How To Clean Up A Dirty Diet

Claudia Wood

As the cold weather creeps back in, so does the diet that we try so hard to avoid over summer. Shorts are swapped for sweats, while salads are swapped for spaghetti as we stock up on warm, comfort food to try and survive through the chilly days and nights.

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Comfort food often starts out innocently, with a bit more pasta, and a bit more rice turning into comfort snacks like chocolate and chips during the day, and late night desserts in the evening. During winter, our previously clean diet can turn very, very dirty, but instead of waiting until the end to clean it up, why not feel and look great all year round?

If your diet has started to get a little off track lately, there are a few easy tips that you can follow to start to clean up those eating habits and kick that sluggish feeling through winter.

Make simple swaps

Start to swap back your unhealthy choices for those that will benefit your body. You can switch your morning latte for a peppermint tea to warm you up before work, and/or change your rice for quinoa. Try to add more protein instead of carbohydrates and if you’re feeling cold, try some minestrone soup for comfort instead of a creamy chicken pie.

Another great tip is to switch the chips for a salad if you’re having a night out, to limit the amount of fried foods you’ll be having.

Relax sometimes

Just because you eat healthy, it doesn’t mean you can’t have a treat once in a while. The recommended 80 per cent healthy, 20 per cent cheat meals, means that you can have a couple of treats a week. However, try to stick to one day of the weekend to treat yourself to create a habit of eating well for most of the week. It will give you something to look forward to.

Get it out of the house

Get rid of the snacks that are lurking in your cupboard for when you get home from work. And I don’t mean get rid of them by eating them, though it’s not like I haven’t made that mistake before! You really have to control yourself at this point. If you have the strength, put them in a special cupboard, only to be consumed on your cheat day. Alternatively, throw them in the trash and treat yourself by going out for dinner, rather than wasting your special meal on snacks.

Baby Steps

It’s all about taking baby steps to get back to being healthy. Small but significant changes, like removing take away from your diet, to then remove chocolates, chips and unhealthy snacks, can make a big difference.

Check labels

If there’s one thing that is good for you, it’s checking the labels of the foods that you’re going to buy. Instead of taking the benefit of the doubt and assuming that if the label says ‘healthy’, it means it is, check out the nutritional information for yourself. Keeping added sugars and saturated fats to a minimum is ideal for cleaning up your diet.

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