Take your time, enjoy your food and enjoy each other’s company.

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