Eating healthily is not about strict dietary limitations, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about having a balanced diet that makes you feel great, have more energy, a more stable mood and increased overall wellbeing.
Changing your diet is also not something you can do from one day to the next, but there are things you can do to make these changes more realistic and sustainable.
Think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. These steps might be adding a salad (full of different coloured vegetables) to your diet once a day, or swapping a bag of crisps for a piece of fruit when you snack. Trying to make your diet healthy overnight isn’t realistic. Changing everything at once usually leads to 'cheating' or giving up on your new eating plan. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you’ll be eating a nutritious and balanced diet sooner than you think.
Instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, remember that a little bit, but not too much, of many types of food is generally positive – variation is the key. Focus on finding foods you love and easy recipes that incorporate a few fresh ingredients, and remember that frozen or tinned vegetables are always an option if budget is an obstacle. Gradually, your diet will become healthier and more delicious.
You don’t have to be perfect and you don’t have to completely eliminate foods you enjoy to have a healthy diet. So don’t panic if you eat unhealthier foods every now and then as a treat.
Water helps flush our systems of waste products and toxins, yet many people go through life dehydrated – causing tiredness, low energy, and headaches. It’s common to mistake thirst for hunger, so staying well hydrated may also help you make healthier food choices.
Find a physical activity that you like to do and add it to your day, even if it’s just small changes like taking the stairs instead of the lift or walking for 20 minutes in your lunch break. The benefits of exercise are abundant and regular activity may even help motivate you to eat more healthily.