Hey hey beautiful people, I hope you’re all doing well – happy Saturday ❤️
Today, I thought I’d share some really simple, easy to implement and often really small changes that make a BIG difference to our health in the long run.
You see, before actually studying nutrition, I thought that “being healthy” and “making better choices” meant avoiding food groups entirely, avoiding so-called “bad foods” and feeling deprived constantly,
When in fact, living a healthier life is all about making small choices and taking small steps that help us find balance in our day to day lives. Like finding balance between having a perfect diet and being flexible enough to enjoy going out for a meal with our family or friends. Health is not just what we consume but how we live our lives; it is the sum of our physical, mental and emotional health and no one is more important than the other.
As you can imagine, I will be focusing more around nutrition rather than mental and emotional health as that is my area of expertise however keep in mind that striking the right balance may look very different from one person to another.
BREAKFAST – The most important meal of the day VS. Fasting till noon ?
As with most things in the world of nutrition, there are many different schools of thought when it comes to breakfast.
#Many large, scientifically sound and long term studies have proven time and time again that breakfast eaters tend to have lower overall weight, better blood sugar levels / control and tend to be healthier overall than those who regularly skip breakfast.
HOWEVER, some people are simply not hungry in the morning, while others like myself, go through phases with somedays opting for a filling breakfast and other days fasting until lunch time. There are scientifically proven benefits to this way of eating also – fasting every once in a while actually does the body a lot of good, as does making sure your feeding window isn’t longer than 12 hours. Moreover, listening to our body is ALWAYS a good idea with this sort of thing – unless otherwise advised by a medical professional (or dealing with illness / eating disorders), opting to skip breakfast when you’re not hungry is a good idea.
If you’d like to learn more about fasting and feeding windows, I’ve shared a post on the topic in the past; click here to learn more: Fasting vs. Feeding Window 🍽
If you are a breakfast eater, or like to switch it up, here are some healthy breakfast ideas:
Try to aim for something that is BALANCED in its nutrients (this should be the goal with every meal); a meal that contains (complex) carbohydrates – like oats, brown bread, fruit and honey. Sufficient protein – from Greek yoghurt, eggs, plant based yoghurts and milks and nuts or nut butter. Finally, we also need a (healthy) fat source – like egg yolks and dairy products such as cheese, however, ideally we choose fats coming from plant based sources like nuts or avocado / olive oil if having a savory breakfast.
Here are some easy recipes and breakfast ideas that might help inspire your next early morning meal 🙂
Fibre – how to easily up your intake!
If you’ve been following me for a while, you know I discuss the importance of a high fibre diet quite regularly. It’s so important to include sufficient fibre in our diets ; studies show that many of us in the developed world only get about 1/3 of our daily fibre requirement due to our overall excessive meat and processed food intake – neither of which contain any measurable fibre content.
This is one of the reasons why leaning more towards a plant-based diet, not necessarily fully vegan or vegetarian, however high in plant foods, is beneficial for our health. More importantly, increasing our fibre intake, both soluble and insoluble fibre, is so important to help keep our cholesterol levels within a health range and to keep out gut healthy.
Fibre is also really important in maintaining a health weight since high fibre foods tend to keep us much fuller for longer. These types of foods also help prevent constipation – I know it’s not fun to talk about but, it’s less fun to experience so keeping our gut healthy is a must!
If you’d like to learn more about WHY we need fibre, click here to read my blog post on the subject: Why do we need FIBRE?
Upping your fibre intake is MUCH easier than you may think. Making easy swaps like using a WHOLE WHEAT pasta as opposed to a regular white flour pasta is one way to start. Another way to increase your fibre intake, is to increase your plant foods – there’s no need to eat salads all day – add tasty dips made from beans or lentils, make lentil stews and adding different WHOLE grains, fruit, vegetables, nuts and legumes to your diet.
I share many of my fave plant-based recipes that are surprisingly V high in fibre below:
Hydration and healthy drink options
Staying hydrated is so super important and yet we don’t often think about it as a major pillar of health – when in fact, it really is. Many of us do not drink nearly enough water. This time of year especially, including some healthy warm dinks may help with this.
Moreover, watching our CAFFEINE and SALT intake are also very important and definitely have an effect on our hydration.
Consuming coffee alternative, low salt foods, cooking using herbs and spices for flavor as opposed to using lots of salt in our cooking all contribute to better health and improved hydration.
Even VERY SLIGHT dehydration leads to:
Headaches, dry skin, muscle cramps, delayed muscle recovery, low blood pressure, feeling tired and even dizzy or faint.
Having herbal teas not only helps with improving our hydration levels PLUS the added benefits of the herbs and blends they contain. Also, it makes a nice change to water and having something warm, especially this time of year can be really comforting.
Another favorite of mine that just happens to be really healthy, can help with congestion, sore throat and the common cold is a combination of fresh ginger, lemon and a good quality honey – nothing beats this for me! I make it AT LEAST once a day – simply peel and chop some ginger in a mug, add boiling water, some fresh lemon and allow it to cool slightly, then add a bit of honey; as delicious as it is, try not to overdo it with the honey and stick to a 1/2 teaspoon per mug.
Snacking on healthy whole foods that are loaded with nutrients is one of the best things you can do – many of us don’t eat junk foods for lunch and dinner everyday; for most, it’s snacking of high sugar, highly processed, low nutrient foods that is the issue. Overeating and still being undernourished is sadly a common problem in the developed world today and snacking on highly processed, packaged snack foods is part of the problem.
While I do strongly believe that there is no such thing as a ‘bad food’, and we can enjoy any foods we enjoy in moderations, there are always healthier options that we should certainly consumer far more regularly than others.
Here are some easy ideas that you can try next time the 3pm cravings hit… also, they’re absolutely delicious and I PROMISE do not leave you feeling deprived or like you’re missing out on anything!
Nuts are a great snacking option, as are fruit and yoghurt bowls, egg cups, dips w veggie sticks or wholegrain / seed crackers, dates stuffed with nut butter and much more!
Check out these blog posts for even more healthy BUT DELICIOUS snacking options:
That’s it from me for today – I’ll be back with a new blog post Every Single Saturday 🙂
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Thank you for taking the time to be here and read this ❤
Until my next post, be well xXx