From reduced risk of chronic disease, to having more energy and improved mental wellbeing, there are a host of reasons to rejuvenate your health and wellness for 2021. Read our 10 top tips to help kick start a healthy diet.
1. Replace processed foods with fresh whole foods
Swap white pasta and white rice with lentils, beans, quinoa, wild rice and buckwheat. The ‘complex carbohydrates’ contain more fibre which supports the growth of friendly bacteria in your gut. Try to avoid eating potatoes and always choose multigrain or rye bread over white.
2. Look to the Med
The Mediterranean diet is the healthiest diet on the planet. There is this perception that Italian food is predominantly pasta and pizza, but this is not true. It’s actually packed with fruit, vegetables, nuts, olive oil and fish – all of which are good for you and have been proven to help prevent dementia, strokes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease - and has even in some cases, been adopted to reverse type 2 diabetes.
3. Eat plenty of green and colourful vegetables
Eat as many green and coloured vegetables as you can, especially dark-green leafy vegetables such as spinach, broccoli and kale. Not only do they supply key vitamins and minerals – they also fight inflammation, which is a known cause of disease and low mood, as well as an obstacle to weight loss. Most vegetables are also very low in calories (especially the dark leafy greens), so pile your plate.
4. Eat plenty of protein
This means regularly eating foods such as oily fish, seafood, chicken, red meat, eggs, tofu, beans, pulses, dairy and nuts. These foods have been shown to curb carbohydrate cravings and will help you to feel fuller for longer. Eating enough protein is important. You should also try to restrict your intake of processed meats such as sausages, bacon and salami.
5. Enjoy healthy fats
Fats don’t make you fat! Healthy fats are essential: salmon, tuna, avocado, nuts, seeds and olive oil are most definitely in. Opt for full-fat dairy products such as whole milk and Greek yogurt. Like protein, healthy fats will help you to feel fuller for longer.
6. Eggs are in!
Once thought to increase the risk of arterial and heart disease, eggs are in fact packed with nutrients, economical to buy, easy to store, versatile to cook with – and so form a major part of this diet.
7. Completely cut back on sugary starchy foods
This includes completely cutting back on cakes, sweets, biscuits, crisps, fruit juices and soft drinks. These foods rapidly turn into sugar in your blood causing sugar spikes and weight gain- they are like the tip of the iceberg. You also need to watch out for hidden sugars, which lurk below the surface and sabotage weight loss (such as potatoes and white rice and bread).
8. Avoid most breakfast cereals
These are usually packed full of sugar. Oats are fine, as long as they are not the sweetened, flavoured or instant sort.
9. Avoid too many sweet tropical fruits
Including mango, pineapple, grapes, melon and bananas, as these are full of sugar. Instead, opt for berries, apples and pears. Try to have a maximum of 2 pieces of fruit a day and always eat the skin!
10. Avoid snacking
Grazing keeps sugars up and stops fat burning. But if you must, eat a small handful of nuts or small piece of cheese.