The New Year has come and gone. As other resolutions fade into the distance, here’s how make the healthy eating ones more sustainable.
Here are eight simple changes you can make to your eating habits, based on advice from Candice Smith, the head of Discovery Vitality’s nutrition strategy. These small shifts will make a big difference to how you feel and also set you on a healthier path.
1. Swap and substitute
Do the old switcheroo with your white bread, pasta and rice – replace them with the brown or whole-wheat options to add fibre, protein, B vitamins, antioxidants and trace minerals (iron, zinc, copper and magnesium) to your diet.
2. Lighter options
“You can easily replace commercial salad dressings with olive oil and balsamic vinegar or lemon juice without sacrificing on taste,” says Candice.
3. Leave the fats
Any pieces of visible fat can be cut off your meat before you eat it. Also remember to remove chicken skin. “Where possible, opt for lean meats to make things a little easier,” Smith adds.
4. Consider one vegetarian meal a day
Try going vegetarian for lunch or dinner and replace meat with legumes, which are packed with fibre and a good source of protein.
5. Spread lightly
Smith also mentions that replacing butter, margarine or other commercial spreads with mashed avocado, cottage cheese or sugar and salt-free nut butters cuts down drastically on added sugar and salt.
6. Water infusions
Replace sugary fizzy drinks with waters infused with fresh fruit or vegetables. If you miss the fizz, use sparkling water.
7. Smooth and steady fruits
Replace your fruit juice with a fruit smoothie, seeing as juices are high in sugar and fruit is still best eaten whole.
8. Don’t over-salt your food
Eating too much salt can cause high blood pressure and heart disease, because salt affects your kidneys’ ability to process water out of your body, which raises your blood pressure.
Be conscious of the amount of salt you add to your food, and choose less processed foods. “This means cooking from scratch more, adding flavour to your dishes with herbs and salt-free spices instead of reaching for the salt shaker,” says Smith.
If you’d like more rewards for your healthy eating, the HealthyFood benefit from Discovery Vitality gives you cash back on the healthy items in your Pick n Pay or Woolworths shopping.