It’s easier than you think to eat yourself healthy! By taking small steps each week to improve your nutrition you will move towards a healthier you and sustain a healthy weight.
Our first tip is to start getting into the habit of reading food labels and take note of the amount of fat, sugar and salt (sodium). Then aim to reduce them.
Why? Because if we cut saturated fats (derived from animals) from our diet, we can help to keep our arteries from getting clogged up which lowers the risk of heart disease. And evidence has also shown that by reducing our sodium intake we can reduce our blood pressure. As well as the risk of cardiovascular disease and stroke.
Furthermore, by lowering our sugar intake we can keep our insulin levels stable so fewer calories get stored as fat.
All of the following recommendations will help you to not only sustain a healthy weight but to be a healthier you. Take one at a time and build on your progress each week:
Week One: Reduce sugar
Start week one by consciously observing your sugar intake and aim to reduce it.
- Switch to a low sugar breakfast such as porridge oats.
- Check the sugar content of “healthy” cereal and bars and substitute for the lower sugar/no sugar alternatives.
- Avoid any drinks with high sugar content or sweetened beverages. This includes sodas, smoothies and energy drinks. This is one the easiest ways to reduce sugar in your diet. Instead drink more water, aiming to drink at least eight glasses a day.
- Reduce or eliminate the number of sugars you take in your tea or coffee. Switch to green tea for a healthier alternative.
- At dinner-time avoid high-sugar sauces when cooking and while eating your food at dinner (such as ketchup and mayonnaise.) Also, cut out the after-dinner dessert during the weekdays.
Week Two: Reduce salt
During week two aim to reduce the salt in your diet by:
- Preparing your own meals and avoiding processed foods for most of the week
- Buy fresh meat, fruits and vegetables.
- Rinse canned foods containing sodium before cooking (tuna, canned vegetables and beans)
- Instead of salt, try adding alternative spices to your food such as black pepper, cumin, cilantro or oregano.
Week Three: Drink more water
Water plays an important role in achieving weight loss and sustaining a healthy weight. It is responsible for a range of bodily functions including digestion and blood flow, helping to regulate our body temperature and overall cell health. Furthermore, It helps to eliminate toxins from the body and provides natural lubrication for our joints.
You may have heard the recommendation to drink 6-8 glasses a day, however, this doesn’t take into account a range of factors including age, gender and level of daily activity amongst others. For more tips on how to determine how much to drink and then read our tips here.
Week Four: Reduce saturated fat
- Switch to fat-free or low-fat milk.
- Try to eat more fish and chicken, removing the skin from chicken before cooking.
- Substitute recipes with low-fat milk and cheese.
- Avoid frying and try to bake, boil or grill meats.
- Pay attention to the fat content of products, even those labelled “light” and “fat-free”.
- Try cooking with lower fat cooking spray, herbs, spices or lemon juice instead of butter or oil.
Week Five: Increase your intake of fresh fruit and vegetables
- Buy more fruit and veg in your weekly shop (the more you have in the house, the more likely you are to eat them) and leave it in obvious sight
- Try to eat at least one piece of fruit or veg a day, switch up your usual snacks for a healthier option. Try some chopped veg with homemade low-fat hummus as a tasty snack.
- Add some fruit to your morning cereal
- Make vegetable soup for lunch
- Double your vegetable portions at dinner
- Eat a salad before dinner
Week Six: Focus on Fibre
- Focus on increasing your fibre intake this week, we recommend getting 20 to 30 grams each day.
- Switch to a high-fibre cereal for breakfast (you may have already done this in week one)
- Adding foods such as cucumbers, blueberries, beans and nuts (soluble fibre) to your diet helps to slow down your digestion so that you feel full for longer.
- Buy and eat more dark leafy green vegetables, green beans, celery and carrots. These will help to bulk your stool and help move food through the digestive system.
- Experiment with different whole grains, try buckwheat, quinoa, bulgar wheat, whole rye or barley. Have these instead of white rice, potatoes or bread at lunch and dinner.
Finally, remember although nutrition plays a vital role in sustaining a healthy weight, exercise is also an important component. Without exercise, only a portion of your weight loss is from fat, it may also strip away muscle and bone density.
Also, please use the above as a guideline only. We recommend you speak to your GP or nutritionist if you have any medical conditions before starting a new dietary plan.
And if you would like to get a personalised health and fitness plan from Gym Plus you can book your Guest Pass HERE.
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