Create healthy habits, not restrictions.

So this week you’ve promised yourself you are going to do it, you are going to start eating healthier. But then it hits you.. you have absolutely no idea where to start. You sit down to google for tips and inspiration of diets to try and up pops a number of articles from various magazines and social media sites.  Some claim there are foods you SHOULD absolutely eat, some claim there are foods you should NEVER eat, others claim to eat 3 meals a day, some claim eat 6 meals a day, I even read an article this week that said all you need is to eat one meal a day. It’s confuses you, frustrates you, and you have no idea where to start, so you just decide against it and decide you’ll start next week cause it all seems to complicated.

This used to happen me countless times before when I first made the decision to focus on changing my lifestyle. I started off the week following one diet, switched half way through the week to another, and come the weekend I’d just given up completely and wrote the rest of the week off. Then come Sunday, I was back to square 1. Sound familiar?

So this week, instead of sticking to a ‘diet’ that might end up making you miserable come Wednesday, how about considering following these 9 rules/tips as your starting point for your new healthier eating diet.

  1. Limit the consumption of sugar, sweets, cakes, desserts and pastries.
  2. Minimise the consumption of refined carbohydrates such as white bread, cakes and biscuits.
  3. Eat more beans, lentils and whole grains as your carb sources(rice, rye, oats, whole-wheat, corn, quinoa).
  4. Eat more leafy greens and root vegetables such as broccoli, spinach, green beans, peas, peppers, watercress, carrots and sweet potatoe.
  5. Eat 2-3 pieces of fresh fruit a day. But be mindful not to reach for the sugariest ones. Stick to berries (blueberries, raspberries, blackberries) or have an apple/banana as a snack.
  6. Each day drink at least 6 glasses of water, herbal or fruit teas.
  7. Avoid excess fats – use low cal oil spray/coconut oil while cooking. Use 100% pure peanut butter like Meridian brand.
  8. Minimise eating processed meats and red meats. Try stick to leaner meat and fish sources like Chicken, Turkey, 5% mince, Cod and Tuna.
  9. Avoid drinking fizzy, carbonated drinks and caffeine sports drinks. Stick to diluted fruit juices with water if you really need them. Or just water.

Now those tips might seem basic, but believe me, if you stick to the above alone, come the weekend you will be feeling less sluggish, healthier, and better in yourself. I’ve said it time and time again. Healthy eating does not need to be drastic, you do not need to cut out any food groups. Everything in moderation is key.

While the above are just guidelines/tips, one thing I will point out is this: you can’t cheat your way through a healthier lifestyle either. Don’t think that if you eat a salad for lunch but tuck into the donuts/muffins in the office at 3pm that they cancel each other out. Or if you went to the gym for 30 minutes that when you come home you can tuck into half a packet of biscuits after your dinner. Sadly it doesn’t work like that. Consistency and a little bit of willpower is key.

A question I am often asked is what should I eat and when?

Tbh, the answer to this question will differ dependent on your

  1. Time schedule
  2. Meal preferences
  3. Training
  4. Lifestyle

But the most important thing is this; that you eat enough. And enough of the good stuff. Typically I suggest to people that they follow this type of a meal breakdown, it works into most people’s schedules:

  • Breakfast
  • Snack
  • Lunch
  • Snack/Pre-workout Snack
  • Dinner

So here’s how I’m going to try and help you build your new diet.

Why not follow the following table as a rough guide and idea of what your meals could be made up of. Look at the foods contained in each group and what constitutes a portion. When building a diet, make sure to include nutrients from each essential group daily but a variety from each group. If you eat the same thing every single day, you will get bored, and start to lose the will to continue. Some foods should form the main part of your diet while others should be eaten in smaller quantities.

 

 

Nutrient group

 

Portions Per Day

 

Foods

 

Portion Size

Fats | Seeds 1 -2 portions

(1 portion = 1 tablespoon)

Nuts and Seeds

Seed and Nut Oils

Avocado

25gr (2 tablespoons)

15ml (1 tablespoon)

Half avocado

Protein 2 -4 portions

(1 portion = 70gr)

 

Lean Meats

Poultry (chicken, turkey, eggs)

Fish

Soya burger, sausage or Quorn

 

Half a fillet

1 small breast/2 eggs

1 fillet (140g)

150gr

Calcium 2 -4 portions

(1 portion = 200ml milk)

Milk | Calcium soya milk

Cheese

Tofu

Yogurt | Cottage Cheese

200ml(1 medium cup)

40gr (4 squares)

60gr (4 squares)

150gr (Small Pot)

Grains | Legumes | potatoes 4 – 6 portions

(1 portion = fist size)

Roll, bagel, bread slice, wrap

Cooked pasta, rice, porridge

Cooked legumes (lentils/beans)

Sweet/baby Potatoes

 

1 item (60gr)

5 Tablespoons (180gr)

5 Tablespoons (150gr)

1 medium item (150gr)

Fruit 2 –4 portions

(1 portion = 80gr/Tennis ball size)

Apple, orange, banana

Berries strawberries, grapes

Medium

2 x handfuls

Vegetables 3 – 5 portions

(1 portion = 2 fists)

Brocolli, Cauliflower

Green Beans, Peppers, Courgette

Carrots, Tomatoes

3 florets

2 fists

 

1 medium

 

So there you have it, using the above table might help you to plan your meals and by following the 9 rules/guidelines, you should be able to kick-start the week on an organised and positive note, and adapt to a healthier lifestyle.

Hope you all have a fabulous Sunday. Remember, a Sunday well spent, brings a week of content.

Sophs x

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