Spring is in the air and there is no better way to get your health back on track than to spring clean your pantry, kitchen and eating habits. To change the way you eat may be a challenge, but can be done. Our registered dietitian shares tips to help you spring clean your eating habits towards better health:
- Refrain from calling it a diet. Regard this undertaking as a change in lifestyle and lifelong commitment that motivates you towards better health.
- If its sounds too good to be true, it probably is!Fad diets are not a good idea. Stick to a healthy eating plan that provides 55-60% daily energy derived from carbohydrates, less than 30% from fats, and 10-15% from protein.
- Starving yourself will not help you loose weight. Consuming less that 3360 kJ per day is in fact counterproductive. Regular balanced meals and healthy snacks keep your metabolism going throughout the day and combat that afternoon slump.
- Include starchy foods like breads, potatoes, rice, etc. You may enjoy a small portion of GI carbohydrate with every meal. A portion equals 1 slice of low GI bread OR 3 whole wheat biscuits OR ½ cup high fiber cereal OR 1 medium potato (100 g) OR ½ cup 100% durum wheat pasta.
- Every system in your body uses water. Have 8 glasses of good quality pure water per day. Drinks such as coffee, Ceylon tea, fruit juice, flavoured water and sugary cold drinks do not count towards your water intake. Herbal teas and Rooibos tea are better options, as well as water infused with lemon, herbs and fruit.
- Choose colourful foods. A mix of ‘rainbow’ foods contains not only more nutrients and vitamins, but you will enjoy eating much more!
- Be mindful when eating. Eating while engaging with something else, such as driving, watching TV, or working takes the satisfaction out of eating. A dedicated time and space is best. Set the table, switch off the TV and enjoy the experience.
- Be realistic about portions. Healthy energy-rich and nutrition-dense foods eliminate the need for overindulgence and are far more satisfying. Half the plate should be vegetables and/or salads, a quarter should be protein and a quarter low GI starch.
- Have realistic expectations if you wish to loose weight. Set yourself reasonable goals to keep you motivated. Acceptable healthy weight loss is only 1/2 – 1 kg per week.
- Remember to exercise! Various fun and effective exercise options exist. Choose what works best for you. Plan to exercise 3-4 times per week. It builds lean muscle tissue and keeps your ideal weight stable.
- Take the ﬁrst step! Courage is the first step to realise positive change. New recipes, ingredients and food combinations keep things interesting.
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