We’re heading to the end of January, and most of us will have let our New Year resolutions fall by the wayside already. Instead of feeling downcast and disappointed by letting good work go to waste, it can sometimes be easier to set ourselves small goals and tasks to perform, so that they are easier to stick to.
So, instead of setting a whole life goal, how about a week or a month of eating less processed food, less sugar, and more fruit and veg…. For me, I’m planning a 7 day healthy food challenge. And it is being a challenge. Over the last few months, I’ve been neck deep in caring duties and trying to earn money to pay my bills, so food and care for myself has fallen by the wayside.
This is what I plan to do:
Healthy whole foods are things like vegetables, fruits and whole grains, with proteins and fats allowed. What should be cut, is refined sugars, grains, any added sugar, preservatives and unhealthy fats. I try to cut salt out, but food just tastes so bland, so I’ll leave that challenge for another day. For now, it’s eat better, not add sugar, and be sensible.
We eat a lot of vegetables here anyway, but more couldn’t hurt. I wish I could like cauliflower and broccoli more, but I can’t seem to do it. I will cut the amount of white potatoes I use, and add in more sweet potatoes, and top that up with plenty soups filled with onion, carrot, tomatoes, sweetcorn, courgette, green beans and more. Vegetables are low in calories and nutritious, so we can eat more bulk, but I have to admit, I’d rather eat fruit, so eating vegetables as vegetables, rather than as soup, is a challenge for me, as vegies help reduce risk of heart disease and diabetes. f them can reduce your risk of diseases like heart disease and diabetes.
I am usually fairly good with fruit. It is generally higher in sugar than vegetables, but compared to processed food, there is no comparison. I tend to buy fruit, wash and freeze it, so I have fruit for fruit smoothies. I’ve got out of the habit of this recently, so it will be nice to get back into it. Fruit does contain fibre, which is good for our digestion, so as I won’t be eating any refined sugar, this is one way to get a sweet treat for the 7 days.
I’m not one for Quinoa or brown rice, and I can’t tolerate oats, barley or lentils well, so my options here are quite limited. I’ll simply aim to eat less of grains like rice and pasta, although thankfully, I do like whole grain bread, which I can eat in small quantities.
Not eating processed is likely to cut out a large percentage of bad fats. I’m one of those people who would rather have a little of real butter than a bigger portion of margarine or other spreads. Fat isn’t bad for us, but too much of it can be. Fat helps keep us full and adds flavour to full. We can also get fat from foods like Avocado, Olives, Peanut Butter and much more. For cooking, I tend to go to coconut and rapeseed, avoiding the more general vegetable oils.
Like fats, protein helps keep us full, and is needed for keeping our hair and skin healthy, as well as for muscle growth and preservation. Meat and fish count, as do high protein foods like Skyr, Quark and Cheese. For the lower fat versions, Skyr and Quark are great for cooking and snacking. Vegetarians can choose options such as Tofu, beans, nuts and eggs to supplement their protein intake.
I don’t drink much, so this isn’t an issue for me, but moving to an alcoholic and calorie free version might help some people who like a glass of vino or a tipple.