Tips for a healthier life

If you want to engage on a healthier life style but need some ideas on how you can do so, I have created some notes you could use to get on track. 

  1. Prepare your day or better week in advance – Buy vegetables and groceries to last for the whole week. It is less difficult to binge on unhealthy food if you do not have them in your cupboard. Surround yourself with healthy food and snacks. Always favour vegetables which are local or in season when possible.
  2. Tricks to avoid extra/ unwanted snacks:
    1. Eat Breakfast – Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. It will jumpstart your metabolism and if you skip this meal your body is more likely to go into starvation mode and start storing fat.
    2. Drink a glass of water before eating or snacking. Sometimes people confuse hunger with thirst.
    3. Add a bit of chilly to your dishes – People tend to eat less when a dish is spicy.
    4. Chose a smaller plate size – sometimes it is not the amount of food you have, but how full your plate looks.
    5. Control portion sizes and timing – Eat smaller meals more frequently. Try to leave at least two/three hours between a meal and another. You don’t need to feel painfully full in order to stop eating. Instead try to listen to your body and continually ask yourself if you are actually full. If you are eating out of a bigger portion, take out the portion that you need before hand to avoid eating more than you actually want to.
    6. Eat and chew slowly – It takes about 20 minutes on average for the brain to register that the stomach is full.  If you eat a meal in 10 minutes it is more likely that you still feel hungry because you have not yet allowed the brain to register the food intake. Dedicate some time to eat your meals. If you eat in front of the TV, or while doing something else, the tendency will be that you will overeat because your focus will be shifted away from whether you are full or not.
  3. Avoid or limit the amount of processed food that you eat. These include packaged meals, canned food, store bought biscuits and pastries. The more you eat these types of food, the more you will be craving them.
  4. Wash fruit and vegetables thoroughly because pesticides are very harmful for the body and can pose serious risk on your health. Use white vinegar or bicarbonate of soda mixed with water to cleanse fruit and vegetables.
  5. Examples of healthy snacks include:
    1. Vegetable sticks & homemade dips (example carrot sticks go well with hummus or celery sticks with bigilla)
    2. Low fat cottage cheese or feta cheese (you can add these in toasts or salads or even as a healthier pita/pizza topping)
    3. Nuts (chose baked and unsalted). Good sources are almonds, brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pecans or walnuts. Nuts can help maintain a good level of fat burning hormones as well as control appetite and cravings.
    4. Fresh fruit like apples, bananas, grapefruit, pomegranate, watermelon, peaches and plums.
    5. Low fat yoghurt, or better low fat Greek yogurt (find brands with a fewer list of ingredients. Avoid ones that have added ingredients like sugar/sweeteners, colors and preservatives)
    6. Dark Chocolate, pure cocoa powder or cocoa nibs – Chocolate is rich in antioxidants, boosts energy, improve mood and concentration. Dark chocolate will still satisfy your sweet tooth for fewer calories and more benefits. Buy chocolate from the health section and look at the ingredients. Preferably chose chocolate with 70% or more cocoa. Chocolate that is sweetened with stevia is very good as stevia is a natural sweetener made from a plant. If sugar is the first ingredient then it means that there is more sugar than chocolate so try to avoid these. Try this homemade chocolate treat
    7. Coconut milk & coconut oil – a super healthy saturated fat which is a powerful nutrient for the immune system. This fat is readily used as for energy and is less likely to be stored as fat. Coconut oil can be used instead of butter for baking.
    8. Whole eggs including the egg yolks – Eggs are one of the highest source of protein and the egg yolks are the healthiest part of the egg. These are full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants
    9. Avocados – These are sometimes considered as a fatty fruit but are in fact full of healthy fats that can target abdominal fat. Since avocados are an extremely satiating food, eating them helps to reduce your appetite in the hours after your meal.
    10. Natural sweeteners – rather than sugar try using stevia, honey or cinnamon to sweeten hot drinks. Use fresh or dried fruit to sweeten cereals or cakes. 
  6. Exercise – We all have busy lifestyles but if you could find at least 30 minutes a day to do some exercise your body would benefit a lot. This can include washing the car, taking the stairs instead of the lift, holding stand up meetings both at work and when meeting friends or parking your car further away and walking it to your destination. Try to see if you can wake up 30 minutes earlier and do some stretching & rope skipping before you shower. 

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