Healthy Living: Some Minor Food Swaps That Will Make a Difference
Today's post is from contributor - Natasha Gelder. Natasha is a full time Literature student based in Leeds who is juggling the quests for higher education, money and rock hard abs. She believes exercising is a vital part of a healthy, balanced lifestyle and should not be seen as a chore. You can find her blog here http://natashajadegelder.wordpress.com/
If you think that you live a pretty healthy lifestyle but seem to be gaining a few pounds that you can’t quite explain then why not try just a few minor alterations to your daily diet? This could be enough to enable you to lose inches off your waistline without even really trying; swapping a few of your everyday food staples for healthier options is enough to get you looking and feeling better in as little as a week.
If you are consuming a lot of alcohol then you are also consuming a lot of empty calories. Some people find excessive drinking causes them to bloat, particularly in their faces and stomachs; it also causes weight gain- there’s a reason for the term ‘beer belly’. If you cannot bring yourself to avoid alcohol completely then try to limit yourself to just a couple of units on a weekend and swap high calorie beverages such as lager, cider and some wines for a clear spirit, such as vodka or gin, and a low calorie mixer. If you are partial to drinking a glass of red wine on a Friday evening to help you unwind, then feel free to continue doing so; red wine is high in antioxidants and studies suggest that when drank in moderation it can contribute towards lowering the risk of heart disease.
Instead of drinking tea and coffee why not try to swap these for herbal varieties, ditching the caffeine will leave you hydrated, as will the water used in the herbal teas. If you find you are struggling to function without your daily dose of caffeine then why not try green tea, it contains enough caffeine to wake you up but is also scientifically proven to aid weight loss. If you have already replaced high sugar fizzy drinks with their diet counterparts then well done, you have managed to swap the sugar for the sweeteners which are equally as detrimental to your health. Try just drinking water, (not flavoured), or coconut water instead.
Instead of drinking fruit juices on a morning, why not just eat the fruit itself, this way you will absorb the nutrients and not just the sugars. Rather than choosing to eat low fat flavoured yogurts you could try low fat natural yogurt with berries or a banana chopped up and thrown in along with some seeds and chopped nuts. This makes a delicious and nutritious breakfast, dessert or snack. Why not swap from having whole milk on your cereal to semi- skimmed or even skimmed and switch from high sugar cereals to either wholegrain cereals or porridge. If you start your day right then you are more inclined to continue to eat healthily throughout the day.
Rather than spreading butter on your bread, which I hope is wholemeal, why not try using a thin layer of avocado, this will help to nourish your skin from the inside out and will provide you with a source of good fat that you need in order to be healthy. Swap white breads and pasta for wholemeal varieties- they are not expensive and will keep your blood sugar levels stabilised, meaning that you are unlikely to develop cravings later on in the day. Sweet potatoes are delicious and high in Vitamin B, making them a good alternative to normal potatoes. Why not try using quinoa in your cooking? It is high in protein, filling and can be used in just about everything.
Opt for foods that have been grilled or baked rather than fried. Buy tinned foods that have reduced salt and sugar content and try to stick to ice lollies rather than ice cream if you are craving a cold treat. These switches are only minor but they will make all the difference in terms of the size of your waistline.
Natasha Gelder, full time Literature student based in Leeds who is juggling the quests for higher education, money and rock hard abs. You can find her blog here http://natashajadegelder.wordpress.com/