Goodbye winter food blues, hello healthy summer
After a long, cold and wet winter, I feel hopeful that summer may finally be on its way. Most would agree that when that sun emerges from behind the clouds, it’s so much easier to be motivated to eat well and look after our health. Summer brings with it the opportunity to get outdoors for some exercise and the desire to move away from the heavier winter food - the question is though, where do you start?
Here are some tips to sweep away those winter food blues:
1. Be a CPFA (Certified Practising Food Accountant)
Do you know how much you are eating every day? Have the portion sizes crept up a bit over winter? Check out www.eatforhealth.gov.au to get your own free personalised dietary requirements. See how your diet stacks up. To avoid those creeping kilo’s it is a must. Why not check your weight and take a waist measurement now so you have a starting point to compare to? If you repeat these markers each month, it is a great way of keeping you on track. If you need some guidance with what you are eating, take a look at the Heart Foundation website for some handy tips.
2. Eat breakfast
It may seem obvious, but eating breakfast will start your engine and fill up the petrol tank. You will be able to use your brain, get your metabolism charged up and avoid making hungry irrational food choices later in the day. So what should you choose? Choose a breakfast that is high in fibre and low in saturated fat and above all, tasty. If the early morning rush is stopping you from getting breakfast or making healthy choices, stock a supply at your desk for easy access when you arrive. Some ideas for a healthy breakfast include:
- High fibre cereal with low fat milk or yoghurt and fruit
- Low-fat yoghurt with fresh or tinned fruit
- Pancakes with fresh fruit
- Tinned spaghetti or baked beans on wholegrain toast
- Low-fat fruit smoothie
- Wholegrain toast with jam, honey, peanut butter or vegemite
- Poached, scrambled or boiled eggs on a toasted English muffin
- Mushrooms, grilled tomato or sweet corn on wholegrain toast
3. Don’t leave more than 4 hours between bites
Your stomach will demand attention, your brain will go on a holiday and when we’re hungry we always make poor food choices. To manage your energy, remember to eat at regular intervals such as breakfast, lunch and dinner. If you need snacks to avoid the jellybeans and chocolate when falling into the 3pm slump, get organised and bring your snacks into work. It will save you excess kilojoules and money. If you are looking for a healthy, filling snack check out my post on snacking at work .
4. Check out the Glycemic Index
This will influence how quickly the glucose in food is released into your blood stream. A lower GI rating means that glucose enters your blood stream slowly, resulting in your energy levels being stable and helping you to avoid overeating. Check out the Heart Foundation or Glycemic Index Foundation for an up-to-date rating of any food. Remember to watch out for the vending machine at work because many of the options trying to tempt you are at the high end of the glycemic index and will not fill you up.
5. Boost your antioxidants
These little goodies will boost your immune system after a dreary winter and assist you in avoiding those energy and eating slumps. The best source of antioxidants are fruit and vegetables, the colour of them often gives you a good guide as to what varieties of antioxidants they contain so try to aim for 2 fruit and 5 vegetables of all different colours. Remember that one serve of vegetables = ½ cup cooked, so you are looking at 2½ cups of cooked vegetables per day plus the equivalent of 2 whole pieces of fruit. There are many instances where we can consume antioxidants such as tea or coffee, red wine and chocolate but it's important to remember that fruit and vegetables remain the best source of antioxidants.
If you are involved in workplace health, remember to check out the Healthier Workplace WA website on how to implement a healthy eating policy at your workplace. Your business will thank you for it.
Until next time...
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