January 23, 2015

Healthy Eating | My Top Tips

Photographs in this collage have been taken from my Instagram | Follow: @emmawiths

I am by no means a nutritional expert but I would describe myself as a fairly healthy person. Don't get me wrong, I do indulge myself more often than I care to admit but I would say I eat well for     80% of the time. I still live at home with my parents so it is a bit more difficult to eat as healthy as I want when my mum is trying to feed the entire family at the same time, I cant always be fussy. However, I love to cook new things and often find myself making recipes up as I go along. I wanted to write a post that outlined my top tips for healthy eating because I know it can be difficult for a lot of us, including myself. These are a few tips that I try and keep by as much as possible to ensure I make healthy choices.

1. Eat less, often
I find eating little and often works best for me. I feel so uncomfortable when I eat large meals so I would rather have a small sandwich rather than a huge bowl of pasta. Eating less and often keeps me ticking all day, instead of consuming one heavy meal and feeling lethargic and tired.

2. Portion Control
Do you really need that second helping? or that pasta left in the saucepan? no! Eat until near full, not till you can't move! I know everyone makes this mistake, but I was once told to drink a glass of water before my meal because then I will feel full for longer and not put more on my plate than I need which has turned out to be true. Also, if your struggling with portion size, buy yourself a smaller plate and just use that when you eat so you can keep track more easily.

3. Less alcohol
Before I went to university, I was happy with my weight, it was only until second year of uni I realised how much weight I had gained. I was confused because I ate healthily. I realised it was the huge consumption of alcohol every week that was doing me no good but even though I tried to cut down I often found it difficult to so I would change the types of drinks I consumed, change cider and wine for vodka (which has less calories), and instead of mixing them with red bull I would drink orange juice or diet lemonade. Little changes make a difference! Now that I have finished University, I rarely drink and I definitely think it has made me healthier and feel better in myself.

4. Cut down on processed food
This is exactly what it says, just cut down on those bad meals you already know are bad for you. Processed curries, chips etc. Why not attempt making your own home made curry with fresh veg, it will taste a lot nicer and is much better for you. 

5. Don't skip Breakfast
When I was younger I often skipped breakfast as I was more concerned with ensuring my hair was straight enough than making sure I made time to grab some sort of breakfast. I wouldn't eat anything from when I got up (7am) to nearly lunchtime in school which was 1pm and by that time I was starving. I would then find myself making bad food choices, eating my sandwiches and buying chocolate to fill me up because it was easily accessible. I have learnt my lesson over the years that I shouldn't skip breakfast as it just makes me want to eat tons throughout the day, the phrase is true 'Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!'. Very true!

6. Choose your Snacks Carefully
Snacking is definitely my downfall, but I know to avoid the chocolate (I'm lucky I don't have a sweet tooth anyway) so I often snack on fruit, cereal bars and yoghurt. I bought a Breville Blend Active juicer last year and found myself blending fruit and veg and drinking that as a sort of midday snack when I was feeling peckish.
Photographs in this collage have been taken from www.weheartit.com.

7. Moderation is Key
I think you are able to eat what you want, within reason, in moderation. Similar to the point, eat small and often. Don't over indulge but don't hold back from eating something you really want. That one slice of home made apple pie isn't going to make you gain 10 pounds, just keep it to a minimum.

8. Plan, Plan, Plan
If you can, try and plan your meals - what you're going to eat each day so you can keep track of what you're eating and you can even save money in the supermarket by not buying things you don't need for the sake of it. 

9. Preparation
During the summer especially I make sure fruit and salad is easily accessible. So when I am hungry I can grab fruit from the fridge or make a salad quickly ensuring healthy food is always on hand. I often cut up fruit and make a fruit salad and keep it in the fridge, such a refreshing snack when it is hot. I also cook chicken and keep that in the freezer so I can heat it up and pop it into salads easily. Preparing your food makes it easier for you to make healthier choices as your not tempted to eat unhealthily because that is quicker.

10. Indulge yourself...occasionally
Everyone has to indulge themselves a little at some point and have a 'cheat' day where you eat what you want. If you're eating healthily all the time it is nice to be able to have an unhealthy meal once in a while and treat yourself. As long as it is in moderation and your doing your exercise there should be no problem.

So there we go, a few tips on what I do or try to do to ensure I make healthier eating choices. Obviously this post has focused mainly on eating, so make sure you combine regular exercise with healthy eating and you should feel great!

Love, Emma x

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