Now we are in January and both the Christmas and New Year period has come and gone, I have decided to focus on a subject that is usually near the top of most people’s New Year’s resolution list, and that is to turn over a new leaf and start eating healthily. For some, this is something that comes naturally, but for others (including myself sometimes) we need a little helping hand to point us in the right direction. As a pharmacist, I am giving this advice with every consultation I do with patients, and usually say that tablets can’t help with this objective. I know there is also a lot of information on the web regarding this subject, so my aim is to digest it all and explain what can be done with 5 simple tips.
Tip 1 – Set yourself up for success
- Start planning a healthy diet using small, manageable, achievable steps
Tip 2 – Think of water and exercise as good food groups in your diet
- Water helps to flush your systems of waste products and toxins, and thirst can sometimes be mistaken for hunger.
- Find something active that you enjoy, as the benefits of lifelong exercise are vast and can motivate you to make healthy food choices as a habit. Exercise doesn’t have to be going to the gym, but could be something as simple as dancing around the living room for half an hour to your favourite music to get your heart pumping.
Tip 3 – Moderation is key
- This means only eating as much food as your body needs. You should feel satisfied at the end of a meal but not stuffed.
Tip 4 – Eat as much fruit and veg as possible
- Fruit and veg are the foundation of a healthy diet as they are low in calories and high in nutrients.
- It is important to get vitamins from foods and not pills as a daily routine of nutritional supplements, which can be helpful for some, does not have the same impact as eating correctly.
Tip 5- Limit sugar and salt intake
- Avoid sugary drinks, and eat naturally sweet foods such as fruit or peppers to satisfy your sweet tooth.
- Cut back on salty snacks such as crisps, and remember to check labels to choose low salt foods. A lot of foods now have the traffic light system that indicates how much salt is in the product i.e. red = high in salt green = low in salt.
The goal of healthy eating is to maintain a diet that you can keep for life and not just the January period. For most of us that means eating less than we do or less of the unhealthy stuff and replacing it with healthy food (such as fruit and vegetables). It doesn’t mean cutting out all of the foods we like, but eating everything in moderation.
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