Nutrition is not just for dieting.
Make it your goal to eat well for vitality, good health and to look after your body
- to nourish your whole self -
rather than being ‘on a diet'.
1. Love those veggies
Vegetables, salads and fruit carry an abundance of vitamins, minerals and natural antioxidants (also called phytochemicals), all for very few kilojoules.
The more you eat them, the more you'll like them.
2. Keep hydrated
Water is the best thirst quencher, yet most of us don't drink enough. Carry a bottle of water with you. Don't wait until you feel thirsty to drink - sip regularly.
3. Focus on the good fats
Unsaturated types of fat - monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats - are preferred and are derived from oils, nuts, seeds and avocado and should replace the saturated fats presently consumed.
4. Have some good carbs
Go for foods like wholemeal breads, brown rice, oats, fibre-enriched or wholegrain cereals that offer higher concentrations of fibre, vitamins and minerals and generally a lower Glycaemic Index (GI). This means slower absorption, which helps with weight control and diabetes.
5. Watch the sugar
Too much sugar adds unwanted kilojoules with no contribution to nutrition. A spread of jam on your toast or sugar in yoghurt or flavoured milk is OK, but limit your consumption of sugary soft drinks, juices, lollies, chocolate, cakes, pastries and ice creams.
6. Aim for balance
Eating well involves getting the balance right. If 90% of all your foods are nutritious, then the remaining 10% can be a treat or indulgence.
7. Get organised
Being organised will help you avoid the temptation to grab takeaway food, or to skip a meal altogether. Keep a shopping list. Have the basics in the kitchen like pasta, rice, tuna, cereals, herbs, spices, frozen vegetables, eggs for last-minute meals. Don't buy chocolate, crisps and other junk food if you know you can't resist it.
8. Plan ahead
Plan and shop ahead so you have ingredients in your freezer or your cupboard to make healthy dinners when you're tired at night. That way, you avoid the temptation to grab take-aways which are almost always higher in fat, salt and sugar than a healthy home-cooked meal. Cook double and freeze portions for later.
9. Focus on the meal in front of you
Stress, tension, rushing and eating on the run all take their toll on your digestion and health. Try to relax and take the time to appreciate the food in front of you. Not only will it increase your enjoyment but will help you learn to stop eating when your stomach registers "comfortably full" - a technique recommended as a way to help people lose weight.
10. Aim for a healthy weight, neither too fat nor too thin
Focus on eating right for life rather than dieting to lose weight. The right food and regular exercise will ensure a healthy weight. Steer clear of fad diets which promise rapid weight loss no-one can sustain, once you go off them, the weight comes back on.
Extracted from Nutrition for Life by Catherine Saxelby (Hardie Grant $29.95) available at all bookshops. Catherine is an accredited dietitian and nutritionist and founder of the Foodwatch Healthy Eating Club at www.foodwatch.com.au