Wanting to "eat healthier", but not sure where to start?
The inside scoop from our dietitian
During my studies and as a dietitian, I frequently get asked “what is the ONE piece of advice you would give regarding nutrition?”. I never know quite how to answer this one… because if there was just ONE simple answer or secret key to health…then I probably would have to start looking for a different job. In saying that, eating healthy is not as mystifying as most people believe it to be. So, if I could give you ONE piece of advice it would be to not overcomplicate it, start small and simple when it comes to developing healthy habits.
But what does that mean?! Here are 5 easy tips on how to get started…
1. Drink more water!
It sounds basic. And it is. Water is an essential nutrient however is an easy one to overlook in the colder weather… not to mention with all the other drink options we have out there! Not regularly drinking enough water can affect our physical and mental performance, kidney function and even oral health. So, be enviro-friendly, get yourself a drink bottle and fill it up!
2. Eat more fibre.
An apple a day…isn’t really going to cut it. Think not just fruit, but vegetables, beans and lentils, wholegrains and nuts and seeds. The more variety the better! Increasing dietary fibre and resistant starch can help reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, weight gain and obesity and even some types of cancers. It helps keep our digestive system healthy and has even been linked to our mental health. Here are some easy ways to boost the fibre in your diet:
- Leave the skin on your fruit and veg where you can
- Add canned beans or lentils (drained and rinsed) to meals
- Swap your bread and pasta for wholemeal/wholegrain varieties
- Sprinkle some chopped nuts or seeds onto your breakfast
3. Learn how to cook.
Being healthy should be delicious. Learn how to cook the meals you enjoy, know what’s going into your food, save money on ordering out and be creative! Start small and develop some healthy “go-to” recipes.
4. Don’t believe everything you hear.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation out there on social media with a lot of diets and food trends promising miracle transformations and cures. One of the most frustrating things for people is the amount of conflicting messages and contradictory pieces of advice out there when it comes to being healthy. Here is a hint: buzzwords such as “superfood”, “clean-eating” and “detox” are just that… buzzwords used to grab attention. They have no scientific backing, be sure to be critical of the information you read and where it is coming from.
It is OK to enjoy that piece of chocolate every now and then (I certainly do). Avoid having an “all or nothing” mentality - food is what brings us together and is an important part of every culture. Just remember that the key is moderation! And just remember that if you need that little extra support when it comes to finding that balance, that is what us dietitians are here for!
Written by Rebecca Lancaster, APD