6 Health Tips to kick off 2016
Summer, Christmas and New Years break all hits at the same time here in Australia. Which means lots of fun with family and friends, but can also mean your health takes a bit of a hit! Whether it was a little over-indulging in yummy foods, excess alcohol, not enough sleep or not keeping up with your exercise. So I thought this would be a good time to share 6 nutrition tips to kick off 2016
1. Do not ‘Detox’ or diet
In January I feel that I have to remind people of this every year! Don’t diet, don’t ‘detox’, and don’t deprive yourself. Ignore the nutrition nonsense and elaborate & extreme diets (fad diets). They don’t last, and create a bad relationship with food. Instead of restricting, try to take steps to eating healthier.
Try to eat balanced healthy meals most of the time and if you want food/drinks that you know are processed or not great for your health, have them in moderation. We have a tendency to go ‘all or nothing’ with our health but it just creates a yo-yo effect. Eat healthy fresh foods most of the time, eat a great balance of wholesome carbs, lean protein and plenty of vegetables. If you want to indulge every now and then do so, but with moderation: a glass or 2 of wine, not the whole bottle – a few squares of chocolate not the whole thing – eat sensible sized meals– order the hot chips to share and have a few – have some veggies or salad for lunch if you are planning to go out for some pizza that night. A balanced healthy lifestyle is sustainable, and is not a ‘diet’ that is a short-term fix.
2. Eat at least 5 veg a day
93% of Aussies don’t eat enough veggies. Don’t be one of them, 5 serves of veggies is all that is recommended a day! The benefits are endless. They supply our vitamins and minerals, prevent health problems, promote a healthy weight, and fill us up (and do not contain too many calories). I try to have 3 different veg with lunch and 3 different veg with dinner. They are so easy to work into meals, you just have to get used to being prepared and look for the right options when you eat out (there is always healthy options including some veggies when eating/ordering food out for lunch or dinner, if not then go somewhere else – no excuses!). I also sometimes cut them up and eat them for a snack with some hummus or tatziki.
3. Get moving
Enjoy a healthy relationship with exercise and being active. Find something you love to do outdoors, at a gym or health club. Be positive about exercise- it’s all in your mindset. Try to do something each day to be active: Go for a walk/run, walk to your destination when possible, walk on your lunch break, go to the gym or play a sport, ride outdoors or indoors (cycle), do weights, boxing, yoga, boot camp, pilates, swim - mix it up, there are so many options! Even if it is just walking more often.. It’s not hard, just do it! If you have a mobile phone that tracks steps (like an iPhone, in the ‘health’ app) try to hit 10,000 steps a day as recommended by the World Health Organisation, our bodies are designed to move so, if you can, get to it!
4. Drink more water
Drink more water. That’s it! You don’t need to drink it excessively, I aim for a litre or 2 a day.. not hard. It keeps your body functioning, keeps you hydrated which is SO important, can help you feel full, and can aid digestion. I have a glass whenever I’m making a meal or snack, find what works for you. Ditch sugary drinks and try to make a habit of drinking more water, if this is hard for you try soda or bubbly water (just make sure there is no sugar in it)
5. Eat more whole, fresh foods and less processed foods
Sugar seems to get the blame for ‘unhealthy foods’ in the media. And in excess, it's not great. But it is processed foods in general that are not great for our health. Processed foods are often foods which are pre-made or packaged. They are foods which are then processed together with sugar, salt, preservatives and/or fats to make them super tasty and to preserve them to be packaged and sent all over to stores for our consumption. Some processed foods are okay.. Like canned tomatoes, whole grains (rice, quinoa, barley etc), hummus, canned tuna, wholegrain breads, canned beans, canned corn/peas, frozen vegetables, tomato salsas, Greek yoghurt or plain dairy products to name a few. But you see the trend here: they are all simple whole foods which are MINIMALLY processed. Your pies, biscuits, deep fried things, chips, doughnuts, sweets, bars, sauces, many cereals, some take-away or pre-made meals, chocolate and a lot of the food products that are not in the fresh section of the supermarket are HEAVILY processed, and that’s what you should try to eat less of.
6. Sleep 7-8hrs
Get your sleep, there are so many benefits. It gives better; energy, concentration, moods, performance, appearance and memory to name a few. It also helps manage your weight, makes exercise easier, and is good for your immune system helping to keep you from getting sick.