Food for your Health: 3 Simple Nutrition Foundations
Food for your health: simple nutrition foundations – can this really work? We are all individual when it comes to our health. However, when it comes to diet, there are a number of common elements that are appropriate across populations and which make up ‘healthy eating’ to feel energised and well. I’ve got many favourites, but here I choose 3 of them. These are simple steps that you can take today, which will build the nutrition foundations for living your day feeling fresh and full of vitality.
Nutrition Foundations No. 1. Water for your health
If you routinely start your day with a coffee and then get tempted for more as the morning passes, think about adding in some water for hydration. Our bodies need water to work well – every cell contains water – and if you are even slightly dehydrated, your ability to function is compromised. This state of dehydration tends to lead to a tired and sluggish body, as well as a tired and sluggish mind. Ironically, this feeling often leads us to reach for more coffee as we need a boost to get going again. I don’t want to demonise coffee here. Coffee contains some good nutrition and does provide you with some fluid (although marginal with espresso). However, the caffeine in coffee acts as a diuretic, meaning that it extracts water from your system for excretion in urine.
The simplest thing to do is to add some water in. Have a large glass by the side of your bed to drink in the morning. Fill a jug of water once you hit the kitchen and sit it somewhere prominent. Every time you pass, fill a glass and drain it. Yes, you will need to make more frequent trips to the bathroom, but this gets you up and moving. And whilst you are there, take a look at the colour of your urine. Other than the first void of the day, your urine should be a pale, straw colour. If it is darker than that, then you are dehydrated and need to up your water intake.
Adding water may feel too easy, but can have far reaching effects. Not only will it help with your energy levels, but it will help you avoid constipation, reduce the frequency of headaches and help keep your kidneys in good condition.
Nutrition Foundations No. 2. Protein, Fat and Colour for your health
With every meal and snack, make sure it contains some protein, fat and colour. This is something that I talk about with each of my clients and has far-reaching effects. Not only does it increase the variety in your day, but the combination of protein, fat and fibres from fruit and vegetables (the colour element) gives your system a slow-burning meal. This helps you balance your blood sugar levels, avoid slumps in energy after you’ve eaten and reduce your reliance on sugary snacks. In fact, if you focus on getting this right for your breakfast, lunch and dinner, then you probably won’t want any snacks in between.
This doesn’t need to be complicated. For breakfast, layer a piece of toast with avocado, smoked salmon, tomato and rocket. For lunch, make an omelette filled with different vegetables (grated courgette, tomatoes, fresh basil are nice) and some feta cheese, served drizzled with a peppery olive oil and a handful of leaves from a mixed salad bag. Dinner tends to be the main meal of the day for most these days and the options are infinite – try steaming some salmon with spring greens, sprouting broccoli, garlic and ginger, make a stir fry with cashews, cabbage, carrots and green beans, or a chilli packed with vegetables, served with guacamole and natural yoghurt.
Nutrition Foundation No. 3. “Plus One” for your health
There is one aspect of your diet that it is hard to have too much of and that is vegetables. The greater variety you can get into your meal, day and week, the better. So the next time you are making your favourite soup, add one additional vegetable to the one’s you usually reach for – fennel or courgette to your lentil soup for example. Chop a sweet potato, beetroot or parsnip to add to some roasting potato chips; stir some parsley through your casserole. Thinking ‘plus one’ with every meal of the day, gets you 3 more vegetables without having to think too hard. Variety is important and ‘Plus one’ a simple strategy.
Why not try these ideas and see what impact it has on your well being? It may feel too easy but sometimes it is the small changes that have the biggest impacts. Food for your health: simple nutrition foundations. Yes, they really can work.
If you’d like to build on these ideas and get a firm platform of nutrition foundations in place, then why not sign up to my Nutrition Foundations on-line 4 week course, which will build on these tips, so that you feel energised throughout the day, focused at work and full of vitality? Read more about the course here and sign up to the waiting list now.
Check back for more nutrition tips in March – or have a look through the archive. There is plenty of information there to get you started.