Diet Nutrition

Gemma McCaw: 5 ways to eat healthier

Don't let a busy lifestyle stop you from eating well.

By Gemma McCaw

Life is busy! Too often we're pulled from pillar to post, which leaves us with little time to prepare and think about our food. When we're rushed, we tend to reach for quick and easy foods that provide us with no nutritional benefits. One of the first steps to eating healthily is getting organised, knowing what's in your food and planning ahead to help you stay on track.

1) Opt for fresh food

As a general guide, the bulk of what you buy should come from around the edges of the supermarket, where fresh food is displayed. This means you'll purchase fewer packaged, processed goods and more of the nutritious food your body needs.

2) Consider your mood

When deciding what you eat, consider the impact your food can have on your mood. While a quick sugar hit might feel good at the time, it can leave you lethargic soon afterwards. Instead, opt for whole foods and, where possible, avoid excess sugar and processed foods. The key to feeling fuller for longer is making sure you include enough protein, fruits, vegetables and fibre in your meals.

3) Choose colourful foods

To make progress in the long term, you need to develop a simple routine. The key to balanced nutrition is increasing your intake of nutrient-dense (colourful) foods and decreasing calorie-dense (often white) foods. Nutrients are typically the vitamins, minerals, good fats, proteins and fibre our bodies need to function, grow and repair.

4) Snack between meals

Try to be two steps ahead when it comes to nutrition. If you are going out for dinner, think about eating a nutrient-dense snack just beforehand. That way, you won't turn up to the restaurant feeling hungry, then be tempted to overindulge while you're there. Opt for carrot sticks and hummus, a boiled egg, apples, berries or some raw nuts to tide you over.

5) Plan ahead

Write a menu for the week, then shop according to the list, buying only what's necessary for your meals. This approach takes the "what shall we have for dinner tonight?" stress out of your day, plus it helps reduce food waste.

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