As much as we love a new year and promises to live a pure and healthy life for the next 365 days, it’s important not to kid ourselves. It’s still January, it’s still cold and dark and possibly the worst time to motivate ourselves to embrace the icy climes for a run in the morning. If you go at it gung ho, you’re more likely to fail and beat yourself up. However, don’t be discouraged. Take this time to read up on health, fitness and nutrition-set an exercise programme, make those small changes to your diet and perhaps start to do small workouts at home (yoga, ballet, that new fitness DVD from Santa etc)
MAKE THE SWAP
Take this time to make small changes to your diet that will make a big difference to how you feel. Here’s some small food swaps that will guarantee to make you look and feel better for 2015.
Bread – Instead of white, try wholegrain (must be 100% wholegrain on label), rye or spelt which are all really high in fibre and 20% fewer calories than white bread. They also will leave you fuller for longer without that uncomfortable bloated feeling. If you want to ditch bread altogether go for wholegrain wraps instead.
Pasta – Ditch the white pasta for wholegrain, brown pasta which will make you feel lighter as it’s high in fibre.
Rice – Again, opt for brown rice as it’s full of proteins, thiamine, calcium, magnesium, fibre, and potassium making it easier for the stomach to digest. If you want to go one step further choose grains such as quinoa or bulgar wheat instead which are low fat and high in protein.
Crackers – Save on sodium and snack on oatcakes instead of conventional crackers for a snack. High in soluble fibre for sustained energy oatcakes are perfect to dip in soup, hummus, or the odd piece of cheese.
Chocolate – Ok, obviously the ultimate goal is to be totally sugar-free but for me that’s not an option yet because I’m a sugar addict (I’m working on it!), But dark chocolate also has powerful antioxidants that help brain power, immune system and improves blood flow-can’t argue with that!
Caffeine – It includes sugar and milk which are ultimately not good for our health as well as spiking our heart rate and causing dehydration. But there’s other options to get your caffeine fix. Green tea contains half the caffeine of regular tea but comes with a whole host of additional nutritional benefits. Loaded with polyphenols like flavonoids and catechins it protects cells and molecules from damage (which contribute to ageing and disease). It also increases brain power, speeds up the metabolism (aiding in weight loss), reduces the risk of breast and prostate cancer and dramatically increases the antioxidant capability of the blood.
Cereal – Although it’s convenient and quick the majority of cereals contain hidden sugars..a lot of them! As the most important meal of the day it’s vital that it includes protein and/or fibre to kick start the metabolism and keep you fuelled up til lunch and avoid that 11 am slump. Eggs are always best (boiled, poached, egg white omelette) but if not porridge is still up there as the healthiest breakfast as it’s high in fibre. It will keep you fuller for longer, keeps blood sugar levels steady, and full of vitamin A to boost your immunity.
Butter and Olive Oil – As one of the new superfoods, coconut oil is rich in saturated fat (calm down!) but they are of medium length which are metabolised differently to your average steak and won’t make you pile on the pounds. In fact, research has shown that it aids weight loss as it’s digested easily and boost metabolism. It also stops sugar cravings, slows fine lines and supports immunity. Use it to cook with, flavour tea, moisturise (yes, really!) and condition hair.We love a multi-tasker!
DRINK, DRINK, DRINK
Everyone always harps on about it-supermodels, actress’s, nutrititionists but H2O is still one of the most, (if not the most) important factor in leading a healthy diet. Our bodies need to be hydrated for our organs and digestive system to work properly. Drinking 6-8 glasses (or around 2-3 litres) of water a day, every day will give you the most dramatic results (more energy, flatter stomach, glowing skin etc). Add a splash of fresh lemon juice for an alkalising hit.
DON’T SKIP MEALS
As tempting as it is to “give my digestive system a break” and skip meals after the festive period this is the worst thing you could do. Ultimately you will have low blood sugar levels and dramatically slow down your metabolism as your body will be holding on to whatever is in your system to function. This will eventually lead to weight gain, binge eating and overall be pretty miserable and hungry! Stay on track with eating little and often and incorporating metabolism-boosting foods.