Hints and Tips: Making healthy choices easier

Flowers The most useful hint/tip that I read about this week:

26/07/15 START THE DAY WITHOUT ADDED SUGAR

Swap your cornflakes for sugar-free muesli or porridge – add sweetness with naturally sweet foods like grated apple, cinnamon, dried raisins, fresh berries or rice milk. By starting the day without added sugar you may be able to enjoy a morning without steep changes in your blood sugar levels, thereby avoiding snacking.

15/07/15 IS IT HUNGER OR A CRAVING?

Hunger comes on slowly and can be satisfied with any palatable food – including fruit. Cravings develop suddenly and are usually for a specific food, like a bar of chocolate. If it is a craving try to distract yourself for 10 minutes or so with a practical task – eg: make the bed or file some paperwork.

10/07/15 SMALL PORTIONS

If your favourite foods are calorie-rich, have just a small portion alongside low-calorie, high-fibre healthy foods – eg: a small slice of brie with salad and wholemeal pitta bread.

28/06/2015 AVAILABILITY

Make changes to your environment to avoid temptation. Keep the kitchen stocked with healthy, ready-to-eat foods that will satisfy your hunger. Eat out and indulge in ‘treats’ only on special occasions.

14/06/2015 STOP BUYING THE FOODS YOU CAN’T CONTROL

If you can’t eat just one or two biscuits at a time then don’t keep biscuits in the house at all. Or perhaps your weakness is chocolate…or cheese…whatever your weakness, don’t keep them it in the house.

07/06/2015 PLAN YOUR MEALS

Planning what and when you will eat helps to stop mindless snacking – snacks are often made up of junk food.

24/05/2015 USE THE 80/20 RULE

Eat foods full of nutrients 80% of the time, choosing the best diet you can – lots of fruits, vegetables, wholegrain foods, lean meats and dairy food, but low in free sugars, saturated fat and alcohol. For the remaining 20% of the time choose foods that might not be so full of nutrients but which are a part of life – like strong coffee or a little chocolate.

15/05/2015 VEGETABLES

Serve vegetables with herbs and lemon juice instead of butter.

26/04/2015 TORTILLA CHIPS

Make lower-fat tortilla chips by cutting tortilla wraps into triangles, brush or spray with olive oil and bake in a hot oven until crisp. Serve with a low-fat, tomato-based salsa.

12/04/2015 WALKING

Research shows that walking 10,000 steps a day could significantly improve your health (1,000 steps is the equivalent of around 10 minutes brisk walking). Walking 10,000 steps burns around 400 calories – more than in a cheeseburger! Walking is a great activity because it is free, you can do it anywhere and you don’t need any special equipment – just some comfortable shoes! (www.wcrf.org)

05/04/2015 PREBIOTICS

Prebiotics stimulate the growth and/or activity of one or more species of bacteria in our digestive system. The good news is that this may help our health by influencing the immune system, helping with blood lipid control (eg: cholesterol), assisting mineral absorption and preventing the development of colon cancer. We get prebiotics from some foods that we eat, including onions, garlic and bananas. See the BDA website for more information.

29/03/2015 STOCK UP YOUR KITCHEN CUPBOARDS

Healthy meals are easier to make  if you have a supply of simple ingredients available

Tinned tomatoes – chopped or whole

Tomatoes are so versatile. Stock up and use them in soups, stews, sauces and for braising meat

Risotto rice

Use risotto rice to make risotto with all sorts of added ingredients. Make the most simple of risotto using an onion, a splash of wine, a decent stock cube and a bit of cheese and butter for stirring in at the end. Add chopped vegetables from the freezer or a little bacon or chorizo for flavour.

Pasta

Pasta is as good with butter, salt and black pepper as it is with more complicated sauces.

Ground cumin

Cumin’s warm earthiness can add flavour to otherwise lifeless dishes, like soup.

Dijon mustard

Packed full of flavour, a useful ingredient for stirring through lentils or cabbage. Also good with sausages, of course.

Adapted from an article first published by Waitrose (2014)

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