Trace wowed us with her ‘Healthy Diet And Mind’ post, now she’s back to share 8 healthy tips to help us get off of the sofa and into the kitchen!
1. Try a new recipe: be adventurous and utilise every crumb of food media and choose a recipe to simplify and adapt to your liking. Whilst on this new pescatarian adventure of mine, I have discovered two new types of fish just by taking the extra time to browse the fresh produce at the supermarket.
2. Plan meals before grocery shopping: planning means a reduction in ‘quick fix’ meals, and hopefully fewer junk snacks in your basket too. It not only gives you something to look forward to but saves scrambling at the back of the fridge after work. Why not ask your household what their meal suggestions are too.
3. Eat more fruit and veg: this is a no-brainer. Fruit and vegetables provide a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as preventing digestion problems. If you aren’t used to including five-a-day in your diet, begin by having a piece of fruit before breakfast, another piece of fruit (or small fruit salad) as part of a snack, and three different vegetables spread across lunch and dinner.
4. Eat less red meat: I can feel the carnivores rolling their eyes at me through their screens. Hear me out. Meats such as turkey, chicken, and fish are healthier options, even better if grilled, stewed or baked. Challenge yourself to do one red meat-free meal a week, whether that be a vegetarian curry or a fish meal. The benefits of eating fish for omega 3 far outweighs the consumption of red meat.
5. Processed food in moderation: fast foods/take-outs, microwave meals and even frozen oven food can be a quick fix but shouldn’t be the go-to meals. The same applies to cooking sauces and tinned foods. These are good additions but avoid making them the staple or core part of the meal.
6. Cut down dairy: I’m a firm believer that humans are either allergic to dairy, or in denial about being allergic to dairy! It’s no secret that dairy is the root cause of many digestive problems, milk being the top contributor. While there are health benefits to drinking milk, there are healthy alternatives. Almond, Soy and Rice Milk each carry good nutritional value, and yes, they can be used in cereal and tea. There are also dairy-free butter spreads available on the market, Flora, Pure and Vitalite are a few brands which cater to this. If like me you have a sweet tooth, your mind will be wandering to ice-cream. I have great news for you, there are dairy-free ice-creams on the market too, and good ones at that. Swedish Glace and Alpro are two brands that are always stocked in my freezer.
7. Shop for fresh produce: Fresh food doesn’t need to be expensive or bought from an organic store, start by swapping some of your fruit and veg purchases from the supermarket to the fresh food market. Supermarkets tend to be more expensive and it’s not unlikely for the fruit and veg to be grown through force ripe. Shopping at a fresh food market allows you to get more value for money (if you close your eyes you can hear the rich sounds of cockney accents shouting, A pound a bowl!). Things to look out for when buying fresh produce: avoid buying the jumbo-sized fruit and veg. It may look visually pleasing, but should a tomato really be the size of your head? The abnormally large fruit stall should be avoided, as those are the foods that are pumped with chemicals. If the guardians of the stall allow you, inspect the bowl of fruit/veg before taking it to the scales. There’s nothing worse than picking a shiny bowl of fruit, only to get home and find rotten ones at the bottom of the bag. Shopping for fresh produce doesn’t have to take extra time out of your schedule – you can avoid the Saturday shoppers by locating the nearest fresh market to your workplace and venture out on your lunch break, or even on your way home.
8. Treat yourself (in moderation): It was only recently in adulthood that I learnt about the Brit culture of Friday night’s being take-out night. Growing up with African parents the response was, and still is, There’s rice at home! Days will come when you don’t feel like cooking, so, by all means, treat yourself. Whether that be fine dining, take-outs, oven meals, or sweet treats (I’m currently devouring a small portion of apple crumble at my desk, it’s midday, but it’s homemade so no judgment) – just try not to undo the hard work you’ve started with cooking more!
If you need a little more persuasion about home cooking and its benefits, check this out. After conducting their survey on eating habits, Lurpak began a campaign titled, Game on Cooks, sharing easy home cooked recipes. If you are already running on the fitness wheel, then check out these tasty and simple recipes and healthy tips. Whichever challenge you set yourself, be that cooking from scratch or cutting down on processed foods, make sure that you keep it simple but adventurous.
Leave a comment below or tweet me @wrappednculture with your favourite healthy tips or home cooked dish and let’s swap recipes.