It’s easy to buy into the latest superfood trends, start spiralising your veg or creating weird and wacky smoothie combinations, all in the hope that it’ll do wonders for your metabolism and your waistline. However, these trends often fade away after a season, once New Year’s resolutions have been abandoned, or when meal prepping begins to seem like too much work.
Instead of jumping on the bandwagon with your diet, try out some of the fad-free healthy eating options that have withstood the test of time.
Stay aware of bad nutritional advice
There are a huge number of fad diets out there, advising against certain foods, cutting foods out of your diet completely, suggesting methods and equipment to prepare foods in new and different ways, and diets that promise quick results in weeks.
This advice can lead to quick weight loss, but also may pave the way for quick regaining of weight too. So, make sure to steer away from advice that:
- Promotes or bans any certain foods or food groups
- Emphasises the idea of a ‘one-size-fits-all’ weight loss or eating approach
- Focuses on changing exercise and eating habits on a short-term basis
- Promises results that seem too quick, dramatic or good to be true
- Encourages any kinds of supplements or pills that are promoted as ‘fat burners’ or to boost your metabolism
- Contradicts trusted health professionals or makes claims based on a single study
The key to a healthy diet
The best way to make changes to your diet that aren’t just healthy but sustainable too, turn to the health specialists. Expert organisations, like the NHS and the British Nutrition Foundation, have put together healthy eating guides, focusing on the physical health benefits of a healthy diet.
The two key points to take away from this, even if they’re the only things you remember, are:
- To only eat the right amount of calories for how active you are, so that the energy you use during the day is balanced by the amount of energy you consume.
- To eat a wide range of foods so that your body is getting a balanced diet.
Below, we have detailed some of the more specific actions you can take to improve your healthy eating.
Food groups to focus on
When diets mention food groups, it’s often in relation to cutting certain groups out. Instead of encouraging that, fad-free healthy eating promotes the idea of eating from every food group, keeping variety in your diet.
One piece of advice they stress is that basing your meal in starchy carbohydrates is a great way to keep you full and satisfied for longer, meaning that you’re much less likely to snack during the day.
Eating lots of fruit and vegetables is a staple piece of advice from most healthy eating advocates but it’s up to you how you bring them into your diet. You may be enamoured with your spiraliser, or love food bowls filled with colourful fruits, it really doesn’t matter as long as you’re eating your 5-a-day.
Fish is also a great thing to start including in your diet, especially oily fish, since it is a good source of protein and contains many vitamins and minerals, including omega-3 fats.
Understand what you’re eating
As you’re doing your food shopping, try and get into the habit of checking the ingredients and packaging of the products you’re buying. The wrappers of the food you’re buying can hold very valuable clues to whether they’re good for you, including showing portion sizes, and the content levels of sugar, salt and saturated fat.
For long lasting, positive changes to your eating habits, think about cutting down on the amount of saturated fat and sugar you consume. This small change can make a big difference to how healthily you’re eating and make you feel better too. Eating less salt is also a good suggestion, especially since adults are only supposed to consume six grams a day at most.
Get into some good habits
One great way to keep track of what you’re eating, and making sure what you’re putting into your body is good for you, is to start cooking from scratch. That way, you’re completely in control of every single ingredient you eat and can make sure that everything is healthy and full of goodness.
If you’re looking for one small change to help you cut down on the amount of calories you’re consuming, make the switch to water. Instead of drinking heavily caffeinated drinks and drinks containing a lot of sugar, such as energy drinks and juices, stick to water and watch your health rocket up. Not only does this choice reduce your calorie intake but it also improves your skin and mental abilities.
While it has been disproved that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, it’s still vitally important not to skip it. Eating breakfast kickstarts your metabolism and gets your body ready for the day ahead, enabling it to start processing the energy you both use and consume at a quicker rate.
Eating healthy can only take you so far. While these fantastic “anti-fad” tips will get you most of the way towards a healthy diet, it’s important that you put as much effort into the physical side of health. Make sure to stay active, maintain a healthy weight and get enough sleep, and you’ll be well on your way to a fun, healthy and feel-good year!