Healthy eating has never been such a hot topic. And it’s no surprise. With levels of obesity on the rise and fast food and convenience meals more popular than ever, there is plenty of healthy eating advice out there and lots of fad diets cashing in on our unhealthier lifestyles.
If you are looking for ways to live a healthier lifestyle, or want to lose some weight, it can be difficult to know just which advice to follow. Some diets advocate cutting out whole food groups, others involve using meal replacements and others still involve working out the hyperglycaemic index of this and the calorie count of that… It can all be quite exhausting!
What it is important to bear in mind however, is that healthier eating doesn’t have to be super-complicated and shouldn’t involve spending great amounts of money. It can be as simple as swapping your usual white bread for wholemeal or wheatgerm, for example. It’s simply about knowing which small changes and tweaks to make to your usual routine.
One of the best bits of advice to follow is that eating too much fat will ultimately make you fat. If we’re talking saturated fat, that is. Saturated fat is found in things like cakes, biscuits and fried food and is of very little real nutritional value.
Unsaturated fat, however, is vital for health, and is found in foods such as olives, nuts and avocadoes. Of course, too much of anything will lead to weight gain if you are not doing enough exercise, but cutting down your levels of saturated fat will definitely help.
You can do this in simple and easy ways: by grilling instead of frying; using olive oil or a low calorie cooking spray instead of vegetable fat; swapping cheddar cheese for cottage cheese; and ordering dishes with tomato-based sauces rather than creamy sauces when eating out.
Another good tip for healthy eating and weight loss is to make complex carbohydrates a staple part of your diet. Complex carbohydrates are found in foods such as oats and potatoes and in wholemeal varieties of rice, pasta and bread. The great thing about complex carbohydrates is that they will keep you feeling fuller for longer, as they are packed full of long-lasting energy. So, not only will you be less likely to turn to sugary or fatty snacks such as crisps or chocolate bars, you will be able to exercise more and burn off that fat!
Don’t forget the drinks you consume too, as they can be a well-meaning dieter’s downfall if you are not careful. Fruit juice is fine in moderation (say, one glass a day) but full of calories in the form of natural sugar, so water and herbal teas are better for drinking throughout the day.
When it comes to alcohol, wine, beer and cider are all packed full of calories, so substitute for a spirit such as vodka or gin with a low calorie mixer such as soda water, diet coke or slim-line tonic.