Getting fit and healthy is 20% exercise and 80% diet. Eating clean and healthy may feel like the most difficult thing you’ve ever tried to do but it doesn’t have to be like that. There are small little changes you can make to your diet that will make a world of a difference to your health and here’s just a few of them.
Swap white carbs for brown carbs
The white carbs I’m talking about are white rice, bread, couscous, and pasta. All these foods come from refined grains which means the grains have been processed and stripped of all its nutritional value leaving behind only carbohydrates with a high glycemic index. This means you’ll eat the food and five minutes later you’ll be hungry again because the starches in the grain will be broken down really quickly and the sugar will be absorbed into the blood stream for use. This is great if you need energy RIGHT NOW but if you’re looking for sustained release to keep you going till the end of time swap these white grains for their wholewheat OG forefathers. Buy brown rice, wholewheat bread, couscous and pasta. Not only will you feel fuller for longer when you eat these but you’ll be getting more vitamins, minerals, protein and the all important dietary fibre so you can be regular.
Buy sugar free peanut butter
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but ordinary peanut butter has a tonne of added sugar in it. Peanut butter is actually a really healthy food with 25g of protein per 100g. That is 1g less than 100g of chicken and 2g less than beef. That’s legit! Plus it’s full of healthy fats that can reduce your risk of heart disease. However, when you add all the sugar most peanut butter varieties have you’ll increase your risk of getting type 2 diabetes and it’s extra calories that you don’t need in your life. Sugar free peanut butter does not lack in taste or flavour and it’s a simple swap that’ll make a world of difference.
Swap milk chocolate for 70% dark chocolate
Chocolate can be healthy. Cacao contains a plethora of beneficial antioxidants and minerals like iron and magnesium. But not all chocolate is made equally. Milk or white and some types of dark chocolate are pretty unhealthy. They’re full of sugar that’ll make you feel great for a second but make you crash and burn in a pit of feeling sluggish and guilty for eating garbage. I know the feels, we’ve all been there.
But if you NEED chocolate everyday then buy dark chocolate with 70% cacoa or more. Chocolate with a high percentage of cacoa is the type of chocolate that contains all the health benefits. You might find it super bitter and nasty if you’re used to eating Kit Kats and M&Ms but you’ll get used to it after a while. Be warned, though, 70% dark chocolate still has sugar so even though it’s healthier don’t overdo it.
Swap fizzy sugary drinks for Kombucha
Fizzy drinks are Full. Of. Sugar. We know this. But if you need that fizzy, sweet drink fix everyday drink Kombucha instead. Kombucha is a fermented, lightly sweetened drink usually made from black or green tea. If you live in Namibia or South Africa most kombuchas will be rooibos tea based because rooibos is life. It’s a naturally fermented drink which makes it pretty fizzy. It has a bunch of amazing health benefits including the wonders it does for your digestive system. It has live cultures and good bacteria that help keep you regular and feeling fabulous. If you can’t stop drinking fizzy drinks either for the sweetness or the fizz, drink Kombucha and keep both without the guilt or health damaging properties.
Swap sugary cereal for oats in the morning
If you haven’t already noticed, sugar sucks. And it’s everywhere inncluding your cereal. Despite that, a number of people add extra sugar to their cereal. Not only is that unhealthy but more often than not, so is the cereal. Corn flakes, coco pops, rice crispies and all the other sugary cereals are high in sugar and low in fibre which means you’ll have a quick burst of energy followed by hunger 10 minutes later. Have you noticed that if you eat corn flakes you get hungry after an hour or two but after you eat oats you’re full for 3-4+ hours? That’s cause oats are high in fibre which makes energy release slowly and regularly instead of really quickly. This results in you feeling energetic and full for a longer period of time. You could eat high fibre cereal like Weet-Bix or All Bran Flakes but they still contain high amounts of sugar so it’s best to stick to oats where you can choose to add sugar or not.
If you think making oats everyday is a hassle (which it is) soak oats in milk or water overnight so all you have to do in the morning is add whatever flavours you like (I add a grated apple, cinnamon and dried cranberries or fresh berries if they’re in season. Adding fresh and dried fruit naturally sweetens the oats so there’s no need to add sugar.) And you’re sorted. You don’t even need to cook it but it’s safe to eat.
Swap sweets for dates
Sugar once again. Bad stuff. Cool.
But if you really need sweets for energy when you’re studying or just because you have a sweet addiction, eat dates instead. They’re sweet and chewy just like toffee. You could say dates are nature’s candy. They’re pure sugar like ordinary sweets but the only difference between dates and candy is that dates are natural whole foods which means they have more in them than just sugar. Dates contain vitamins, minerals, protein and fibre. Great stuff. But they’re still high in calories so don’t overindulge unless you’re about to run a marathon or have a marathon study session.
Swap dairy for dairy free
Dairy is mother nature’s ideal food- if you’re a baby cow.
Dairy is full of saturated fat (the kind that kills you) but it also causes inflammation and can create hormone imbalances in the body. Moreover, 75% of us can’t even digest dairy as most of us don’t have the proper enzymes to digest it because we got rid of them when we stopped breastfeeding. Even though we’re told that dairy helps give you strong bones and teeth, it actually increases your risk of acquiring osteoporosis (bone disease) and breaking your bones. Crazy right! The inflammation and hormone imbalance caused by dairy intake may be the reason for your acne as these are the leading causes of breakouts on your face. Even though dairy is high in beneficial nutrients like calcium and protein it’s best to get these nutrients from healthier sources like nuts, pulses, seeds, broccoli, and leafy greens. So ditch the cows milk for some almond or soy milk which will probably be fortified with calcium and will definitely be better for your health.
It really isn’t difficult to achieve better eating habits. It only takes a couple of small steps and simple changes to get on the path of a healthier lifestyle. Tell me, what small changes have you made in your life that have improved your health. Comment below or message me on social media. I’d love to know. It would also be really great if you tried these tips. I’d love to hear about how you felt after practicing them.