Mind and Body
Strategies for boosting your nutrition- Part 2
I’m hoping you’ve managed to try those three strategies for boosting your nutrition from my last post. To recap, there was the positive self talk, increasing water consumption and decreasing portion sizes. If you haven’t managed to get this down to an art, fear not, it can take months to establish new habits and as I’ve said, positive and encouraging self talk is a great way through it. Every positive decision for your health is making a difference. Don’t get hung up on any fall backs, they’re inevitable- persevere!
Here are a couple of additional strategies for you to try:
I hear your groans. Please, give me a chance. I know it’s an issue to find that kind of time in your life, but it’s so important. Plan your meals ahead of time. You should be mapping out a whole week of meals including snacks. You will save time ducking back and forth to the supermarket and it’s a far more cost effective way of ensuring you’re eating the right meals. Many of us find ourselves out of food by the middle of the week, that’s ok. You’ll get the hang of planning ahead for the whole week. This habit takes a fair bit of time to establish. Start by planning just dinners, then progress to lunches once this becomes second nature for you. And if you like your Friday night Thai on the couch as much as I do, stick with it, you’ve earned it no doubt. It’s all about balance. Just try to keep some routine throughout your week (including weekends- where possible).
There is recently a lot of publicity about the dangers of sugar in the diet and the reality is, sugar is very difficult to avoid. Sugar is added to most of our packaged foods to extend their shelf life or to add flavour to our ‘fat free’ foods. Approximately 60% of the foods on supermarket shelves have added sugars and so it’s important we are swapping out high sugar foods as much as possible. Some of the worst foods and drink for sugar include museli bars (I am yet to find a ‘healthy’ museli bar in a supermarket), flavoured milks, juices (packaged or from ‘juice bars’ in shopping centres etc..) soft drink, white bread/rice. ‘Low fat’ flavoured items are also a no go, such as yoghurt (vanilla included) and those yoghurts with fruit pieces in them are usually a concentrate which is very high in sugar.
When reading a nutrition panel, check the ‘per 100g’ section, the grams of sugar should be less than 5g per 100g of your product. Use this piece of information to help you when selecting packaged foods such as those previously mentioned. Another tip- The World Health Organisation recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of sugar per day for a healthy diet. 1 teaspoon is approximately 4-5g of sugar so divide the total sugars in grams on a food label by 4 to work out how many teaspoons you’re consuming. Remember, this isn’t about counting calories but about being more aware of what you’re eating.
For many of us, our main meals are often balanced and nutritional; however, we struggle more with our snacks. A few swaps you can try is to trade some of the refined foods like white breads and dry biscuits and replace them with wholegrain options. They’ll add some fibre to help you feel fuller for longer and reduce binge snacking. Adding in avocado or hummus as a spread are great alternatives to butter and keeping a container of almonds/mixed nuts at your desk are an easy way to snack on higher protein foods. Just be mindful of the quantity- nuts generally have a great source of the ‘good’ fats; however, they can be energy-dense and if over eaten can lead to energy imbalance. Remember- keep that water intake up, especially when snacking. If you factor your snacking into your meal prep and manage to chop up celery/carrot and other healthy options, you can combine these with a good quality (even homemade) hummus which is a great way to ‘fill up’ between meals. Let me also say this as a final snack option, try not to get caught up in the ‘fruit is high in sugar’ craze. It’s often full of water, vitamins and minerals including fibre and if you have a sweet tooth you’re better off getting your satisfaction from fruit rather than chocolate and other sweets.
Good luck- I’m on your side! You can do this! You’re fearless and wonderfully made- go for it!
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