The Truth About Healthy Eating

truth about healthy eating

The Truth About Healthy Eating.

This week I wanted to share the truth about healthy eating. There’s so much bullshit out there and people trying to sell you their miracle cures. The media confuses things too by sensationalising research; often making wild claims about what is recommended!

Why listen to me?

Well you can trust my advice as I’m a registered Dietitian. That means I have followed a specially accredited postgraduate course; use of the title Dietitian is regulated by law. I will only give you nutrition advice based on the most reliable scientific evidence.

So let’s talk about the truth about healthy eating… Firstly what healthy eating IS NOT.

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be expensive!

You don’t need to buy expensive superfoods. The term ‘superfood’ is just made up by marketing companies to try and sell food at a premium. Yes a lot of foods described as superfoods are very nutritious, but so are other foods that aren’t labelled as this. One single food couldn’t contain all the nutrients that you need. An avocado may be a really nutritious addition to your lunch, but if the overall balance of your diet is shit, then eating that avocado isn’t going to magically make up for everything else.

truth about healthy eating
If you go for fresh fruit/veg try to have local & seasonal as much as possible,
or better still try growing your own if you have space!

Fruit and veg doesn’t have to all be fresh

Tinned/canned, dried, frozen and juice can all contribute to your 5 portions of fruit & veg per day. It really doesn’t need to be all fresh or organic (that’s mainly just better for the environment). In fact often frozen fruit/veg has more nutrients than fresh. How do you know how long the fresh has been lying around for? Whereas frozen fruit/veg usually gets picked and preserved quickly so keeps hold of more nutrients. The key thing with fruit and veg is if you’re going for fresh, try as much as you can to pick local varieties that are ‘in season’. Plus aim to eat a variety of different types so you’re more likely to get all the different vitamins. It’s also important to avoid boiling those veggies to death as that can destroy some vitamins too.

You don’t have to cook from scratch all the time.

Ok so ideally you want to go for whole foods and home cooked meals as much as possible. Cooking your own meals means they’re more likely to be more nutritious with less added fats/salt/sugar. But it doesn’t have to be perfect all the time. You can absolutely include some convenience foods if it makes things easier for you. Make a ready meal more balanced by having some extra salad or vegetables on the side. You can make that jar of sauce go further by adding extra vegetables so that each portion has less of the sauce (and therefore less of the added salt/sugar). Have a think about how you could tweak your meals to make sure they’re well balanced.

There’s no need to cut anything out

Healthy eating CAN include all those treats like meals out/takeaways, chocolate and puddings etc. It’s no good labelling foods as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ – that doesn’t help you! Read more here on why this overly simplified way of looking at food is making it worse for you. Banning foods is just not realistic, especially if it’s something you love. When it comes to including the treats as part of a healthy balanced diet, it’s all about how much you have and how often you have it. If you know you’re overdoing it, think about how you could realistically reduce these things without it feeling like it’s too drastic. Say you were having 5 chocolate bars per day, then dropping to 4 would be a big improvement without it feeling too much of a change would it?

The truth about healthy eating is the main thing is variety

Eating a healthy balanced diet is about getting a variety of different foods so that you’re more likely to get all the different nutrients that your body needs. It’s not about the individual foods, it’s about the overall balance of everything you eat and drink. This doesn’t have to be perfect every day, it’s about your habits MOST of the time. So don’t panic about that week’s holiday where you had cocktails & ice-creams every day! No need for special foods or special recipes, you can absolutely tweak your favourite meals and recipes to make them more balanced.

I like to keep it simple when I’m teaching clients to eat more healthily. I always recommend focusing on each individual meal. When you eat well-balanced meals, the rest all seems to slot into place. My simple guide for making sure your meals are balanced is to make sure you get at least 3 types of food. Start by making sure you’ve included something starchy such as bread, potatoes, pasta or rice. Then include plenty of fruit and/or veg – whatever type you like. Then make sure you have either some protein-rich food or some kind of dairy food (or fortified alternatives to milk). The protein-rich foods include beans/pulses, nuts/seeds, eggs, fish and meat. The dairy foods are milk, cheese, yoghurts or fortified alternatives to these.

If a meal doesn’t keep you going until it’s time for your next meal, then I’d pretty much guarantee that it wasn’t balanced enough. If you skip the carbs you’re more likely to be sniffing round the biscuit tin mid-afternoon. When you don’t have enough fruit & veg you feel peckish within a few hours of eating. Whereas if you nourish your body with all the nutrients it needs then you feel satisfied for longer.

Are you getting enough variety?

You might be already thinking about all the ways your own diet could be improved. But don’t panic! You don’t have to change everything. If you know you could do with making some changes, just tweak things gradually. Pick one thing that’d make the biggest difference and start there. Try using my Anti-dieting Meal Planner to help you enjoy well balanced meals to stop the snacking & picking between meals, grab it free here.

Need help to ditch dieting forever?

Want to eat normally again AND lose weight healthily? While still enjoying the cake & chocolate? Hell yes!

I will help you ditch dieting forever, either with my 1-2-1 support. Or if you prefer to work independently, you will learn all the skills I teach my 1-2-1 clients, on my ‘No More Diets’ online course.

My Weekly Round-up! AKA; what I’ve been up to recently…

  • Tea of the week… well still not really fancying tea much… boooo!
  • Still keeping up my little exercise routine three times per week. I still want to aim for 4 or 5 times per week, but it’s the school holidays for the next few weeks, so we’ll have to see how that goes I reckon!
  • Really need to get to the library this week as I have ‘nothing’ to read, so I’m back on Pride & Prejudice for about the millionth time. If I’m going to keep up my little challenge of reading 22 new books in 2022, I need to make sure I get a new book soon…
  • This morning I had fun chatting to Helen Hill for her podcast The Last Rung. It’s all about managing life as a freelancer and we talked about the impact of eating well on your work & emotional health. There may or may not have been a spot of ranting too… I’ll let you know when the episode is aired.
  • Bird Nerd Report: The kingfishers were back again this week, I saw them a few times down by the brook. Also I saw 3 jays down there too and I think one of them may have been feeding the other – aww! I almost saw a sparrowhawk feasting on a great tit, but luckily the little great tit managed to get away both times. It was amazing to see the sparrowhawk swooping around, but I’m not sure I want to see another bird getting eaten on my morning bimble!

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