National Nutrition Month is organised by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. This year’s slogan “Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle” encourages people to make healthier food choices and do their daily exercise.
Supposedly health is made of happiness, sleep, exercise, clean food and water. Easy right?
The difficult part is resisting all the junk food, sweets and sodas that are around us. It’s the easiest of lifestyle changes, but people are able to achieve so much with just a little bit of willpower and awareness of a healthy lifestyle.
Here are some tips for you:
1. Start the day with healthy breakfast
Healthy breakfast gives a great kick start for your day! Prepare something easy yet clean such as a smoothie, a whole wheat sandwich with lean turkey, low-fat cheese and boiled egg or whole oat porridge with almond milk, diced fruits and cinnamon. In fact, people who have breakfast tend to be more productive and are less likely to overeat at lunchtime.
2. Keep it colourful – fruit & veg are your best friends
Vegetables and fruits provide various essential vitamins and nutrients to our bodies. Not to mention, they improve your health and promote weight loss. Mash up cauliflower instead of potatoes, steam the vegetables and add as a side dish or make smoothies with vegetables and low-fat yoghurt – there are numerous ways to be creative. Additionally, fruits can be a great substitute for snacks which are full of calories.
3. Count nutrients not calories and try to reduce the intake of added sugars
To nourish our body properly, it is essential to consume from all the five food groups: fruits, vegetables, grains, dairy and protein (lean meat). Suggested grains are brown rice, quinoa, egg noodles, wholemeal pasta and rye (whole wheat) bread. Choose your dairy wisely: only low fat milk or soy milk, yoghurt and cheese are recommended. Pick protein options such as turkey, chicken, seafood (white fish, tuna, crab, prawns and salmon), lean beef, lamb, eggs and beans. A healthy balanced diet is all about variety in the necessary quantities.
Additionally, it is recommended to reduce the intake of added sugars in your diet. Be aware of the main sources of added sugars such as: sodas, fruit drinks, sweetened yoghurt, chocolate and sweets. It is understandable that it might be difficult to cut out all of it at once but reducing the intake and choosing healthier alternatives is a great start!
4. Plan your meals and stay hydrated
If you are very organised you may benefit from planning your meals for the week ahead, as this can actually minimise your cravings for less health food. There are various meal planning apps which have been created to help you with the process.
Water is the best for our body hydration. Recommended water intake on a daily basis is 8 glasses but it depends also on the day. Make sure that you drink water before, during and after workout. If you want something different every once in a while, there are some low calorie alternatives: herbal tea (ginger, peppermint, green), black coffee (instant or ground beans) and mineral water. Additionally, try to avoid too many alcoholic drinks!
5. Balance your sleeping and exercise schedules
Having enough sleep is as important as engaging in physical activities. According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep per night. As for physical activity, being a little bit active is better than nothing. It is a good idea if you combine your interests with physical activities: join a gym, take up dancing or simply just walk your dog regularly. During breaks at work, it’s good idea to get into the habit of standing up and having a walk outside or in the hallway.