With an important focus being on healthy living and eating, we sometimes feel guilty once we ‘break’ our diet to have that slice of moreish chocolate cake in the office or that cheeky midweek glass of rose.
How do we set ourselves free from this constant cycle of guilt and redemption? The answer is turning our healthy diet into a lifestyle. Once we turn healthy eating behaviour into habits, it doesn’t feel so much of a burden but rather part of our everyday life.
Developing healthy eating habits doesn’t have to be restrictive and complicated as it’s often made out to be. With so much conflicting health advice it can often feel impossible to keep up with the latest health trends, but we’ve put together some basic tips to simplify it all and save you from going insane!
Stock up on your favourite fruits and vegetables - healthy snacks don’t have to cost a fortune as simple plant-based foods can be satisfying and affordable too! Examples include sliced apples with peanut butter and wholemeal crackers, or carrots, celery sticks and cucumber strips dipped in some homemade hummus alongside some toasted wholemeal pita.
Meal Prep! We don’t mean every meal that whole week as that can often take out the excitement and pleasure of eating, but prepping healthy snacks and a few dinners for the week ahead can save so much time in the future. Making big batches of healthy one pot meals like veggie curries and stews then freezing them in tupperwares into individual portions can be a convenient way to ensure you have a healthy dinner on hand, if you’re having a particularly busy day with thinking of what to make for dinner being the last thing on your mind!
Eat more plant-based. Even though this doesn’t necessarily mean going completely vegan, once you start eating more plants, you’ll start appreciating the taste of veggies, pulses and salads rather than them just being accompaniment to a main dish of meat/fish. This way, you’ll stop eating your greens because you should do but more because you actually want to.
Train your sweet tooth away! This is simpler as it sounds; research has shown that just like with salt, we can train our palette to get used to having less sweet foods by slowly eating less of it in our diet. This way we would eventually have less cravings for sweet foods so you’ll start appreciating foods that are naturally sweet instead (like dates and fresh fruit) which are generally healthier!
Don’t be too hard on yourself! If you really want the cake - eat it! As long as you maintain decent portion control and keep a fairly active lifestyle (which is recommended for almost everyone) an occasional indulgent treat won’t do you any harm - it’s better to listen to what our body wants than deny ourselves from the joys of eating.
At the end of the day, no food is a ‘bad’ food, but obviously some are more nutritious than others so it’s best to eat more of these foods so that we can be in the best form of ourselves to boost both our health and confidence.
Written By Andri Neocleous, Food Science & Nutrition Student and Food Blogger, Basil and Vogue https://www.basilandvogue.com/