This post was written by Jesse who works at Seven Seas, where you can buy sell healthy supplements (like these). Jesse is a fitness expert and health enthusiast.
Although we seem to be living through an obesity epidemic, we are more informed now about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet than ever before. More people are choosing to ‘eat clean’, shunning convenience and fast foods for a diet which can improve your life in so many aspects.
Eating well not only improves the condition of your skin, hair, nails and eyesight but will help you to lose weight, not simply for aesthetic reasons but to reduce the risk of getting a multitude of illnesses associated with being overweight, including type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Fad diets may or may not be effective for weight loss, but often they don’t provide you with all of the nutrients your body needs to function at its best.
To see long term health benefits you’ll need to stick to a healthy diet for the long haul and make it a lifestyle change. Temptation to cheat is everywhere but there are many ways to keep yourself motivated.
Here are some tips to help you to stay on track with a healthy, balanced diet:
Keep things interesting
When you’re trying to maintain a sustainable healthy eating plan, it’s important to keep things varied. Restricting yourself to a meal of steamed vegetables and lean meat or fish every single night gets dull very quickly and will send you running for all the starchy, sugary foods that are so bad for you. To avoid boredom, why not:
Write a weekly meal plan and get excited about meals you’re looking forward to.
Aim for a colourful and vibrant looking plate of food- the visual experience can contribute to your enjoyment of a meal as much as taste and texture.
Find healthy foods that you love
Once the sugar cravings have died down, find out what healthy foods you really enjoy and turn them into your treats. Perhaps an apple or a big, juicy orange will satisfy your sweet tooth instead of a chocolate biscuit? You will find that as you cut the simple carbs your palette becomes more sensitive to subtle tastes and previously boring foods will taste interesting
If you used to have pasta or chips with every meal, quinoa- despite its uber healthy appearance- is a seriously delicious carb alternative, especially mixed with whichever diced vegetables you love.
Substitute naughty for healthy
Finding healthier versions of the treats you enjoy means you don’t have to feel like you’re denying yourself too much. For example:
If you’ve cut out alcohol, try substituting a glass of wine at dinner time with something that feels more special than just a glass of water, such as a sparkling water with a slice of lemon or a fruit juice.
If chocolate ice-cream is your weakness, look into alternative recipes which have a much lower fat content but mimic everything else about the sweet treat that you love. Blended frozen banana mixed with cocoa powder is a remarkably good substitute.
Be careful though, it is easy to trick yourself into eating more because you don’t feel guilty about it. Even healthy substitutes have calories, so keep yourself informed.
Make small, good decisions
Each time you come to cook or put food in your mouth, think about the decisions you have made. Small changes will really add up over time, so try to make some new eating habits for yourself by being more mindful of how you prepare your food and what you choose to eat.
Implementing simple changes into your routine is easily achievable. Why not try the following:
Frying with a low calorie cooking spray instead of butter
Grilling bacon and chicken instead of frying it
Opting for whole grains for slower release energy instead of filling up on all of the ‘beige foods’ (white bread, pasta and rice)
Accompanying your main meal with more vegetables or salad than carbohydrates
Opting for green tea instead of coffee
Although eating out can lead to temptation, it is possible to continue making the right choices. Eating a small, healthy snack before you go out means you won’t be tempted to gorge on table bread and may help you to plump for the healthy menu options.
Don’t deny yourself too much
A totally ascetic lifestyle where you feel you are denying yourself everything you enjoy will only lead to you spectacularly falling off the wagon. Devise a system that works for you which allows you to indulge (in moderation) now and again, such as allowing yourself one day ‘off’ per week.
If you plan your ‘cheats’ it will make it easier to say no on days where you aren’t allowed a treat. Allow yourself one pudding per week, but be strict with yourself the rest of the week.
Keep your long term goal of being healthy and happy in mind whenever it comes to making food choices. Remember that it’s a question of mind over matter!