It’s all to easy to overindulge in the winter. It’s cold outsie so we want big, hearty meals, while Christmas brings a whole host of decisions to make about the foods we eat. But I think the moment you announce you’re on a ‘diet’ you’ve set yourself up to fail.
A diet implies that once you reach your goal weight, your work is done and you can revert back to your old eating habits. Changes should be made which last for life. It’s all about the choices you make – a few simples switches here and there will make us look and feel better.
- Buy low fat, low calorie varieties of food, particularly dairy products. I’m talking skimmed milk, low-fat margarine, low fat cheeses, fat-free frozen yogurt. Continue this into recipes: when a recipe calls for cream, see if you can use low fat Greek yoghurt instead. Remember though, that foods can be low in fat but still have a relatively high calorie count if they have high levels of sugar so read nutritional labels carefully.
- Fill up on fruit and vegetables. In fact, a large proportion of a meal should be made up of fruit and vegetables: the NHS’ ‘eatwell plate’ gives you a good idea about how much of each food type we should be aiming for.
- Drink two litres of water a day. This includes your teas and coffees (try cutting down on your sugar while you’re at it!) but remember these caffeinated drinks can be dehydrating when consumed in excess. You can make water more interesting with sugar-free cordials.
- Consider following a low GI diet. Foods with a low glycemic index (GI) release energy slowly, keeping you feeling full for longer and allowing you to eat less calories without feeling hungry. Example foods include oats, soya and linseed bread, pasta, beans and lentils.
- Listen to the advice your parents gave you and always eat breakfast! This first meal of the day helps to wake up your metabolism and burn calories. Time and time again, research shows that those who eat breakfast have a better chance of losing weight and keeping it off. Healthy breakfast choices include porridge and fruit, a boiled egg with wholemeal toast and low-fat spread or muesli with low fat yoghurt.