Substitute rather than eliminate foods for a healthier you

I strongly believe that you shouldn’t completely eliminate foods to achieve a healthy diet. Focus on what foods you can include to your diet and try substituting the foods you love, rather than cutting out complete food groups.

When you eat foods rich in nutrients, you’ll be giving your body the nutrition it needs and thus eat less, rather than starving your body of its nutrients and leaving you still hungry… (that feeling you get after eating a big mac and it didn’t even touch the sides).

The long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy and reduce the risk of serious illnesses and disease.  Give your body what it really needs and you will eliminate food cravings which are essentially your body telling you it is not getting sufficient nutrients.

Here are some healthy eating principles I try to incorporate into my daily routine, and perhaps with just a few small changes, I hope you can too.

1. Focus on inclusion, not exclusion — if you plan on eating enough good foods you won’t have room for the bad ones. Better food choices with lower GI count can help you feel fuller longer, so always think what extra foods you can add to your diet that will give you the nutrients you need. Try introducing more legumes and beans; nuts; seeds and whole grains as the basis for as many of your meals as possible.

2. Fresh foods take priority – try to increase the amount of whole natural, fresh, organic, local, seasonal and unprocessed or minimally processed foods. Foods that are closest to their natural form are rich in nutrients and thus always highest in nutritional value. Ensure you are getting a wide spectrum of vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and antioxidants (and basically, more nutritional bang for your buck!)

3. Think rainbow, not neutral, bland colours – think of your diet in terms of color, variety and freshness and opt for eating a colorful variety of plants to ensure you’re getting the best nutrients for your body. Reduce foods that are white in colour like bread, potatoes, pasta. (e.g. swap potatoes for sweet potatoes). Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.

4. Keep foods as nature intended – use cooking techniques that will keep the highest amount of nutrients in foods. Steaming, stir frying and grilling is much better than pan-frying, baking and deep-frying. Opt for raw foods on the market such as raw nuts, crackers and dark chocolate.

5. Pick your oils – Reduce your consumption of extracted oils and processed fats and instead select good fats from healthy sources such as seeds, nuts and avocados, olive oil, coconut oil etc. Cooking with good oils in moderation is ok and can actually help satisfy your appetite more, but be careful not to over do it as the calories can add up fast.

6. Fewer hormones, more taste – reduce your consumption of saturated fats and unnecessary hormones or antibiotics, I consciously choose grass-fed beef or lamb and organic chicken breast. You will notice how much more succulent the meat is too, when cooked well. Do note: cooking times may vary with more pure meats.

7. Kick the sugar habit – if you drink sugared soft drinks replace them either with tea or water. Fizzy drinks are a rich source of unwanted calories and rot your teeth as well. This will make a huge difference to how your body relies on sugar for energy.

8. Swap red for white meat – aim to have more white meat meals a week than red. Not all red meat is harmful – grass-fed beef eaten in moderation is fine. But most red meat equals saturated fat. You are better eating white meat like free range poultry or fish for the meat in your diet.

9. Reduce coffee for green tea – for a calmer energy boost, cut the coffee and go for green tea. On average, a cup of green tea contains about one sixth of the amount of caffeine you would get from the same cup of coffee. Even better, green tea is full of antioxidants and doesn’t dehydrate you.

10. Eat smaller portions, more regularly – change your daily eating routine to include more frequent smaller meals. Heavy and infrequent meals make you inactive and lethargic. You might have had the experience of feeling like resting after a heavy meal. The key is to keep your body sustained with energy so you can be as active as possible during the entire day. Smaller meals will be very helpful, as you won’t ever feel stuffed and your body will learn to let go of the calories.

Start slow and make changes to your eating habits over time. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic or smart.  It also takes time as good eating really is about preparation. As your small changes become habit, you can continue to add more healthy choices to your diet.

To learn how to cook simple, fresh, delicious food without compromising principles of healthy eating and taste visit my food blog at An Apple  Day.

The WellBeing Team

The WellBeing Team

You May Also Like

Gmo Genetically Modified Food And Its Effects On The Human Body

GMO (Genetically modified food) and its effects on the human body

Wheat Free Vs Gluten Free Bread Allergy Intolerance

Wheat free, whole wheat and your health

Natural Remedy Cold Flu Season

Cold and flu season – what to do to raise your immunity

Dental Health Is An Important Part Of Your Wellbeing

Dental health is an important part of your wellbeing