9 Habits for Healthy Eating

All of us, whatever our size and shape, can eat better. And, as our feature how to eat healthily on a budget, shows, cost doesn’t need to be a barrier, it’s not all superfoods and on-trend ingredients. Whatever your diet now, changing it overnight isn’t going to be easy, but commit to a new habit each week and in just three months you will be healthier. Add in a daily walk, building up from just ten minutes a day, and you could be fitter and trimmer too.  Here are my 9 habits for eating better:

Start the day well

Kick off your powerhouse with a high-protein nutritious breakfast. Eggs, peanut butter, yogurt. Pair it with slow release carbs like oats or wholegrains to keep you going, and get in at least 2-3 portions of fruit or veg to kickstart your daily target.

Eat 8-10 portions of fruit and vegetables a day

The government’s five a day was set low as it was thought most people could aim for that, but experts agree that 8-10 or more is optimal for health. Aim for 2-3 portions per meal and two fruit/veg-based snacks a day and it will be easy to get to your target.  Aim to eat a rainbow of fruit and vegetables throughout the week, and at least one portion of berries every day.

Go nuts!

Eating a small handful of mixed nuts a day could be the best thing you do for your heart. Eat them as a snack (perfect for popping in your bag) or chop them and sprinkle over muesli, salad or savoury dishes.

Grow your own

Whatever space you have, window sill up, you can grow something. Start with spring onions, tomatoes, chillies, carrots, salad leaves which are all quick and easy to grow. They taste better and you know exactly what’s going into them.

Stay local – and in season

Fruit may be trickier in the UK, but vegetables should always be local and in season. Visit your local farm shop or greengrocer to see what they can offer. Many are starting small local box schemes, so ask around.

Snack well

Snacks are an important break in the day, especially for children, but make snack time matter by offering healthy choices. Protein and fruit or vegetables are ideal, so hummus or peanut butter with crudités or an apple with some cheese cubes is ideal.

Drink well

Ditch the flavoured and sparkling waters, fizzy drinks and cordials in favour of plain water. Aim for 2 litres a day. Put a carafe in the fridge overnight with cucumber, berries or citrus in to flavour it, or invest in a water filter system for better flavour.

Cook from scratch

Making food yourself, from soups and pasta sauces to lasagnes and pies means you know exactly what’s in it and can control fat and salt content, as well as avoiding artificial additives and E numbers. To up the nutritional value of your meals, ‘hide’ vegetables in sauces, bulk out smaller quantities of meat with lentils, beans and vegetables, and add flavour with herbs and spices not salt.

Be mindful

Lay the table properly, turn off your phones, and sit down at the table to eat. Put your cutlery down between mouthfuls, engage in conversation, and really think about and enjoy your food and the whole experience of the meal.

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