Spring is just around the corner and while everybody is thinking about spring cleaning, I’ve been thinking about what I can do to ‘spring clean’ my diet. I’ve already started reducing a number of sweet treats I have weekly and this has already helped me drop a few pounds.
If you are looking to ‘spring clean’ your diet, reducing your sugar intake is just one thing you can do. There is much more of course and here I share with you seven simple ways you can make your meals healthier to have a healthier start of the spring…
Eat More Raw Fruit and Vegetables
By eating more raw fruits and vegetables you’ll be filling your diet with anti-ageing antioxidants, various minerals and enzymes that your body will love, boosting digestion and fighting chronic disease. Try and add fruit or vegetables to every meal you have. I add blueberries to my porridge or muesli every day and I always have a fresh salad with my meals.
Cut Back on Junk Food
Eating fast food on a regular basis can lead to obesity due to the number of calories and amount of fat in fast-food meals. Not to mention the additional problems that this type of food can cause like high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Replacing junk food with healthier options may not be easy to start with but it is possible, all you need is some determination and willpower. I would recommend you start by exploring healthier alternatives to the junk food you currently eat.
For example, could you replace French fries with roast potatoes? Or could you find a healthier ready-made meal in a supermarket? Most of the supermarkets these days have quite a good selection of (almost) healthy ready meals which I believe some people may want to turn to when they are busy.
The more healthy food you eat, the less appetite you will have for junk food.
Cut Out the Dairy
Did you know that countries where people drink a lot of milk also have the highest rates of osteoporosis? Milk is not as good for you as you may have thought and it’s definitely not the best source of calcium.
And did you know that milk is full of hormones, puss and antibiotics? If you drink it, it’s time to cut back and go for healthier options such as almond milk, rice or oat milk.
If you are worried about your calcium intake you can easily add some calcium-rich kale to your salads. You can also find calcium in other foods such as sardines, pulses, dried figs, almonds, sesame seeds (tahini) and even baobab powder.
Reduce Meat Consumption
There is a number of reasons why you may want to reduce consumption of meat but the main one is definitely your health – that’s because eating less meat is associated with a decreased risk of heart disease and cancer (although it will also help you save money!).
Try and replace minced beef with lentils for example, or instead of having a beef burger, swap it out for a bean burger – this will provide you with way more nourishment, fibre and vitamins.
Use Whole Grains
Whole grains are grains in their unprocessed form. That means that they still contain all of the parts of the original kernel including the outer layer (the bran).
Eating more whole grains helps you consume more fibre and improve your digestion but it also helps to lower cholesterol. In addition to that, whole grains make you feel fuller than refined grains and this could help you keep your portions under control and maintain a healthy weight.
Switching from refined grains to whole grains is really easy – just ditch white rice and white pasta and replace them with brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Try other whole grains as well such as quinoa and buckwheat.
Use a Steamer Instead of Frying, Boiling or Roasting
Steamers are great to soften up your vegetables while still keeping the crunchy texture and preserving their valuable nutrients. Steaming your food is one of the healthiest ways of cooking and doing that will make your meals super healthy.
Use Healthier Cooking Oils
Do you still use sunflower oil as your main oil for cooking? If the answer is yes, it’s time to consider something else! Rapeseed oil, for example, contains half less saturated fat than sunflower oil and this is the oil I personally use for shallow frying and roasting.
When buying rapeseed oil make sure you go for the one which is cold-pressed as opposed to the refined rapeseed oil which is not much better than sunflower oil.
Another oil which you may want to consider for cooking is avocado oil. This has a high smoke point and you can also use it in salad dressings.
Petra Kravos is a healthy lifestyle blogger who runs one of the top UK’s health blogs, Be Healthy Now. Petra is very passionate about health and loves helping people on their healthy living journey. On her health blog you will find a variety of topics, from natural health and healthy eating to fitness, Petra covers it all. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.