Eating habits and healthy diet
Everyone can eat a bit healthier with a few tweaks to their diet – here are some basic rules and cooking tips to point you into the right direction.
Eat protein with every meal.
I know it seems a bit faddy but I’m not talking a Dukan-Middleton-Mania protein bonanza at every meal. The benefits of eating protein are numerous and upping my protein intake has literally revolutionised my life. It keeps you full, slows down digestion and your body burns more calories simply digesting it than any other food group.
Simply include proteins such as lean meats, dairy, beans or eggs in every meal. This is simple – eat yoghurt or eggs for breakfast. At lunch, look for a sandwich with lean meat in, or make sure your salad has beans or feta or prawns etc in. Cottage cheese and yoghurt make great snacks or desserts. Use quinoa instead of rice, or a 50/50 mix – it has more protein and more fibre, both of which fill you up and slim you down.
DO NOT SKIP CARBS. They’re a vital source of energy and are NOT FATTENING. Just be sensible with the portion sizes and eat it with protein and fat – every meal should be balanced.
Boil the meat
No it’s not a joke. No, it’s not very pretty. BUT, by boiling the meat before using it you’ll remove nearly all of that fat. The boiling does remove a lot of the juices and so sauces etc will need a pinch of extra seasoning, but overall it honestly tastes no different. You’re left with a low fat, high protein food that you can use as you wish. Make your own sauces with chopped tomatoes or passata and spice mixes and you’re left with a low fat version of something scrummy. It saves money on buying the lean meat too!
I like a good chilli – kidney beans add extra protein and fibre, and it’s easy to sneak extra veg in. Boil the mince and then, using a small amount of oil, fry it with onions and chilli spices. Pour over chopped tomatoes and simmer. Around 5 minutes before serving pour in kidney beans and some spinach leaves for an extra health boost!
Make it Spicy
Spicy food has been shown to boost your metabolism and also suppress appetite, which is a diet double winner. A cheap and easy way to spice up your meals is to use a spice mix – I recommend spice mix. It’s delicious! It’s brilliant with chicken and prawns, both of which are great lean protein options. My favourite recipe is a Chicken Fajita Salad. You’ll need;
- One chicken breast per person (around 165g per person)
- Mixed Fajita vegetables – Courgette, pepper, thickly sliced onion, mushrooms…literally anything you fancy!
- Mixed Salad Leaves
- Fat Free Fromage Frais/Reduced Fat Sour Cream
- Spicy Tomato Salsa & Fresh Guacamole
- Spice Mix
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a big wok and add the chicken and the spice mix, frying until cooked through. Throw in the mixed chopped veg (and more spice mix if you’d like!) and fry,moving continually for 4-5 minutes. Serve over mixed leaves with fat free fromage frais, hot salsa and fresh guacamole, and these homemade chunky tortilla chips; Grab a wholewheat tortilla wrap, cut into 6 ‘pizza’ type slices and spray/brush with olive oil. Season with salt and coarse ground black pepper, and place in an oven at 180 for about 10 minutes, turning halfway. SO good.
Eat Oats for Breakfast
Oats aren’t boring. Yes, a good bowl of porridge is well and good but it isn’t the only way to eat oats in the morning! Try ‘cold porridge’ – my favourite breakfast, and much quicker than cooking porridge in the morning. The night before, cover 50g of oats with 100ml skimmed milk – cover and leave in the fridge overnight. In the morning, add a teaspoon of honey, 50g of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of cinnamon. It’s delicious, filling and under 300 calories. It’s also very versatile – try different flavours of yoghurt, fruits and nuts, peanut butter, cocoa, stewed apples…delicious! Just be sure to use yoghurt until the consistency is smoother, as it’s quite stodgy once the oats have absorbed all the milk.
Another favourite is an Oaty Pancake.