4 simple tips to shake up your diet

10th June 2019

Written by: Jackie Lynch, Registered Nutritional Therapist

It’s easy to let things slide when the sun comes out, because it brings the temptation to indulge in an ice cream, a cold beer or a glass of rosé. So BNF healthy eating week provides a great opportunity to give your diet and lifestyle a bit of a makeover and help you re-establish healthy eating habits for the summer.

The BNF have set out a series of challenges for the week: Have breakfast; Eat 5-a-day; Drink plenty; Get active; Sleep well.  All sensible areas to work on, but if you’re already on the case, here are my stretch targets to help you really get the most out the week.

1. Eat 40 different fruit and veg  Most of us are pretty good at eating our 5-a-day most of the time, but are you guilty of eating the same things? It’s very easy to grab your usual staples when you’re busy and time is short but if you really want to get the most out of your fruit and veg and make your immune system smile, you need to eat a broad range, because they all contain different antioxidants. 

Your Challenge 

  • Eat 40 portions of different fruit and veg over the 7 days
  • Aim to eat only 2 portions of fruit per day
  • It’s fine to repeat a portion of fruit or veg, but it will only count once

2. Add a generous portion of protein to your breakfast The BNF challenge focuses on a high-fibre breakfast, which is a great thing, but if you add some protein to that, it will keep you going right through to lunch time. This is the ideal approach for anyone who gets the munchies mid-morning!

Your Challenge

  • If you eat cereal, add protein in the form of a tablespoon of pumpkin, sunflower or flaxseed
  • For porridge, a dessert spoon of unsweetened nut butter will add a protein blast
  • Top your wholemeal toast with an egg, nut butter or cottage cheese
  • Add flaxseed, nut butter or seeds plus natural yoghurt to give your fruit or veg smoothies a protein blast

3. Audit your caffeine intake Hydration is crucial to your energy levels, brain function and digestive health, so drinking 6-8 glasses of water is a sensible challenge. But this could also be the time to take a hard look at your caffeine intake, especially if you tend to over-rely on it to keep you going, because too much caffeine will disrupt sleep and cause palpitations, nausea and anxiety.

Your Challenge

  •  Limit yourself to a maximum of 2 cups of coffee or 4 cups of black tea per day
  • Ask for one shot instead of two at the coffee bar or use a weaker dose if you make it yourself
  • Beware of green tea, which contains exactly the same amount of caffeine as black tea
  • Steer clear of energy drinks and colas, as the caffeine doses can soon add up

4. Keep the alcohol to a minimum Regular consumption of alcohol, even at a moderate level, will impact your health in lots of ways. Alcohol disrupts sleep, promotes weight gain, raises blood pressure and distracts your liver from its many other jobs, including energy production, hormone balance, fat metabolism and supporting the immune function.

Your Challenge

  • Have at least 3 consecutive alcohol-free days over the week, you’ll see a big difference in the quality of your sleep on those days
  • Opt for smaller measures when you’re out and about: a 125ml glass of wine or a single spirit measure will help to keep the alcohol units down
  • Buy a spirit measure for your tipples at home. It will help you keep a track of your consumption; you may be surprised just how small a single measure is.

Jackie Lynch is a Registered Nutritional Therapist and Author of Va Va Voom: the 10-Day Energy Diet (Headline 14.99) and The Right Bite (Nourish Books, 2016)

Jackie’s Well Well Well nutrition clinic is based in Notting Hill. You can follow her on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram via @WellWellWellUK.

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