For many of us, the increased levels of stress and uncertainty that we have faced have made it more difficult to stick to our usual routines and habits.
If anything, this past year has shown us that we should never take our health for granted. With a new year often comes a fresh perspective, personal reflection and many of us considering what new changes we can implement to make ourselves feel better, both mentally and physically.
In this week’s blog, we discuss five easy diet changes that you can make for a healthier 2021.
You’ve probably heard this repeatedly but it’s for a good reason! When it comes to your diet, incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables is by far the most important thing that you can do for your health.
However, many of us feel that sticking to five portions of fruits and vegetables per day is a lot, but it really isn’t as hard as it sounds! If you want to take steps towards improving your health, you can switch it up and choose to have fresh, canned, dried, frozen or even juiced fruit and veg portions.
Here are a few examples of what a portion is considered:
For more examples of portion sizes check out this useful guide published by the NHS here.
Another handy tip is to integrate one or two portions of fruits and vegetables into your main meals of the day, and add healthy snacks throughout the day, which leads us to our next tip …
Swapping unhealthy snacks for healthier alternatives is a great way to improve your diet and boost your health.
If you’ve got a habit of reaching for chocolate or crisps in between meals, choosing a healthier alternative will not only improve your health, but will also provide you with more energy throughout the day.
Here’s a few healthy snack ideas that you can try:
If you’re looking for more ideas, the NHS has an excellent list of 100 calorie snacks.
Starchy foods are an excellent source of dietary fibre, which is a crucial component of our diet that keeps our digestive system healthy and contributes towards the prevention of several chronic diseases including cancer.
A great way to start getting more healthy fibre in your diet is by choosing wholegrain and wholemeal varieties of starchy foods, such as:
Incorporating wholegrains into your diet can also help you to keep fuller for longer and minimise those 3pm sugar cravings.
For more ideas on healthy foods packed with high amounts of dietary fibre, check out our dietary fibre blog.
Choosing healthier drinks is a key part of getting a balanced diet. While most people are already aware of the health risks posed by high-sugar beverages and soft drinks, you’ll be surprised to find out that diet fizzy drinks aren’t necessarily a healthier alternative!
Many people fall into the trap that soft drinks marketed as “diet” drinks are healthier. Although they may not contain the same high levels of sugar as full-fat soft drinks, the chemicals in these drinks have actually been shown to trigger overeating. Over time, diet sodas containing artificial sweeteners such as aspartame and sucralose can contribute to a higher calorie intake and a higher body weight.
If you’ve got a taste for a refreshing soft drink, consider having a glass of freshly squeezed fruit juice or a healthy smoothie instead.
Our last tip is also one of the most obvious ones. Lowering the amount of sugar, saturated fat and salt that you consume is a great way to improve your overall health.
Saturated fat is known to increase the amount of cholesterol in your blood and contribute to a higher risk of heart disease. Too much salt can also raise your blood pressure, which can increase your risk of heart disease or stroke, while an excess of sugar can increase your risk of tooth decay and obesity.
Making just a few adjustments to your diet can have a big impact on your overall health. As well as helping reduce the chance of longer-term health complications, small changes can also substantially boost your energy levels. Combine small diet changes with regular exercise and you will start to see results quickly.
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