If there’s anything this covidic period has done, it’s either made you fatter or you’ve stayed the same. And if you managed to lose weight, kudos to you- your self-discipline game is strong. With the gyms closed, I have not been physically active (AT ALL), and although I attempted the online workout sessions, I did not like them, so one way I have tried to maintain a semblance of healthiness has been to eat more healthily.
Before COVID leashed, I was quite a disciplined eater, eating more of the healthy stuff than the unhealthy, and my main reason for eating healthily is because I want to extend the longevity of my physical body. But then I also want to enjoy whatever is there to eat, whether healthy or unhealthy. So, when COVID happened, setting up the perfect environment to just stuff my face with junk, I knew I had to step up my efforts in that regard and discipline myself. I generally try not to be too strict with what I eat because if I do, it’s guaranteed that I will feel deprived. As a result, my motto when it comes to what I eat is ‘Everything in Moderation’. So, it is on that note that I am sharing 8 practical no-fuss tips on boosting your healthy eating habits. I am not a dietician but most of these are scientific and well-researched practices, and I’ve seen the positive effects on my health. Here we go.
- Eat what is labelled unhealthy but which you like (IN MODERATION). I know it sounds counter-productive, but it’s more about occasional indulgence versus instead of total abstinence. So, personally, if I eat healthily regularly and have the need to indulge in something I deem less healthy, I don’t deprive myself, I have the treat. And it’s because I know that the feeling of deprivation when it comes to food results in unnecessary bingeing, which is not something is nice. So while I don’t eat my favourite caramel and coconut cake every day (simply because it is overloaded with a lot of unwanted calories), I step into my favourite cake shop, order it and feast on it once-a-month. It’s all about moderation.
- Cook your food (and bake your cake). If you are a habitual ‘eat-outer’, perhaps it’s time to scale back a bit and take control of what goes into your body, while saving some money too. It can be a chore if you don’t like cooking but think of the positives if you cook your food. You are more in control and you can try new recipes. Personal example- I know my favourite cake shop’s cakes are loaded with everything I’ve been told is not good for me so I’ve been trying to bake my cakes. Mine fall short when it comes to decadence, but it at least helps me gauge the sugar and condensed milk measurements so that I am not overloading myself. I’m not about to give up buying shop-bought pastry or cakes anytime soon but the plan is to buy less and bake more.
- Drink water (+ lemon) every day. Water is to your body, what blood is to your veins. Drink it to quench your thirst, before you eat, when your mouth feels dry, when it’s hot, when it’s cold, when you are bored, after a meal etc. Drink it anytime. Enhance the flavour by adding some lemon to it if you like. I started drinking lemon water when I was pregnant 9 years ago, when the taste of water was like metal, and I haven’t stopped. When my doctor told me that it is like an antioxidant, I became hooked.
- Drink teas regularly. Sorry coffee lovers but tea is awesome. I am a tea fanatic and I drink them in whatever shape or form they come in. Like lemons, some of them also contain anti-oxidants which help lower infections and they are free of calories. If you want to try something new when it comes to teas, I recommend starting with fruit teas with a dash of lemon and honey- you will not regret it.
- Incorporate dairy into your diet. Think cheese, yoghurt and milk. One of the biggest reasons why dairy is good for you? BONE HEALTH. We all need bones to sustain our body so dairy consumption is worth considering.
- Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. This is nature’s nutrients for your body in its original state. They work wonders and are good for the skin, heart, digestive system, weight and energy levels. If you can’t stand chewing fruits or veggies, try blending them into a smoothie. I wrote an entire essay about this fruit topic.
- Eat whole grains. Whole grains are grains that have not been overly processed and still have their original nutrients. What makes them so important? For starters, they are packed full of all sorts of vitamins our bodies need, they are good for regulating cholesterol levels, help with weight maintenance and blood sugar regulation. I don’t like all whole grains though, so while I won’t buy rye because it’s not a favourite, I buy oats all the time and it has made a lot of difference for my health.
- Make healthier swaps when you eat out. So, with us being able to order take away from our favourite restaurants now, at the start, I binged on deep-fried fries, but now I’m mostly swapping fries for veggies or salads. And when I do the weekly grocery run, I often swap salad dressings for vinegar, doughnuts for almond/peanuts, biscuits for some grapes, the overly salted chips for popcorn and sugar-laden cereals with all bran etc.
It might seem like adopting a healthier way of living as it pertains to food is a no brainer, but to be honest, it isn’t. So adopting even one of these tips will make a difference if stuck to over some time.
Cheers to a healthy life. xoxo