Want to make a change but finding it really hard to suddenly swap all the bad food for good? Here are 10 ways for you to revamp your diet without changing your lifestyle too drastically.
- Swap apple juice for an apple.
Don’t be fooled. Just because it says ‘fruit’ it doesn’t mean it’s healthy for you. in fact, fruit juices contain if not more, then just as much sugar than soft drinks. Coca Cola has 140 calories and 40 grams of sugar – That’s 10 teaspoons per serve! While a serve of apple juice actually has 165 calories and 39 grams of sugar, that’s 9.8 teaspoons per serve. While fruit juices have small amounts of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, they lack fibre and are packed with sugar. The bottom line is, fruit juice do not replace a serve of fruit, they are nutritionally poor! Grab and apple, not only will it keep the doctor way, it’s way easier and less time consuming than getting out a class and pouring the juice in it.
- Eat chips from a bowl.
Studies show your brain doesn’t register when to stop eating when you eat chips straight from the packet. You’re likely to binge more eating this way than if you had poured a finite amount into a bowl. When you see what you have in front of you, your brain registers what and how much you are eating and will alert you to stop when it has had enough. Better yet, why not scrap chips all together and make tasty oven baked kale chips instead!
- Choose dark chocolate over milk chocolate.
Dark chocolate actually contains half the sugar of milk chocolate. Researches found that a small amount of dark chocolate can aid arterial health, reducing chances of artery blocking. It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties and has shown to boost the pleasure circuit in your brain. Opt for a 70% bitter-sweet dark chocolate, perhaps one square to treat yourself. Everything in moderation.
- Choose popcorn instead of chips.
As long as it’s not popcorn from the cinemas, which contains a lot of butter and sugar, make your own popcorn at home instead. Experts say home-popped popcorn contains no sugar, 1g of fat and 90 calories per a 25g serving as opposed to more than 1000 calories for popcorn at the movies.
- Don’t eat with distractions.
Eating in front of the TV or at your desk in front of the computer can cause you to eat 40% more than you would if you were focusing only on your food at the dinner table. Without realising it, you eat more as your brain is being distracted, focusing on the TV or computer and not the act of eating. Also, eating breakfast on the run is considered a distraction and can cause you to eat more too. When you focus on your eating you are more mindful and aware about what and how much you are eating and your brain will register when it is satisfied.
- Don’t gobble your food down.
It takes about 20 minutes for your brain to register it is full. The slower you eat, the better, you could save up to 70 calories by eating slower and for 30 mins. Try be the last on the table to finish your food. Slow and steady wins the race.
- Wake up earlier.
Being an early bird can improve your health and help lower body fat. It helps to kick start your metabolism, working longer in a day and therefore burning more calories. Ensure you go to bed early and get enough sleep as bad sleeping patterns and sleep apnea can lead to weight gain. Adults need at least 7-9 hours sleep, kids 3-6 need 10-13 while 6-17 need 8-11 hours.
- Don’t skip breakfast.
They weren’t lying when they said ‘breakfast is the most important meal of the day.’ Eating breakfast minimises your chances of binging later in the day, as your hunger would have been satisfied until lunch time. Breakfast speeds up your metabolism and boosts energy levels in the morning. Kids who skip breakfast may have a deficiency in fibre, vitamins and minerals including iron, calcium and zinc. Those who eat breakfast are more successful at losing weight and maintaining a healthy weight.
- Swap white flour pasta for whole-grain varieties.
Whole-grain pasta is significantly higher in fibre than refined, white flour pasta. White flour products are actually bleached to appear their white/yellowish colour, this means they are high in ingredients that are hard to pronounce and have been highly processed. They also contain less than half the amount of vitamin B and minerals as whole grains. Despite it’s darker colour, whole-grain pasta tastes the same but contains fewer calories, 25% more protein and three times more fibre than traditional white pasta.10. Instead of bread, reach for a wrap.
Even better, swap that slice of bread for a whole-grain wrap. A wrap has about 100 calories while one slice of bread has 250 calories! Wraps are a significantly healthier choice. If you are out for lunch, most cafes sell wraps. Opt for a salad or veggie wrap over a calorie dense sandwich.