Eat well to get healthy for Summer!
Updated: Jul 3
It’s been a long, long lockdown, but the end is in sight and fortunately we’ll soon be able to return to some of our longed-for activities – seeing family and friends and getting out and about again! As we prepare to get our freedoms back it’s a great time to think about the steps we can take to make improve our health – so that we can get the most pleasure out of life when it returns to normal!
Whilst many of us have been exercising quite a lot during lockdown, perhaps fewer of us have given the same attention to our eating habits. Lockdown has been hard, and when things are difficult, we often turn to food for comfort - a recent study found that a third of us were eating more during lockdown.
So, what can we do now to take a few small steps to improve our eating habits? Small changes can add up to a make a big difference, so here are a few suggestions:
1. Taming the blood sugar roller-coaster
When we feel a bit stressed or tired, we often distract ourselves with a sugary snack – maybe a biscuit with coffee mid-morning or some cake in the afternoon. But an hour later we’ll feel tired and hungry again. This is the effect of changes in your blood sugar levels - after the biscuit your blood sugar levels rise sharply, only to fall rapidly again soon afterwards, which makes you feel more tired and stressed – This is often called the blood sugar roller-coaster as illustrated below.
The way to avoid these peaks and troughs is to replace the biscuits or cake with a protein-based snack such as:
1. a handful of nuts or some trail-mix
2. a piece of cheese and some olives
3. slices of apple with peanut butter
By adding in protein and reducing sugar, your blood sugar levels won’t rise as high or drop so low afterwards, making you feel less hungry and more comfortable throughout the day. By avoiding sugary snacks, you will feel more in control of your appetite and have more balanced energy levels.
2. Healthy breakfasts
A good healthy breakfast sets you up for the day, and if you’re someone who just grabs a piece of toast or a bowl of cereal in the morning there’s probably room for improvement! Some ideas of how to make a healthy breakfast:
Always include protein, such as eggs, bacon, oats or yoghurt, to help control your blood sugar and keep you full for longer, so you can reduce reliance on snacks;
Include fruit or vegetables, such as tomatoes, mushrooms, spinach or berries to help increase your daily intake;
Include healthy fats, for example, Greek yoghurt with fruit, nuts and seeds;
Try and vary your breakfast so you get the benefit of a variety of nutrients;
Fish can be a good start to the day – try smoked salmon on scrambled eggs. Don’t forget – eggs are a healthy option and there are no longer limits on the number of eggs you are advised to consume!
3. Variety is the spice of life
A greater variety of food is associated with a longer healthier life than one with less variety, and a greater range of food has also been found to help with weight loss. One
of the key ways to increase the range of different foods you eat in your diet is to broaden the range of plant foods in your diet. Here are some ideas:
Try and increase the number of different vegetables and fruit you eat, choosing new ones as they come into season;
Include lentils, beans and other legumes in your diet – add to stew and casseroles or to salads;
Add nuts – you can crisp them up in the oven to make them crunchier;
Add seeds to salads or grind them up and use as a topping for porridge or yoghurt – flax and chia seeds are particularly good as they contain lots of omega 3 fats
Free healthy eating course
Making small changes in how we eat can add up to make a big difference to how we feel and can help us to lose some weight.
If you are interested in learning more, we are offering a FREE healthy eating course called Springboard2Health which includes six short webinars, 13 recipes, a free e-book on blood sugar balance and access to a dedicated private Facebook group. Sign up to the course HERE