So it's a new year and new year means new opportunities right? I've been thinking over and over what I can do differently to make my blog a little more fun and interactive with you, the readers, who keep me in business. So I've decided to create a (hopefully) weekly instalment of 'How to' posts every Sunday, this will be from health and fitness (another passion of mine that I don't feel I share often enough on this blog) to clothing tips, make-up, blogging tips, everyth...... I could go on but I'll spare you. Anyway, before I risk another essay post which you all know I can be rather good at, I'll crack right on with the first instalment...as promised this will be from a health point of view but please do let me know what you think, would you rather I stuck to just fashion? I write this blog with you guys in mind so if this is not something you want tell me :)
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Before I write these tips I'm going to put it out there now that there is nothing wrong with enjoying a Mars bar, a cookie, a cake, fruit, a soda etc.... but it's all about how much and how often. Personally I choose to have a cheat meal once a week but that doesn't mean I don't have a nibble of good quality dark chocolate sometimes outside of that. It's about whatever works for you and about knowing that you can do things in moderation rather than throw the whole day away just because you had jam on your toast for breakfast! I'm also NOT A NUTRITIONIST, what I write are my tips only and some, to be honest, are pretty damn obvious.
So here goes...
Don't eat too much fruit
What??? But your teachers and parents always told you to eat lots of fruit? Yep, I hear you, but fruit actually has quite a lot of sugar in it; it is natural so it shouldn't be seen as 'bad' but it's just something to be aware of. That being said there are lots of nutrients in fruit so it's all about balance. I aim to eat no more than 2 portions of fruit a day and make up the rest of my 5 a day with vegetables - that way I'm still getting the nutrients but less of the sugar. When you do choose fruit, try not to eat Mangos or grapes too often as these are packed with sugar. Opt for strawberries and raspberries (actually most berries are pretty good) instead.
Drink plenty of water
Keeping hydrated is so important for maintaining a healthy diet - not only is it great for your skin and overall wellbeing but sometimes when you feel hungry really you're really just dehydrated so keeping your water levels topped up can help you avoid cravings. I aim for around 3 litres a day, not a huge amount by some peoples' standards but manageable for me. I do drink quite a bit of green tea as well which is packed full of antioxidants - especially if you drink matcha.
Make the right swaps
This is such an easy one to get right and, if you choose wisely, can really make a difference. I'm not going to teach you such eggs here - we all know white bread isn't great for us but what is the best alternative? My go to is Rye bread - I love it because you can buy it in so many different forms! I tend to buy the german rye bread which is really filling and is generally made with plenty of seeds, you can also buy fresh sourdough rye from most supermarkets which is kind of like a slightly denser wholemeal loaf - it's tastes amazing trust me! The other great low sugar alternative is sourdough and boy do I love that stuff toasted! It's all about making small swaps rather than cutting stuff out.
I think I might do another 'How-to' post to cover this off in detail but seriously guys, I can't tell you enough how important this is in the bid to cut down on sugar. If you don't know what you're going to cook that evening then you tend to go for whatever is easiest and that generally equals quick carbs. I'm not one for doing huge amounts of meal prep on a Sunday afternoon, I'm fortunate that I have a helpful fiancee and some time after work (gym in the mornings if you can, it will make everything so much easier) but the most important thing is to write out that meal plan and buy only the stuff you need on it. I tend to plan my week around ingredients so one week I may concentrate on how I will end up using that whole pot of yoghurt differently - not only does this mean you won't snack on it but your food waste goes down. Sometimes I also make double to have the day after or stick in the freezer.
Get plenty of sleep
I won't go into the science of it all - I'm not qualified too - but getting a good amount of sleep in is really good for ensuring that your blood sugar labels stay stable. If you're not getting enough sleep (or even getting too much!) your levels can go a bit out of wack and that's when the cravings kick in. I always start the day with a carb, protein and fat based breakfast such as poached egg on avocado toast, the macronutrients work together to fuel you throughout the morning in way that doesn't spike your sugar levels.
Get recipe help
No one can do this on their own, after a week or two your imagination just falls away and you can seriously risk fallen off the sugar wagon so get some inspiration. My favourite foodie Instagrammers are Madeline Shaw (her book 'Get the Glow' is always out come meal prep time) and Joe the Body coach - his instagram is full of really quick lean recipe ideas. There is, of course, Deliciously Ella, I have her book and I love it but I'm really not a vegan kind of girl! It is great for making pestos and nut butters from scratch though.
Finally, if I can give one final piece of advice it's read the label - if you can't pronounce it, ditch it!
Let me know what you thought of this guys - next week I'll do something a bit more fashion related promise!