Article by Talkington Bates’ Nutritionist, Hebe Richardson, Bsc(Hons) ANutr
This year, Healthy Eating Week is taking place from 14 to 18 June 2021. It is a great time to check in and reflect on what health means to you and Talkington Bates are here to help on your 'Find your healthier you'.
KNOW THE FACTS
The growth of social media means nutrition misinformation is rife. Various nutrition trends have emerged particularly over the last few years many of which, unfortunately are not always based in evidence. It can be difficult to see the wood for the trees sometimes, but some good tips for spotting nutrition myths are;
1. Does it sound too good to be true? It probably is.
Headlines that read ‘one food cures disease’ won't be based on much evidence. Have a look at their sources. Often,such claims will have a very limited source of proof. They will either be coming from small scale studies or from what is known as anecdotal evidence; a statement coming from one person.
2. A food that markets itself as a superfood.
These words are very commonly associated with wellness trends and nutrition marketing. However, they don’t mean anything when it comes to our bodies and our health. The word superfood has been used as a marketing term for several years, however, there is no actual definition of a superfood and no way of testing for one either.
3. Something that claims to be a detox.
Detox products or diets are mainly short term and extreme, often related to grand claims attached to them, such as improvements in digestion and energy levels. They commonly involved suggestions such as drinking only juice, fasting or cutting out whole food groups. Not only are these diets extreme, they are based on pseudoscience. Luckily for us, our liver and kidneys do all the detoxing we need as they constant remove waste products from our system.
4. Something that suggests removing whole food groups.
Dieting may well suggests the need to cut out whole groups of foods such as carbohydrates or fats. However, not only is this unnecessary, it’s often not that healthy either. Current health eating guidelines include all food groups as they all provide much needed vitamins, minerals, energy and fibre to our bodies.
5. Something that suggests optimal ways of eating for everyone.
We are all different and there isn’t one optimal way of eating that would suit us all. We have different bodies, schedules, likes and dislikes, genetics, exercise patterns and routines; so finding one way of eating to suit every one of us would be impossible.
MAKE A HEALTHIER CHOICE
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Health promoting behaviours don’t necessarily just mean going for more walks and getting your 5-a-day. Lots of factors can tie into the idea of health that don’t necessarily fit into that framework.
Your picture of health may look like;
1. Eating a wide variety of foods that you like and that satisfy you. Consider elements like your hunger and fullness levels throughout the day.
2. Removing the label of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ foods. This may sound strange, but by giving all foods a neutral place in our diets we can remove feelings of guilt, allowing us to consider or likes and dislikes, without those feelings of restriction.
3. Practicing acceptance and self-compassion. This is a very challenging thing to do, but the language we use about ourselves matters. Considering ways we can incorporate more self-compassion into our lives is a great way to improve our health.
4. Taking care of your physical needs. This could include doctors and dentist appointments for example. We often put things off and just continue with our lives, even when we might be struggling but reaching out for help when needed it is perfectly normal. Why not also try getting more sleep whilst focusing on your hydration throughout the day.
5. Engaging in self-care activities that are accessible, practical and affordable. You’re not alone if the idea of ‘self-care’ seems expensive or challenging to you. Self-care doesn’t need to be bath bombs and expensive candles, it can incorporate simpler things in life such as getting outside for some fresh air, making cups of tea or calling friends.
PLAN FOR SUCCESS
Planning your weekly menu can be a useful tool when looking after your health and managing your time. The idea of planning meals from scratch can feel overwhelming as it can sometimes feel like a lot to do. However, here are some tips that will help make things a little easier.
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1. Keep it manageable
Planning meals can be a great way to take the pressure off during busier days, but it can be easy to get caught up in the wish to create exciting, interesting, varied recipes you can have during the week. Keep things manageable by considering what is realistic, easy and quick to do.
2. Food Prep on a day when you’ve got the time.
Food preparation is often viewed as a great way to save time, but life may keep you busy and prepping is not working for you. Try to find ahead a day when you’ve got the time, space and energy to do it, rather than when you’re tired from work. Remember to also prioritise rest as that is also a part of our health.
3. It doesn’t have to be complicated
Food prepping doesn’t have to be a whole meal ready.It's all about making things easier by putting the basics together:
· Slicing up vegetables, placing in Tupperware and saving for a meal later in the week.
· Boiling pasta, rice or preparing grains that could be used in salads, stir fry’s or mixed with sauces.
· Roasting vegetables with herbs and spices.
· Boiling eggs or precooking meats for added protein.
BE THE CHEF
Cooking from scratch is a great way to focus on your health and wellbeing. However, even for those of us very keen to do so, this last year has made it much more challenging. Are you struggling when it comes to finding inspiration ?
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1. Getting out the recipe books.
Recipe books are always my first port of call when I’m lacking inspiration for something to make. The internet is also an amazing resource when creativity is lacking. Websites like Pinterest can provide a whole host of inspiration. It also can be a great opportunity to try something new, or give something a go that’s been on your mind for a while.
2. Recipe boxes.
The market for recipe boxes, or recipe subscription services, have boomed over the last few years. These can be a great tool if you’re struggling for inspiration, as many of these boxes come with a recipe, step-by-step instructions and all the ingredients you’ll need. Many of these recipe boxes also can be altered for a whole host of different dietary requirements, with clear instructions for cooking.
3. Covering the bases e.g staples and more exciting items.
Putting together a list or plan of meals can take that, in the moment, stress out of cooking and preparing foods. It also gives us a little time to make sure we’ve got everything we need in the house. It can be useful to have some staples in the cupboards for days when you’re struggling for inspiration. Categorise these into groups such as; gains & bases, fats & dairy, proteins, tins & jars, snacks, freezer foods, fruit & veg and food for added flavour.
4. Taste, hunger, satisfaction and energy
We’re all different, and that’s true when we consider hunger, satisfaction, taste and energy levels. Being flexible is a normal part of our life and something to recognise. When considering cooking preferences, take these into account. For example, are there certain points within the week where you find yourself lacking energy? Is it likely that during these times it may be more challenging to prepare food and it may be a good idea to consider something more convenient and easy?
KEEP MOVING... OR HAVE A REST
Movement doesn’t just have to be in the gym it could be a quick stroll round the park, a yoga class, or even a dance in the kitchen to an insprirating song on the radio. The key to making long lasting changes when it comes to movement is to incorporate it in ways that are sustainable and enjoyable to you.
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One way to take the pressure of movement is to consider the reasons why we might want to move our body. These could be simple statements such as;
1. Stress - How does movement affect your stress levels? Do you find forms of movement beneficial when it comes to reducing stress?
2. Energy - When lacking energy how does movement help? How would you feel if you took a break from work to take a quick walk or get some fresh air?
3. Sleep - Do you sleep better after finding time in your day to move? Do you wake up with more energy or fall asleep any easier?
4. Concentration - How does movement change your motivation and management of workload? Is it easier to focus, does your mind feel any clearer, is it any more enjoyable?