Stop kidding yourself, you know enough already You will never know it all and there is no such thing as the perfect diet. Long term sustainable wellness is all about building in the good habits, routines and behaviours that ensure you are meeting your nutritional needs daily. This is relatively simple but hard to do. Trust that you know enough already, break your day down into meals and snacks and target a specific area that you can improve on easily. Work out what you can do to improve your nutrition in that meal/snack and then find out how exactly you can build that into your day until it becomes as habitual as brushing your teeth at night. Bingo! Then move on to the next meal or snack.
Replace processed food products with whole foods As a rule of thumb the more a food has been processed the less nutritious (and perhaps even toxic instead) it will be and the closer it is to it’s natural state the more packed it will be with important nutrients. If you do nothing else but replace as much processed food as possible with fresh whole foods in their natural state you can go a long way to significantly boosting the nutritional profile of your meal. Most fruit can be eaten raw as well as many vegetables that suit salads. Lightly steaming vegetables minimises nutrient loss and makes them easier to digest.
Brown is the new white The modern refining process used to make white flour found in common foods like bread, cereal, pasta, cakes, biscuits and pastries etc. has been heavily depleted from important nutrients like fibre, magnesium, iron and B vitamins. White flour also rapidly raises your blood sugar rapidly which can cause energy slumps, weight gain and diabetes. A simple but very strategic food swap is to swap your ‘whites’ like white flour, white rice, white bread and white pasta with the wholegrain or ‘brown’ versions. Detox your cupboards by purging them from white, refined products and replace with more nutritious ‘brown’ or wholegrain bread, pasta, rice and you will experience more balanced energy and get a lot more fibre and micronutrients.
You eat what you see Perhaps one of the most important take homes from this area is that in general, you will eat what you see. If you have a cookie jar full of yummy biscuits looking at you when you open the cupboard, a fridge full of high sugar yoghurts and a freezer with nothing but some frozen pizzas to select from when you go for a kitchen forage you are unlikely to eat healthy. Instead place what you want to eat more of around your environment so when you are looking for inspiration you will feast your eyes on real wholesome food. Always have a well stocked fruit bowl visible and banish the unhealthy snacks completely or make them really hard to get to. Keep your fridge stocked with your favourite salad or bowls of chopped veg and healthy dips and batch cook your favourite dishes and freeze extra portions so you only ever have to wait a few minutes to heat up a great meal.
Healthy snacks are your greatest ally Maintaining a health diet can be really challenging in the long term and the big danger zone when it comes to ‘breaking’ and reaching out for the sugar or the chocolate comes when you are hungry and unprepared. If you are hungry the chances are your blood sugars are crashing driving you to crave sweet, sugary snacks that will quickly drive up blood sugar levels again. If this happens your temptation gauge starts to hit maximum whilst your resolve will be at its minimum meaning you are not setting yourself up for success. Create good habits of always having healthy snacks nearby or readily available. Bring some fresh fruit to your desk, have small portions of nuts, seeds and dried fruit in your pocket or car or experiment with surprisingly delicious wholesome snacks like carrot sticks dipped in hummus, spread peanut butter on chopped apple or munch on some dates stuffed with sunflower seeds.