The Banting Eating Plan is a weight loss program adapted by William Harvey which ultimately relies on high fat, and low carbohydrates for optimum weight loss. This may seem a little startling if you’re coming from a balanced diet, but is used in a variety of modern weight loss programs including the popular Atkins diet.
The idea of banting refers to keeping a low-carbohydrate diet which focuses on consuming foods high in fat, and feeding your body what it deserves. A few main objectives include eating sugar in moderation, and cooking most of your main meals from scratch.
Which foods are allowed?
Banting encourages the consumption of high fat (avocado, eggs, olive oil, fatty fish), moderate protein (salmon, lentils, chicken), plus a variety of leafy green and crunchy vegetables which should be used as snacks to fuel the body.
Although this sounds relatively easy from a beginners point of view, most foods should be cooked from scratch so you know exactly what ingredients they contain.
Which foods are not encouraged?
Since this is a high fat, low carbohydrate diet, the consumption of grains don’t find any place within banting. If you’re finding it difficult to cut them out or go cold-turkey, switch to whole grains since they are a much healthier alternative.
Similarly, sugar (both natural and artificial), is also discouraged since it is viewed as an addiction. The same rule applies for fruit; rather than thinking of fruit as a healthy snack throughout the day, it is viewed as a sweet instead. Keep fruit to a minimum, and enjoy a crunchy vegetable as a substitute.
How does banting actually work?
The idea of banting seeks to eliminate unnecessary eating or snacking, and focuses on a clean diet which is made mostly from scratch. It is an entire lifestyle change which doesn’t encourage the consumption of processed foods, fruits, sugar and grains for a long and healthy life. Combined with regular exercise and physical activity, banting will get your body back on track without loading on the extra kilograms.
Are there any side effects?
Since sugar is not encouraged, many people usually feel tired, experience intense migraines, suffer from an upset stomach, and even have the symptoms of withdrawal decreases sugar levels. This is often referred to as the low-carb flu, and will only last a short period of time. To combat this, get involved in swimming, running, or yoga which will get your natural energy back.
Image via All For Women
Do you suffer from aches and stomach pains that just won’t go away? The culprit is likely to be in your diet and switching up a few of the usual suspects in favour of organic food is the best option.
FODMAP or (Permentable Oligosaccharies, Disaccharies, Monosaccharides and Polyols) are usually sugars which are found in almost all food groups, but are harder for people suffering from gluten allergy and gut disorders such as IBS to break down. They can lead to painful stomach cramps, bloating and nausea.
Dr Sue Shepard developed the FODMAP Diet in 1999 after conclusive researched indicated that a diet low in these sugars could actually help people suffering from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and other gut-related conditions.
Foods to avoid
Main sources of FODMAPs are usually found in fructose-rich fruits, dairy and even legumes.
- Fruits: apples, honey, pear, watermelon, avocado, cherries, plums.
- Vegetables: artichokes, garlic, leek, corn, mushrooms, beetroot, asparagus.
- Dairy: milk, ice cream, soft cheese, evaporated milk, custard, yoghurt.
- Legumes: beans, lentils, chickpeas.
Foods to eat
In terms of what you can eat, stick to gluten or lactose-free alternatives and see how they make your body feel. They are usually a safe option and will help your body digest food a lot easier. A few options include but are not limited to:
- Vegetables: baby spinach, roma tomatoes, book choy, capsicum, ginger, cucumber, green beans, lettuce, sweet potatoes and zucchini.
- Grains and starches: potatoes, quinoa, rice, buckwheat.
- Nuts: raw almonds, pistachios and cashews.
- Lactose: hard and ripened cheese.
- Fruits: bananas, grapes, mandarins, oranges, kiwi fruit, lemon, lime, pineapple, strawberries, rhubarb.
Would you try the FODMAP diet?
Image via RM Dietetics
I love walking into the tea aisle in the supermarket. It’s almost like the confectionary aisle for grown ups. It’s no longer just English breakfast and earl grey, tea has come such a long way over the last couple of years. It’s not just for pinky waving nannies anymore; tea is trendy.
A huge percentage of the population drink coffee, but tea is on the uprising, not just for the taste and flavours, but for the benefits to brings to the body. Teatoxes are a thing and Twinings now have more flavours of tea than Cadbury does of chocolate. It might be time to ditch the double shot soy caramel latte for a nice, hot cuppa tea to rejuvenate and relax.
Black tea contains a lot of caffeine, so it has similar benefits to coffee in relation to giving you alertness, fat burning and more, except that it also contains two types of antioxidants that have been linked to lower cholesterol levels. Drinking two or more cups of black tea per day has also been linked to lowering the risk of a stroke.
Green tea contains lots of antioxidants that may interfere with the growth of some types of cancer. Green tea also prevents clogging of the arteries, thus helping to reduce cholesterol levels and stroke and can also be a fat burner, so grab a cup!
No, this isn’t adding milk to your cup of English breakfast. White tea is given its name because of the soft, downy hairs on the buds. White tea is the highest in antioxidants and the lowest in caffeine. It’s also said that white tea has the highest cancer fighting properties.
Oolong tea has been found to lower levels of bad cholesterol, which is one of the great benefits of tea.
Chamomile tea has very soothing benefits and has also been shown to help stop side effects of diabetes like loss of vision and nerve damage. Chamomile is also said to stunt the growth of cancer cells.
Image via rivertea.com
It’s all too easy in winter, when it’s freezing cold and you’re craving comfort food, to carb-load for Australia. What’s more, it’s snuggle weather, cold and flu season, and you’re wearing a mountain of layers – eating light meals and stripping off and heading to the gym can seem like insurmountable tasks.
But is putting on winter weight in manner of a woolly mammoth inevitable, or can it actually be prevented? Highly regarded, qualified and practicing nutritionist and passionate foodie, Jessica Cox, 38, (pictured) says it’s the latter; winter doesn’t have to spell doom and gloom for our waistlines and/or our digestive health.
Jessica, who’s armed with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) and more than eight years of clinical experience, is also the founder and business owner of Brisbane’s Jessica Cox Nutritionist Clinic (JCNC). She treats all health conditions, but specialises in ongoing digestive issues and food intolerances.
Here, the nutritionist says instead of hibernating on the couch with a bowl of pasta bigger than your head, with a bit of nutritional planning, you can boost your energy and stay svelte in the colder months.
“As a nutritionist, it’s a big part of my job at this time of the year to ensure my clients are provided with the best nutritional tools to breeze through winter and bounce straight into spring,” Jessica says. “This primarily involves keeping daily food intake ‘on point’ regarding macronutrient balance, while ensuring that more heavier comfort foods do not become overly dominant on a day-to-day basis.”
So, fellow carb-lovers, I’m sorry to break it to you, but we’ve got work to do in cleaning up our diets this winter. For Jessica says learning to balance the meals we naturally crave in winter, such as stews, braises, mashes, pasta, rice, breads and polenta, is key to maintaining our weight.
“I don’t think you need to watch your calories more, from summer through to winter, it should relatively be the same if your exercising habits remain unchanged – it’s more about watching how you put together your meals,” she says. “So when it gets cooler, we start to crave those carb-dominant comfort foods. It’s not that carbs are bad, it’s just that our portions start to get a bit skewed in the cooler months.”
Jessica’s other top tip is to eat a nutrionally balanced diet during the day to help us fight those sweet cravings during the afternoon slump. “Go for a snack that’s going to have some sweetness, but combine it with protein, so a good option would be a handful of nuts, but add dried apricots to that too. Alternatively, have a square of 70-80 per cent cacao dark chocolate, but have it with a handful of nuts so it’s more filling and there’s more protein to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Sugar on its own gives you that little boost but drops you down again.”
And ladies, watch your comfort and/or emotional eating behaviours – which often go hand-in-hand – in winter, Jessica says. “In the cooler weather we want that more fuller filling to create warmth in the body – you can get addicted to that – again, it’s about teaching people that the more balanced intake you have during the day, you don’t get those cravings for such large, heavy meals as you won’t be as ravenous.”
A sweet-tooth tip I personally love, is Jessica’s advice to forsake a block of milk chocolate for a yummy, but healthier alternative such as a piece of 80 per cent cacao dark chocolate in a cup, melted with some boiling water, topped with frothy milk. Yum!
And the nutritionist says alcohol is another top healthy diet-killer; she advises alcohol-free days from Monday-Thursday, then ideally only one-to-two drinks on the remaining days. “If someone wants to lose weight, wine consumption most nights can be a real issue; your body will use alcohol as a preferential fuel to burn and it’s more inclined to store your meal as excess.”
Jessica’s top 10 tips on how to avoid winter weight gain:
- Start your day right: Ensure your breakfast and lunches contain a combination of your macronutrients, this being carbohydrates, protein and fats. This will provide you with long lasting satiety and reduce cravings for sugar between meals. An example of this would be a brown rice, veggie, chicken and cashew stir fry, or a toasted rye wrap with avocado, spinach, grated beetroot and smoked salmon.
- Don’t skip breakfast: Eating breakfast really does amp up your metabolism for the day. When it’s chilly it can be tempting to spend a few more minutes (or ten) under the blankets, causing you to be late and run out the door without breakfast. A good rule of thumb is to eat your breakfast within half an hour of waking.
- Snack regularly: Include a morning and afternoon snack with protein to keep your metabolism charging along and to avoid energy slumps (leading to chocolate cravings in the afternoon). A good tip is to include some sweetness with your protein snack, like a handful of pistachios with some raisons or a few dried apricots.
- Watch the carbs: Keep your complex carbohydrate (or grain) portion of your main meals to just roughly one-third of your meal. For example, if you have the above stir-fry, ensure only one-third of the meal is brown rice.
- Smash the veggies: Aim to make half of your meal vegetables. These vegetables could be roasted, stir-fried, braised and stewed.
- Watch your portions: When it’s cold, we often want to eat more for that ‘full’ feeling. Overeating is one of the most common bad habits we have which leads to weight gain, especially through winter. Eat till you are comfortable, not bursting full.
- Don’t overeat: Wait 20 minutes before going back for seconds. Nine times out of 10, you will not want it and that craving will have passed.
- Turn up the heat: Include warming and metabolism-boosting ingredients in your meals such as chilli, cayenne pepper and ginger, along with drinking green tea.
- Get fresh, baby: Keep some fresh, lively food in your diet with all those cooked vegetables. Add a handful of baby spinach or rocket to a braise as you serve, or a generous handful of herbs. This will keep your digestive tract filled with a variety of fibre sources, and in turn keep your transit time (stool movements) on track. A healthy digestive tract always results in a healthier metabolism!
- Get expert help: Unsure about what’s right for your body and your needs, especially with exercise involved? See a nutritionist: an expert can help you gain critical education to enable you to achieve your personal health and weight-loss goals.
Images via Womens Health, Get Your Fit Together, Paleo Recipes
Ladies, there’s someone new and exciting I’d like you to meet: Australia’s latest superfood, psyllium.
Psyllium (pictured) is a 100 per cent natural source of fibre and can be added to recipes, smoothies or cereal without altering the taste of the dish. You can also get pure, natural psyllium husk from supplements such as Metamucil.
What’s more, we should all be getting more fibre in our diets, especially if we’re trying to shed a few kilos. Why? A recent US study found a higher daily intake of fibre will help us lose weight nearly as much as following a low-calorie diet.
Trial participants who ensured they got the recommended 30g of fibre daily, as part of their normal diet, saw their overall health improve through weight-loss and lower blood pressure and blood sugar levels.
Here, popular and well-regarded Sydney dietitian, nutritionist, author and busy mum, Dr Joanna McMillan (pictured), shares her top knowledge on fibre and easy ways to incorporate more into our diets.
And Dr Joanna should know; she’s vice president of the Australian Lifestyle Medicine Association (ALMA) and is an ambassador for Diabetes Australia and Australian Pineapples.
What is psyllium? Psyllium comes from the outer husk of the seed of a particular plant. It’s an incredible source of fibre and soluble fibre in particular. It’s also gluten-free so ideal for those unable to get fibre from common wholegrains.
What are its health benefits? Soluble fibre absorbs water and forms a gel in the gut. This helps you to feel full and eat less; it stimulates your gut to contract thereby keeping you regular; it slows the digestion and absorption of the carbohydrates present; it helps to lower cholesterol levels; it fuels the gut microbiome (the good bugs in your gut) and it helps to bind and carry out of the body potential carcinogens and other toxins.
Why is psyllium not well-known? Most people have probably heard of the brand Metamucil, but not realised that psyllium is the active ingredient. You can also buy psyllium husks in health and whole food stores, but because it hasn’t been talked about in mainstream media, most people won’t have known what it was useful for.
What is the best way to consume psyllium? You can simply dissolve it in water and drink, or add it to smoothies, yoghurt, pancake or muffin mixes. You can also even stir it through mashed potato.
Why is fibre important? It’s important primarily for gut health – keeping us regular, feeding the good bacteria in our gut (which in turn boosts immune function) and helping to prevent gut problems. But it also helps with blood glucose and insulin control as well as promoting healthy cholesterol profiles.
What health problems can you encounter without a fibre-rich diet? Principally, poor gut health, but this has a knock-on effect on the rest of the body. If your gut is sluggish and you feel bloated, it affects your energy levels and your motivation to exercise and eat well.
How can fibre, and psyllium, help you lose weight? Fibre-rich meals help to fill us up and feel sated after the meal. This can help to stop you raiding the biscuit tin in-between meals. By lowering blood glucose and insulin, fibre can also potentially boost fat burning and keep your hunger pangs at bay.
Why is psyllium husk the next superfood? Psyllium has so many health benefits and it’s so easy to incorporate into your diet. It has the potential to assist with blood glucose control, reduce constipation, reduce blood levels of “bad” LDL-cholesterol, lower blood pressure and may help in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome and inflammatory bowel disease. It can also help you to lose weight by making you feel fuller for longer.
Are you lacking in energy, after juggling work/kids/home-life/personal commitments? Does your life feel like a marathon, from start to finish, each day?
If you answered yes, and you’re struggling to achieve a home/life balance, as I am, then it might be high time you looked at fine-tuning your diet. Never fear, help is at hand dear readers, thanks to well-regarded qualified, practicing nutritionist and passionate foodie, Jessica Cox (pictured).
Jessica is armed with a Bachelor of Health Science (Nutrition) and more than eight years of clinical experience. She is also the founder and business owner of the successful Jessica Cox Nutritionist Clinic (JCNC), based in Brisbane. She treats all health conditions, but specialises in ongoing digestive issues and food intolerances. And here, Jessica reveals her top tips on how we can all lead a healthier, more energised and balanced life.
Q: What are the easiest and best ways women can boost their energy?
The best possible way to boost your energy is to eat regular meals throughout the day which contain a balance of your macronutrients: this being carbohydrates, protein and fats. Most importantly, starting the day with a breakfast within the first 30 minutes of rising is ideal. If this is not possible, then grab a small snack (such as a banana) to see you through to your breakfast meal, in an hour’s time at the latest.
When you start the day with a well-balanced breakfast, it ensures that your blood-sugar levels remain stable instead of dropping quite low from the get-go. By following this breakfast with regular meals and snacks through your day, you continue to keep your blood-sugar levels stable and your cells sufficiently fuelled to keep you energised.
An example of a balanced meal for breakfast would be a piece of rye toast or a sweet potato rosti (starchy, slow release carbs), plus some baby spinach (non-starchy carbs full of nutrients, though not enough slow release energy on its own), a poached egg or some smoked salmon (protein and a little fat) and some avocado (more fats).
A sweet version may be oats (starchy, slow-release carbs) plus some chia seeds, almond meal and nut butter (protein and fats) and some fresh strawberries to top (non-starchy carbs full of nutrients, though not enough slow release energy on its own). If you would like more of a breakdown of what carbohydrates, protein and fat foods are you can check out my f.a.q section on my website.
What are the top 10, best energy-boosting foods and why?
Fundamentally, the best way to boost your energy is by adhering to the above. You can eat foods rich in B vitamins and magnesium to fuel your energy levels, yet if they are not combined with enough protein or quality fats to keep you going you will still end up feeling tired. That being said, some foods quite nutrient-dense that will facilitate quality energy levels when combined with a balanced diet are:
- Brazil nuts: Rich in selenium and an important nutrient for thyroid health.
- Pumpkin seeds: Rich in the mineral zinc which is vital for hundreds of enzyme functions within the body.
- Sardines: The fishy food everyone hates! Sardines are a powerhouse of essential fatty acids, protein, calcium and zinc. Try them in my artichoke and lemon sardine smash recipe, on my website!
- Oats: These contain slow-release carbohydrates which keep us going for hours, while being a plentiful supply of B vitamins, magnesium and zinc.
- Barley: Similar to oats, Barley is ideal coming into the colder weather and can be added to soups and stews. It contains plant-based iron for supporting red blood cells along with selenium.
- Red meat: Many of us are too afraid of red meat! Good-quality red meat is an abundant source of B12, Iron and B vitamins integral for red blood cell development.
- Avocado: Packed with B5 for supporting your adrenal glands and also plenty of quality fats for keeping your cell membranes healthy, avocados are a great superfood.
- Rainbow trout: Similar to salmon, trout is quite rich in omega fats, which helps keep your brain firing on all cylinders, while also being an abundant source of protein and B12.
- Sprouts: Think alfalfa, mung beans and broccoli sprouts; these little guys are jam-packed with nutrients and are an easy addition to any salad. They are also fantastic on top of peanut butter on toast!
- Tahini: What’s not to like about it? Filled with essential fats, protein and loads of calcium, this favourite spread of mine will nurture your nervous system and add a punch of creamy flavour to everything.
Bonus food – Eggs: Nature’s gift of perfection (unless you are intolerant, of course). Eggs are packed with lecithin to help support your nervous system and plenty of protein to keep you charged.
What do you think about restrictive diets? What diet is best for optimum health and energy?
Anyone who follows me on Instagram or Facebook knows I am 100 per cent against restrictive diets, inclusive of fad diets, no matter how healthy they appear on the surface. Any restrictive diet leads to an imbalance of macronutrient intake and often results in “falling off the wagon” as a result; people usually give in to their cravings for carbs, in most cases.
Even more worrying is the destructive food relationship that goes hand-in-hand with restrictive diets. They create anxiety and fear around food and a very unhealthy relationship with eating in general. Restrictive diets can also damage our metabolism and make it even harder to shift weight as we age.
Regular, balanced eating with meals containing your macronutrientsis, by far, the best diet for optimal health and energy. A very general rule of thumb (and please keep in mind that this changes depending on your personal needs) is to fill half your plate with fresh vegetables, 1/3 with protein, the other 1/3 with a complex carbohydrate and then add a few tablespoons of a fat (Try 1/4 avocado, or some lovely oil and/or some nuts and seeds). Then, make sure your morning tea and afternoon tea snacks have some protein within them, such as some nuts and seeds (or nut/seed butters), or cheese, yoghurt or even some fish or an egg.
Images via Pixabay
We all know the type: the super-thin girl who refuses to ever eat cake, pasta, and/or bread and who never raises a glass of alcohol to her lips.
This same poor lass will rigidly order the same salad for lunch and exercise for more than two hours daily, obsessively watching her weight and food intake.
This clean eating obsession, or orthorexia, is a proposed, new eating disorder that’s increasingly common in young women and teenage girls, says leading Sydney dietitian, nutritionist and author Susie Burrell (pictured). Yet, it’s still not medically recognised as a bona fide eating disorder, Susie says.
“The classification for clinical disorders is clearly defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM IV) – the official manual used by the American Psychiatric Association to classify psychological disorders, but as for any scientific definitions, there are outliers, and this is the case with this increasingly commonly seen condition – orthorexia,” she says.
Sufferers are so obsessed with clean eating they will only consume foods which are “pure” and “healthy”, and subsequently favour extremely low-calorie, unprocessed foods, which in turn kept their body weight extremely low. And while they are not malnourished, young girls and women with orthorexia customarily suffer from anxiety, low moods and depression.
So, is there a cure? Orthorexia sufferers need a more balanced and nutritious diet, plus good therapy to help them to identify and manage their emotions, rather than using food and exercise as an escape from them, Susie says.
And Christine Morgan, CEO of the Butterfly Foundation and national director of The National Eating Disorders Collaboration (NEDC) concurs. “Orthorexia is a recognised illness and is being treated by eating disorders specialists in Australia,” Christine says. “However, it is not as yet officially recognised as a specific eating disorder.
“Anyone who obsessively manages the consumption of whole food groups is at risk of nutritional deprivation.” So, when does healthy eating go too far?
Top Warning Signs Of Orthorexia
- You skip social occasions for fear of having to eat food you have not prepared.
- Your skin is dull and your hair is falling out.
- You have lost your period.
- You feel constantly tired.
- You have been experiencing recurrent injuries.
- You will only eat a very limited range of foods, like fruit and vegetables, and are inordinately obsessed with these foods.
- You never eat cake or enjoy an alcoholic drink.
- You exercise for more than two hours a day.
- People are constantly commenting that you look too thin.
- You are still not happy with your body no matter what you eat or how much you exercise.
- You feel guilty when not following strict rules about meals and, conversely, virtuous when eating “correctly”.
- You experience social isolation in group-dining settings.
- You avoid situations that might involve “processed” foods.
If you need help and support, phone the Butterfly Foundation National Supportline on 1800 ED HOPE (1800 33 4673) or visit their website.
Images via panosplatritis.com, healthology.com.au, howcast.com
They say you are what you eat, so give your skin the extra help it needs by investing in delicious fruits and vegetables to make it shine from the inside out. Clueless about where to begin? Our easy guide below mentions a few options which should be in your shopping cart each week.
While we’re all aware that oranges are packed with vitamin C, did you actually know they are also a great source of natural collagen? Squeeze 2-3 oranges every morning and use them as a daily scrub to nourish the skin.
Although it might not be to your liking, spinach is another vegetable which is also packed with vitamin C. Enjoy it with your eggs, in a salad, or even in a green smoothie.
Ranked as one of the number one source of antioxidants in berries, these delicious little fruits will keep your hair, skin, and nails looking healthy.
Did you know that the secret anti-ageing properties of tomatoes are better absorbed when a dish is cooked rather than raw? Keep the pantry full of canned tomatoes and use them in your fresh and healthy pasta sauce!
Since kiwi fruit is packed with vitamin C and antioxidants, you know it has to be good for you! One kiwi fruit a day is enough to keep your wrinkles away, and prevent anti-ageing.
The mention of kale might be a touchy subject for some, but you can’t deny that it’s great for clear skin. Boasting a plethora of vitamins (A, B, C, E, K from memory), no wonder it’s good for your skin!
On to something a little sweeter, cherries have high levels of polyphenols which actually help to clear simple blemishes.
Did you know that figs are packed with fibre and potassium, which clears any skin issues and helps to detox the body from the inside out? Well now you do.
While this superfood is usually used as a main ingredient for detoxing, it also has significant benefits for fighting against skin damage and premature ageing. Add a few slices into your daily juice for that extra healthy kick each morning.
Image via Redbook Magazine
It’s been one party of a silly season and a really festive summer. Between the late night cocktails with your gal pals and the continuous weekend dining that has carried over from Christmas and the New Year, not to mention the Valentine’s Day chocolates and the Easter eggs that have been sneaking into your shopping trolley, the weight is finally starting to catch up with you and no matter how hard you try to keep exercising, it just doesn’t seem to work.
We’ve all heard the saying, ‘you can’t outrun a bad diet’ and to a certain point it is true. It’s very hard to maintain a great bod solely with exercise when your eating isn’t exactly healthy. Many women start diets by trying to eat healthy, without doing much research into what they’re actually eating, thinking that it will help them lose weight. Other women go into diets thinking that restricting calories and eating the lowest calories options will make them skinny.
There is a problem with both of these options. By not doing research into what you’re eating, you risk eating sneaky sugars and fats that creep into ‘healthy’ options to make them taste appetising. By restricting your calorie intake too much and essentially starving yourself, not only are you going to put the weight back on when you start eating more again, but you’re losing essential nutrients that your body needs to be healthy.
There are so many options that you can eat during the day that are full of nutrients, are healthy and taste delicious! By simply swapping some food choices, you can eat healthy, get the nutrients you need, feel full and feel great!
Nutritionist, Vitasoy ambassador and chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin of Channel Ten’s ‘Good Chef Bad Chef’ (she’s obvs the good one), says: “Nutrients are important for growth and development, and are vital especially when you’re trying to look and feel good. It’s about balance and being clever with sourcing your nutrients.”
“Motivation to look and feel good is top of mind early in the year, as we assess our health and eating goals for the year ahead. Elimination diets are very popular at the moment, but does following these eating plans mean you’re missing out on important nutrients?” she asks.
Let’s have a look at Zoe’s Top 5 food swaps to maximise the nutrients your body is receiving and help you look and feel your best.
Swap meat protein for plant-based protein. Flexitarianism, or part-time vegetarianism, is a favourite amongst Australians, meaning many are giving up meat throughout the week. But it’s important to keep your protein and iron levels in check, as these help with tissue building and repair, immune system health and oxygen supply for your blood and brain.
Long gone is the stigma that protein and iron is only found in meat; a huge range of protein sources exist. One of these, and one of my favourites, is soy, legumes, and the many derivatives and exciting recipes that can be created using them. One of my favourite recipes is for Chickpea and Sweet Potato Burgers. Made from chickpeas (a plant-based protein) and using Vitasoy Soy Milky Lite (that contains 15% of your RDI of protein per serve), these burgers are real crowd pleasers.
Look beyond sugar and at the bigger picture. Sugar is such a hot-topic at the moment, and the question is do we really need to give it up? It is important that we monitor the amount of added sugar in our diets. We can do this by checking the ingredients list on the foods we eat. Foods that feature ingredients like sugar, cane sugar, honey, brown rice syrup and fruit juice concentrate near the top of the list are foods I’d recommend eating in moderation.
Sugar is a very complicated and complex area with many conflicting opinions. I’d recommend looking beyond sugar to the whole picture, with a focus on nutrient-dense foods. For example, although fruit may contain natural sugars like glucose and fructose, fruit provides us with a range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and plant antioxidants, that can also be beneficial for good health.
Swap High GI foods for Low GI foods. We need carbs in our diet, despite many recent misconceptions. I recommend that complex, unprocessed carbohydrates are a staple in everyone’s diet as they are your body’s main source of fuel and are vital for the function of your kidney’s brain, muscles and heart.
Try swapping High GI carbohydrates for Low GI carbohydrates. These are foods with a glycaemic index of 55 or less that help keep your body energised throughout the day. Low GI foods include soy products, beans, milk, pasta, grainy bread, quinoa, porridge and lentils. A breakfast favourite in my household is the Soft Quinoa Hashbrowns – offering us carbs AND protein (also in quinoa).
Swap cow’s milk for calcium-fortified plant milk. Veganism is another highly popular diet, made famous by celebrities such as Beyonce and Jennifer Lopez. Key to the diet is cutting out dairy, but how do you keep up your calcium intake?
Today, we can find a huge range of plant milks on supermarket shelves, many of them calcium-fortified. Plus, plant milks like soymilk contain a powerhouse of nutritious benefits; Vitasoy Soymilk contains the goodness of calcium and protein, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. I love the taste of soymilk as it’s so nutty and creamy, and it’s one of my favourite plant milks to cook with. Plus, there’s no harm in having both cow and plant milks in your fridge! Look out for brands like Vitasoy, that provide high quality, vegan friendly soymilks, that are non-genetically modified, made from whole soybeans and with no artificial colours or preservatives.
5. Fats and oils
Swap bad fats for good fats. Many Australians have also recently been shying away from fat, with low fat diets widely considered the answer to losing weight. But, our diet actually needs good fats to protect our hearts and support our overall health. If assessing your eating goals, try swapping bad fats for good fats. Trans fat falls under the “bad fats” umbrella, while monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are the “good fats”. For example, try swapping margarine for avocado on your toast in the morning. And check this article out for a reminder for what oils you should be using in the kitchen.
We all want to look and feel our best, but next time you’re assessing your eating goals, consider how you can keep your nutrition in check through simple food swaps. Consider where you might be able find nutrients and experiment in the kitchen – you never know what you might discover.
Image via Kidney Buzz
With a new year, come a bunch of resolutions which will probably never see the light of day. If your resolution is to lose weight and keep fit, don’t let it fall through the cracks for another year.
Toning your body and losing a few extra kilograms certainly won’t happen overnight, but it will be worth it in the long term. Just think of how far you could come in a year from now? Incorporate a few of our tips into your daily routine, to create a happy, healthy life in the future.
You can still enjoy the occasional homemade pizza without compromising the delicious carb-filled taste. Substitute a few ingredients fatty ingredients for a healthier alternative, and your meal will taste better (and guilt-free!). This could mean anything from creating a low-calorie base made from cauliflower, to removing the cheese in favour for more crunchy vegetables. The choice is always yours!
Even if you don’t have the time to go to the gym, it is really important to get up and walk around. Instead of driving, catching the bus, or even grabbing a lift with a friend, walk to your next destination (of course if it is close enough). This could make a great impact, and think of all the money you could save on tickets.
Don’t buy junk food
Out of sight, out of mind really applies to some of us who love to pig-out on a regular basis. If the food isn’t in the house, then the craving pretty much goes away. This won’t always be the case, since you might find yourself driving to the closest supermarket for that block of chocolate, but it is definitely a start!
Keep a few bags of frozen fruit and vegetables in the freezer as a back-up meal. This way, you always have something in the fridge which can last for months on end before it expires. You can create smoothies, juices, and even delicious soups from almost anything in the fridge.
Processed foods are packed with extra ingredients which could be adding a few centimetres to your waistline. Where possible, eat homemade food as much as you can, and cook from scratch. Making your own tomato sauce instead of buying a pre-made jar could save you from so many hidden calories.
Alcohol that is! Many women don’t often think about the invisible calories which almost all alcohol contains. Rather than choosing a vodka-lime-and-soda as a ‘healthier’ alternative, it’s better to just stick to a refreshing glass of water. You will thank us the morning after!
What are some of your tips to live healthier in 2015?
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Ever wanted to create a stable eating plan which gives you a smoking-hot body, where you can have your cake and eat it too?
If It Fits Your Macros or (IIFYM) is simply just a diet which is altered to your body (and your body only). The entire eating plan is structured around macronutrients which are mostly proteins, carbohydrates, and fats which each play a role in a balanced, healthy diet.
What does it mean?
IIFYM is a diet which is tailored to you and your lifestyle – this is not a one size fits all approach. Rather than a strict ‘clean eating’ regime, the idea of IIFYM is fairly straightforward, and won’t have you starving between meals. You can essentially eat whatever you like, as long as it contains protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
How can I lose weight this way?
Most diets teach you that it’s all about portion control, rather than sticking to a strict eating plan in the first place. If you fulfil your daily requirements of protein, carbohydrates, and fats, your body will be able to feel nourished regardless of what you eat afterwards. It’s all about finding a happy medium, and making sure that there is a balance of good meals such as chicken and veggies, but also something else which you can indulge in every now and then during the week.
Does this mean I have to count calories?
Not exactly. Only you will be able to understand whether you body feels nourished, but this doesn’t really mean you should stick to a strict calorie intake per-day. Balance out your meals by choosing a healthier alternative which won’t make your body feel bloated and sick afterwards. If you want to indulge in a burger and fries, choose a bun-less burger, or simply one with lettuce instead of white bread.
What will an average day look like?
A classic IIFYM eating plan can vary for each individual, but it’s important to keep your body nourished by eating lots of protein for your main meals. Chicken breast, eggs, Greek yoghurt, beef, salmon, and broccoli are all examples of what you can expect in this diet.
As with any other diet or eating plan, it’s more about exploring what is beneficial for your body, rather than sticking to a strict ‘raw food’ regime. Make sure to stay fit and exercise weekly, give your body a break when it needs it, and you will watch the kilograms drop off within just a few months.
Image via Dessert For Two
Would you try an eating plan which only last 2 weeks, and is designed to make you feel happy all the time? The S Factor Diet takes hormones into consideration to make your body feel it’s best, rather than depleting the body of serotonin – which often leads to mood swings and binge eating.
How does it work?
The S Factor Diet is specially created by Lowri Turner to balance your hormones, and include foods which will have your mind and body feeling satisfied, not starved. In the early stages, you have to participate in a short questionnaire which determines the types of hormones that are causing your body to gain all the extra weight. It’s main objective is to prove that some hormones could actually be the cause of all your cravings!
How long does it last?
A 14-day food plan is all the time you need to get your diet back on track, and eliminate food and drinks which are causing your body to pack on the kilograms. Even though it may seem like a short period of time, there are many tips and tricks you can incorporate into your lifestyle after the diet is over.
What can I eat?
The diet is split into two stages which focus firstly on fat consumption, and then on achieving a consistent weight loss. This basically means that you’ll be eating approximately 1000-1600 calories a day between both phases.
An average day consists three main meals which are mostly high in protein, and will help to maximise your weight loss. Eggs, fish, and vegetables are all important parts of the S Factor Diet, since they control cravings, and leave you feeling full and content for longer.
What can’t I eat?
On the 14 day eating plan, it is advised that you avoid processed sugar, dairy products, and to an extent, foods which contain gluten.
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As one of the most popular diets over the last decade, the Macrobiotic diet is a regimen which focuses on grains and vegetables as a healthy way to maintain your weight. Praised by celebrity fans such as Madonna and Gwyneth Paltrow, it’s great for coeliacs, raw-food lovers, and can even be dairy-free.
How does it work?
The Macrobiotic diet aims to eradicate all types of preservatives or fatty foods out of your diet – you won’t find any cheat-meals here. Rather than thinking of it as a strict diet, it’s actually an entire lifestyle change which relies on clean, wholesome eating and regular exercise to keep healthy for a prolonged period of time.
What can you eat?
An average meal will consist of grains and vegetables which will actually sustain the body longer than processed foods and animal meat. If you’re worried about the over-consumption of grains, there’s no reason to be. The Macrobiotic Diet encourages the consumption of many foods which have a very low glycemic index (GI) and are high in fibre (to keep your body feeling regular and bloat-free).
Stick to wholemeal grains such as brown rice and bread which are low in calories, and easier to break down in the body.
Is it a strict diet?
The diet does take a lot more effort and it does require more commitment as a complete lifestyle change. If your current diet involves a lot of processed food and animal products, you will find the Macrobiotic Diet somewhat of a shock in the initial stages. The key is to start slow, and your body won’t be craving any of the fatty foods from before.
Ease into the diet by incorporating some simple grains such as brown rice and beans into your main meals, before completely changing the way you eat.
Would you try the Macrobiotic Diet?
Image via Best Macrobiotic Diet
Perhaps you’ve seldom heard of intermittent fasting, and cringed at the very idea of denying your body vitamins and nutrients all for the sake of losing weight. Intermittent fasting actually has a variety of health benefits, and won’t have you feeling famished at the end of the day.
If you have ever wanted to try this for yourself, below you will find a quick guide on how intermittent fasting actually works, and why it’s more than just another fad-diet.
What is intermittent fasting?
Intermittent fasting isn’t described as a diet, it’s actually more of a long-term eating pattern which helps to regulate problems such as diabetes, chronic indigestion and even stomach disorders. Quite often, the scary part of this eating plan is the word ‘fasting’ since it makes people think that a significant weight loss means that you’re required to starve yourself – which is far from the truth.
The eating patterns rely on small on and off periods (feasting and fasting) which have been instilled to actually boost your metabolism, and control bad eating habits. Designed by author and journalist Dr. Michael Mosley, the eating plan which also operates under the name of the 5:2 diet, is a good fit for people who have suffered years of over-eating, and want to create a structure in terms of food consumption.
How does it work?
Based on cycles of feast and famine, intermittent fasting actually helps to control urges of snacking since your body is properly nourished at almost every time of the day. The period of feast is designed to make you appreciate healthy, wholesome food, and thus will diminish any chances of binge eating. If you’re constantly snacking throughout the entire day, your body forgets to stop and repair, which can often create chaos and frantic eating around 3:30pm, where the body typically craves something sweet.
Calorie restriction helps to create a balanced diet, and is a much more appealing strategy than starving yourself for that perfect summer body. This basically means you can feast some days, but on others you should stick to a diet which is healthy, preferably home-cooked, and preservative free.
Creator Dr. Michael Mosley suggest that you can eat normally for five days, but stick to a healthy diet for two (these can be any days of the week). On these fasting days, cut your food down to 1/4 of your normal calories which normally means around 600 calories for men, and around 500 calories for women.
Would you incorporate the foundation of intermittent fasting into your diet?
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We all know that healthy eating should be part of our lifestyle, but what happens when our habits becoming obsessively unhealthy? That’s where the term orthorexia nervosa comes in, a term that literally means “fixation on righteous eating”. People who suffer from orthorexia become fixated on food quality and purity as well as how much they eat. Eventually their diet becomes so restrictive that their obsession becomes detrimental to their health as well the relationships with those close to them.
People who have orthorexia normally start out simply wanting to eat healthier but it then turns into an extreme diet where they’ll avoid any food that has been processed and eat only untouched, whole or organic food. Sometimes this can lead to malnourishment because vital nutrients are being eliminated from the diet.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with following a healthy diet but when you feel guilt or self-loathing if you haven’t stuck to your diet, if thinking about food is taking up far too much of your time or if your diet has left you isolated and alone then there are serious concerns.
Some common behaviour changes that could be a sign of orthorexia nervosa include:
- An obsessive concern over the link between food choices and health concerns
- An increased consumption of supplements or herbal remedies
- The sufferer may consume less than ten different foods
- An obsessive concern over food preparation technique, including the sterilization of utensils
- The sufferer may avoid an increasing number of foods due to food allergies
Symptoms of orthorexia nervosa include:
- Feelings of guilt when you deviate from a strict diet
- Feelings of satisfaction or fulfilment from eating healthy
- Avoiding foods that have been prepared by other people
- Thinking about food all the time and always planning meals in advance
- Avoiding dining out for fear of deviating from the diet
- Depression and mood swings
And some common effects of orthorexia include:
- Becoming socially isolated
- Anxiety and panic attacks
- Extreme weight loss
- Cardiac complications
Orthorexia symptoms are serious and can have long-term effects on your health and physical body, so should not be swept under the rug. As with any other eating disorder, orthorexia needs treatment so if you think you or someone you know may be suffering from this condition talk to someone about it, preferably a professional such as a GP or psychiatrist.
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Tried and failed to create pancakes which are healthy, filling and tasty? This recipe is for the ultimate pancake-lovers since they are dairy-free and are perfect to indulge on your cheat day. Perfect for vegans, picky children, or those who suffer from allergies to dairy or wheat products.
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp white sugar
2 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1.5 cups soy or almond milk
3 tbsp canola oil
1/2 cup diary free chocolate chips
Maple syrup, powdered sugar for serving
- Combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt into a large mixing bowl until well combined.
- In a slightly smaller mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, soy milk and canola oil until they are well combined. Now add the previous mixture and stir well before adding the chocolate chips.
- Grease a large skillet and pour in the mixture evenly across the tray. Cook until bubbles appear on the surface of the pancakes, then flip them until they are golden brown.
- Serve with maple syrup, powdered sugar or fruit.
Image and Recipe via About, Milking Almonds
We’re often warned by our friends, family and the local general practitioner about the types of foods we should avoid to maintain good health. These foods are usually linked to weight gain and could potentially destroy your body before you know it. Remember to enjoy healthy foods in moderation, and keep sweets and sugary snacks to a minimum.
1. White bread
Once upon a time white bread was a staple in not only lunch-boxes but also in the pantry. But did you know it has little nutritional value for your body and keeping healthy? One of the biggest problems about white bread (apart from being so tasty), is that it includes a tremendous amount of sugar. If you love the texture of white bread but don’t want to harm your health in the long-run, opt for wholemeal which is a healthier and lighter option.
2. Processed meat
Processed meats such as hot dogs contain a bunch of preservatives which your body doesn’t need. Eating this sort of food on a regular basis could lead to heart disease, high cholesterol and even type-2 diabetes if you’re not careful. If you’re still craving food with added protein to keep fuller for longer, look for tuna, yoghurt or eggs which are a healthier alternative when eaten in moderation.
3. Soft drinks
This is probably the most obvious of the entire bunch, but soft drinks contain high amounts of sugar that could jeopardise a healthy body. Linked to both childhood (also adult) obesity and type-2 diabetes, the consumption of soft drinks, processed fruit juices and energy drinks should be kept to a minimum.
Created hundreds of years ago as a substitute to butter, margarine is now made from vegetable-oil which can be used for a variety of dishes or desserts. Unfortunately margarine contains trans fats which increase the risk of heart disease by increasing the bad cholesterol found in blood.
5. Frozen food
Although they are convenient to pop into the oven or microwave for a filling meal without the hassle of cooking, frozen foods are filled with variations of fat and salt not to mention preservatives. However, you shouldn’t be scared of everything frozen. Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins and minerals which are great to keep in the freezer for whenever you might need them.
Image via Hoops Sports Bar
By Felicia Sapountzis
When we snack between meals we disrupt our normal eating cycle, we put a lot of pressure on the digestive system to process the food quickly. This could lead to the development of digestive disorders and weight gain. Managing your weight does not have to be a tough task and it doesn’t mean you need to go hungry between meals. While some go completely cold turkey and wait for their body to stop craving a certain food altogether, this is not necessarily the best option. Here are five simple tips to satisfy your stomach throughout the day.
If you feel yourself getting hungry between breakfast lunch and dinner, try consuming six small meals a day as opposed to three main meals. This will help increase energy levels and curb cravings.
Pack in the protein
Eating foods that are high in protein is a great way to feel full between meals and it will prevent you from reaching for that chocolate bar or packet of chips in the late afternoon. Try a calorie-controlled, high-protein snack, such as IsoWhey Protein Pops, for a treat that will satisfy your sweet tooth as well as hunger pains.
Mix it up
If you’ve got a sugar craving that just won’t ease, allow yourself to mix in a small amount of what you are craving along with a healthy option. For example try mixing a handful of unsalted almonds with chocolate chips – not only will you satisfy your cravings, you will also receive healthy nutrients from “good” foods.
Sometimes when our bodies are dehydrated, we are tricked into thinking that we are hungry. Keep a jug of water by your desk side and if you feel hungry drink a large glass of water first and wait for 10 minutes – this will keep your hydration levels up and if you still feel the need to snack, you’re more likely to eat less.
Up to 85 per cent of us are failing to reach the recommended daily quota of five serves of vegetables a day. Try cutting up a mix of your favourite veggies and keep them chilled for a crisp snack on-the-go that’s not only low in fat but is a great source of nutrients.
Be sure to fill your body with nutrients and protein rather than filling your body with empty calories. As tempting as a sugary treat may be, it won’t satisfy your hunger pain and could lead to a dangerous binge! Listen to your body and always look to healthy alternatives to ensure healthy eating habits for life.
By celebrity nutritionist/chef Zoe Bingley-Pullin
Healthy eating is always a good thing, but it’s never more important than when you’re expecting! Having a pregnancy diet plan can make a huge difference in how you feel as well as your baby’s development. Now that you’re eating for two, you need to make every calorie count.
Even if you’ve never given much thought to what you’re eating before, now is the time to start formulating a food plan, one that you can stick to for nine months. Here are a few tips for creating your own personal pregnancy diet plan. You have lots of choices—just choose wisely!
No empty calories
If you’re a junk food junkie, kick that habit now! Fast food, sugary snacks and soft drinks are all full of calories but woefully lacking in nutrients. Purge these from your diet and replace them with healthy foods and snacks.
Build your plan around lean protein
Protein is the “building block” of human cells, which makes getting enough very important for your baby’s development. Aim for three servings, or about 75 grams, of protein each day. Concentrate on lean protein sources like poultry, seafood, eggs, and low-fat dairy foods, plus non-animal sources such as whole grain breads and cereals.
Get variety with your veggies
Fruits and vegetables provide many vitamins and minerals essential to your baby’s cell growth, so aim for several servings per day. Try for a mix of green and yellow veggies, and serve some of them raw for extra fibre. Fruits are also fabulous for satisfying your sweet tooth.
Grains are great
Whole grains provide vitamins and minerals as well as fibre, so feel free to enjoy several servings per day of corn, rice, oats, rye, barley, quinoa, and legumes. These complex carbs also have the added advantages of fighting both nausea and constipation. Avoid simple grains like white bread, white rice and baked goods.
Cut down on fats and salt
While you don’t have to ban all fats from your pregnancy diet plan, you should keep a close eye on how much you’re consuming. Watch out for the “hidden fats” like mayo in salads, butter on toast and oil in cooked veggies. You should also cut back on salt intake to discourage those pesky swollen ankles.
Get enough vitamins and minerals
You should be taking a pre-natal vitamin supplement every day as well as eating foods high in nutrients. Be sure to consume lots of iron-rich foods like spinach, soy products and dried fruits. Plus, get the vitamin C you need from citrus fruits as well as kiwi, mango, strawberries, melon, capsicum, tomatoes and asparagus.
With a little planning, you can put together a pregnancy diet plan that’s super healthy for both you and baby!
We lead busy lives, and sometimes convenience rules the way we shop. We show you how to transform 5 everyday foods that are quicker, cheaper and healthier to make at home than buy.
We know what it’s like: friends are coming over and it’s easy to pick up a few dips and chips. But it’s even quicker – and cheaper – to make your own fresh hummus.
1 minute hummus: Place a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, 1/4 cup olive oil, 1 garlic clove, 1 tbsp tahini, the juice of 1 lemon and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl and blend in a food processor till smooth and fluffy. Sprinkle over a dash of smoked paprika and chopped coriander.
It’s January so a lot of us have salad on the brain. Commercial salad dressings might seem like an easy way to perk up that bowl of vegetables, but most are laden with fats, preservatives and other nasties.
Make it at home: For a classic, zingy dressing, whisk together the juice of 1 lemon with 2 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Making a potato salad? Whisk together a small tub of plain yogurt, 3 tbsp capers, 1 tsp sambal oelek or chilli sauce and the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Or for a lighter Caesar salad dressing, pound 2 garlic cloves and 2 anchovy fillets in a pestle and mortar, then incorporate 1/2 a cup buttermilk and 2 tbsp whole egg mayonnaise. Loosen with the juice of 1/2 a lemon. Each dressing takes less than 2 minutes to make.
Have you noticed that microwave popcorn leaves a whole lot of popcorn – unpopped? What a waste! Not to mention the huge amount of artificial butter flavourings and salt! Buy popcorn kernels (much cheaper than microwave popcorn) and with only 1 tbsp of oil and 5 minutes on the stovetop you’ll have a bounty of super-crunchy popcorn that you can season to taste.
Seasoned popcorn ideas: Melt truffle butter while you cook the popcorn, then toss in a large bowl to combine. Grate parmesan cheese over hot popcorn with a handful of rosemary spears. Or sprinkle shimichi togarashi, an aromatic Japanese 7-spice seasoning, for the ultimate movie snack.
When I switched from chocolate bars to shop-bought fruit salad as my afternoon snack, I felt like I deserved a huge pat on the back for eating healthier. And while hitting your local juice bar for a container of fruit salad is convenient, it’s not very smart for your wallet. Shop-bought fruit salad has a mark-up of around 500%, and making your own fruit salad takes less than 2 minutes.
Sexy fruit salad: Chop up your favourite fruits into bite-size pieces. Aim for different colours and textures – passionfruit pulp, halved cherries, tangerine segments – then add some finely sliced mint or a sprinkle of cinnamon.
In desperation for a quick meal, I’ve stocked my freezer with pre-shaped burger patties. But at around $6 for 4 thin patties, that’s at least double what making them from scratch are, and I love adding my own seasonings.
Tasty burger patties: Use any mince you like – turkey makes a healthy alternative to beef, or mix up lamb and pork for a really succulent burger. To 500g mince, add 1 egg, 1/2 grated onion, 1 tbsp chopped thyme, 1/2 cup finely chopped parsley and 1 cup panko breadcrumbs. Shape into patties, then push a cube of mozzarella or feta cheese into the centre, enclosing meat around the cheese. Refrigerate the patties for 30 minutes, then cook on the BBQ or pan-fry.
1. Eat lots of fresh fruit and vegetables Think colour when eating fruit and vegetables. Eating a variety of different colours gives your body a wide range of valuable nutrients like vitamin A, C, potassium, magnesium and fibre. 2. Limit processed foods, sugar and saturated fats Most of your energy comes from the quality of the foods you eat. Natural foods will ensure that you’ll feel more energised and more able to keep on top of your busy Christmas plans. 3. Drink water In Australia, Christmas can be one of our hottest periods of the summer. Don’t fall into the trap of spending the day racing around, not thinking about your hydration levels. Drink plenty of fluids (not sugary ones!) to keep yourself hydrated and you will concentrate better, look better and feel better. Quick tip: Start your day with 25% lemon juice in warm water – a great source of vitamin C! 4. Don’t overindulge All those delicious offerings can be tempting, but you’ll enjoy it more if you keep your portions small. Focus on the taste and not the quantity. Too many sweets and rich food can be hard for your body to process, resulting in headaches, stomach pain, and a feeling of sluggishness. Be sure to practice moderation when it comes to food and your body will thank you. 5.Have healthy snacks handy Why not freeze some berries into ice cubes and add them to your drink or have as an ice block? There are many beautiful fruits in season now—mango, nectarines, peaches, apricots—why not slice some up and arrange them artfully on a snack tray? Quick tip: When preparing a meal, aim to have 60% salad on your plate. 6. Keep up your regular exercise plan Regular movement is important to keep the body healthy and well tuned. Exercise increases the metabolism, gives a feeling of wellbeing and is known to give you more energy. You’ll find those tired, stressed feelings can disappear with a simple walk or yoga stretching. 7. Be sure to get enough sleep and relaxation You can’t handle all the tasks of the Christmas period along with your normal work and lifestyle if you don’t give yourself the chance to rest. Practising meditation or listening to a relaxation tape for 15 minutes can do wonders to restore your vitality. Quick tip: Limit your caffeine and alcohol intake to ensure a good night’s sleep. 8. Remember what the holidays are all about As the list of things to do grows longer and time grows shorter, it is easy to lose sight of what is important to us at this time. Don’t forget what Christmas and the holidays mean to you. Whenever you feel overwhelmed by all your holiday preparations take a moment to yourself and put everything back in perspective.