Every day there seems to be a new fad diet hitting the media that promises to change your life and help you achieve your #bodygoals, when in actual fact eating a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to maintain good health and keep you feeling your best. This means understanding moderation, getting your essential nutrients and enjoying meals that will fuel you instead of restricting you. Below is a simple guide to inspire life-long, healthy habits to help you maintain a balanced diet.
Prepare your own dishes
Cooking for yourself is the perfect way to know exactly what’s going into your food. You can pick the ingredients and control your portions, meaning you’re less likely to overindulge whilst avoiding unhealthy additives often present in ready meals and takeaways. Preparing your own meals also allows you to cook in bulk, meaning you don’t have to worry about if lunch/dinner will be balanced for the next few days! Keeping food fresh can always be a challenge when preparing your own dishes, but the Hoover AXI fridge freezer has innovative Humidity Equaliser technology, which prevents moisture loss and stops condensation forming – so fruit and vegetables don’t spoil.
Enjoy balanced meals
Understanding the three main food groups to include in your meals is essential to ensure you’re getting the energy, growth and repair, and healthy metabolic function required from your food. Starchy foods such as potatoes, whole-wheat pasta and brown rice are ideal meal bases, they provide fibre for our diets and help us to feel full for longer. This should be accompanied by protein-rich foods such as eggs, seafood, poultry, beans and pulses that are essential for the body to grow and repair itself. Finally, a generous dose of fruit and vegetables to gain key vitamins and minerals that keep our metabolism and organs running efficiently, keeping us healthy. Awareness of what ingredients you should include in your meals will help you maintain a healthy lifestyle long-term – here’s the NHS guidance.
Find healthy alternatives
Switching out foods that are processed or high in sugar for healthier alternatives is a key factor in maintaining a balanced diet. Although it’s fine to reach for some chips, chocolate or biscuits occasionally, day-to-day you should think about incorporating ingredients and snacks that have more nutritional benefits. Sweet tooth? Why not try natural unsweetened yoghurt with fruit and a handful of nuts? And instead of ordering a pizza from your local takeaway, try making your own with a tortilla wrap base.
Don’t deprive yourself
Depriving yourself of the unhealthier foods you really enjoy can backfire, making it harder for you to stick to a balanced diet. Instead of investing energy and a huge amount of willpower into avoiding ‘bad’ foods, understanding not to label foods as ‘bad’ and instead, enjoying them in moderation will help reduce the chances of overindulging.
When making changes to your lifestyle, it’s important to start with realistic expectations. Trying to change life-long habits and achieve results such as potential weight loss too quickly could leave you feeling underwhelmed and unmotivated. Setting more realistic and achievable goals increases your chances of maintaining healthy lifestyle behaviours. For example, if you want to reduce your daily coffee intake, cut back gradually, mixing caffeinated coffee with decaf, adding more water to make the brew weaker or reducing your cups by one a week – working your way down slowly will help you adjust more easily, instead of abruptly removing this from your routine.
Eating mindfully is the act of eating with intention, listening to your body and enjoying the experience. This can help prevent you from overeating, teach you to recognise when you’re full and make meals more satisfying – and it’s not as hard as you may think. Taking the time to sit down to eat, putting your fork down between mouthfuls and eating without the distraction of an electronic device (yes that includes your smartphone) are simple ways to make you consider what you’re eating and how you’re eating it.
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