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Healthy eating guidelines

Declutter your diet with these healthy eating guidelines

“…Make a few diet tweaks” says nutritionist Lowri Turner.

It’s a concept that we’re all familiar with when it comes to our homes, our wardrobes and even our make-up bags – the spring clean, the annual clear-out, the occasional mega sort through to find the stuff we don’t need – so why not apply this approach to your diet now and again?

Many of the clients I see have good core food plans. They may have a healthy porridge for breakfast, a salad for lunch and plenty of veggies for dinner. They’re working out regularly. So, how come they’re a size bigger than they want to be? The reason could be all the /other/ stuff they’re adding in round the edges, without even noticing: the on-the-way-to-work latte, the mid-morning packet of crisps, the afternoon-dip cereal bar or the Friday-night takeaway? These may seem like harmless little treats – and on their own, maybe they are – but they all add up to extra calories and extra inches that you may not want to carry.

So, instead of going on yet another new diet to shed the pounds, why not declutter your current diet? You could surprise yourself at just how much ‘bad’ stuff has crept in without you noticing. Eliminate it and you could be one step closer to the body you really want.

How to declutter your diet
Step 1
Keep a food diary. Fill in everything you eat and drink over a three-day period, making sure that at least one of these days a weekend day.

Step 2
Analyse the data. Work out where those extra calories are coming from and look for psychological and emotional triggers.

Step 3
Find alternatives. Substitute healthier options for the things that are piling up the calories and stock up on these instead.

Top 10 diet destroyers

1. High-cal coffees
On your way to work, it can be tempting to pick up a nice hot coffee to have at your desk. But, you could be cluttering up your diet with some serious extra calories. If you can’t live without your morning coffee, either choose wisely or wait until you’re in the office and make one there – it’ll be cheaper too!

Swap this:
Starbucks Frappuccino (331 cals)

For this:
Caffè Nero skimmed milk cappuccino (76 cals)

2. Breakfast cereals
A wholegrain cereal can be a good, low-GI way to start the day, as they’re filling and tend to be low in fat. However, some cereals – especially mueslis and instant porridges – can be surprisingly calorific.

Swap this:
70g Jordan’s Country Crisp (284 cals)

For this:
2 x Weetabix (142 cals)

3. Morning muffin
Muffins can be tempting mid-morning but they’re not going to help you slim down. If you are genuinely hungry mid-morning, build a snack into your daily routine so you’ll be less likely to be tempted to splurge on the morning coffee run.

Swap this:
Blueberry muffin (250 cals)

For this:
2 x Jaffa Cakes (92 cals)

4. Dips
Raw veggies are a great way to get your five-a-day, but you can swiftly wipe away those brownie points if you add high-fat dips. Houmous has an image as a fantastically healthy food and chickpeas are good in many ways – helpful for fibre and hormone balance for example – but shop-bought houmous can be loaded with fat.

Swap this:
Houmous (369 cals p/100g)

For this:
Guacamole dip (140 cals p/100g)

5. Flapjacks and cereal bars
Cereal bars are marketed as healthy because they contain wholegrains, but they often contain a lot of sugar too. And even though flapjacks are full of good-fo-you oats, they’re also full of butter/oil and syrup and sugar, making them high in calories.

Swap this:
3 x M&S Flapjack Mini Bites (210 cals)

For this:
Go Ahead Cereal Bar (almond, raisin and cranberry) 35g (117 cals)

6. Pasta salads
Scan the shelves of any supermarket lunch section and the salad section will be dominated by dishes that are actually 70 per cent pasta. These may seem healthy, but they can be very high in calories.

Swap this:
Tesco Tuna Layered Salad 350g (550 cals)

For this:
Pret A Manger No Bread Crayfish and Avocado Salad (182 cals)

7. Nuts
Nuts are really good for you – not only are they high in fibre and beneficial omega-6 fats, but they can also be a good source of trace minerals such as selenium. However, they are also very calorific so watch your portion sizes!

Swap this:
50g salted peanuts (311 cals)

For this:
50g salted popcorn (200 cals)

8. Dried fruit
Raisins, sultanas and prunes are full of fibre and iron, but they’re also packed full of fruit sugar. Many manufacturers also coat dried fruit with vegetable oil, so it doesn’t all clump together.

Swap this:
50g of sweetened dried cranberries (170 cals)

For this:
100g fresh blueberries (60 cals)

9. Takeaways
When we’re cooking at home, many of us make a point of not adding lots of cream and butter, but restaurant chefs aren’t so careful. They may add all sorts of high-calorie ingredients, which is why just one takeaway blow-out a week can destroy all that hard work the rest of the week.

Swap this:
Chicken korma and pilau rice (1,100 cals)

For this:
Chicken tikka with half a naan (380 cals)

10. Alcohol
Many women have a blind spot when it comes to drinking and don’t think about the extra calories they may be racking up when they go for an after-work drink or two.
This is not to say you can’t drink and still look great in your swimsuit this summer, just choose wisely.

Swap this:
Pint of strong lager (up to 300 cals)

For this:
Double vodka and slimline mixer (120 cals)

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