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Eating well

by Lil Diamond

Making sustainable, positive changes

There is a huge amount of nutrition information available on the internet, tv and magazines. Most people interested in exercise generally have a good idea about what they should be eating to optimise health. Putting it into practice, however, can take a lifetime to get right. Here I will summarise some key tips for eating well and how you could work on looking at what you eat at the moment and making sustainable, positive changes if you need to.

Getting the balance right

You might be familiar with this Eatwell guide. It splits types of food into groups and shows the proportion of these to eat over a day. If you think about what you eat and drink on a typical day, does your diet match this? You may want to think about small changes that you can make, one at a time to get the balance right.

If you try and be mindful of how you fuel your body, I promise, with training, you will be amazed at what your body can achieve!

Elizabeth (Lil) Diamond

Can you increase your fluids if not quite managing 8 glasses a day?

How about squeezing in some more fruit and veg?

Could you try making your own smoothies with a variety of fruit? Pop down to the market and challenge yourself to try something new on the fruit and veg stall. Trial a veg box, there are lots of local schemes. Try and have some kind of fruit and veg at every meal and aim for as much as possible each day.

Include a starchy food at each meal

Unless following a special diet (on advice from a health professional), aim to include a starchy food at each meal – wholegrain if possible. This will provide great baseline energy for you. Mix it up – couscous, bagels, pitta breads, brown rice, pasta, potatoes, oats are all great choices.

Do you include a protein source at each meal?

If you follow a plant-based diet (or even if you don’t), make sure you include beans/pulses/tofu/soya beans. Other good sources of non-animal protein include quinoa, nuts and seeds. Again, experiment with a wide range of foods; try to limit red/fatty meat to once a week and try to get 2 portions of oily fish in each week.

Dairy foods

Dairy foods provide us much needed protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals. Try to include each day as milk, or fortified milk alternatives, cheese and other milk-based products.

Oils and spreads

You can eat oil and spreads, but just check how much you use. Try measuring out just a teaspoon of oil for cooking, or use the ‘spread on, spread off’ methods to avoid thick butter or spread on your bread!

And everything else?

Most of us love foods with lots of fat, sugar and salt.

We know they aren’t good for us, but we crave them and it can be hard to resist. During recent lockdowns, it has been easier than ever to justify ‘treats’. Whether it’s baking with children, having deliveries to our door or indulging in that extra glass (or bottle) of alcohol at the weekend.  I’m never going to recommend you cut out all these foods completely. However, take a moment to be mindful of what you do eat, and be honest with yourself about whether you can cut down to ensure that these foods remain an occasional treat to really enjoy rather than an everyday part of your diet.

My summary of eating well

Finally, try to only eat when you are hungry and give yourself permission to stop eating when you are full, rather than keep eating until everything is finished on your plate, or you are overfull. If you try and be mindful of how you fuel your body, I promise, with training, you will be amazed at what your body can achieve!

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