healthy-food-stocksBy Paul MacGregor

This month, let’s talk about one of our favourite things: food.

We can’t live without it, but for a lot of us, it may be the very thing that harms our health! Can you have a healthy diet and enjoy what you eat? Or is it all about broccoli, granola and lentils?

Well actually, having a healthy diet doesn’t need to be boring. You can eat pretty much what you like following a few simple rules and remembering the concept of ‘moderation’.

A good diet is a balanced diet. It includes fresh foods as opposed to ready meals, the point being to try to avoid high sugar, high salt foods. Crisps, biscuits and savoury snacks are the worst, especially when you are hungry!

The easiest way to avoid those hungry moments is to eat at the appropriate times, with healthy snacks in between.

Breakfast is known as the most important meal of the day, yet probably the most missed.

‘I haven’t got time in the morning’ or ‘I can’t eat that early’ are the most common excuses.  The reason you can’t eat in the mornings is that you don’t. Well just get used to it!

Haven’t got time to pop two pieces of brown bread in the toaster, butter and jam it? ( peanut butter would be better) Just get up three minutes earlier, it’s your health!!

Breakfast gets our bodies going, you will burn more calories if you eat in the morning t than if you don’t. Eat more lose more! That is the gist of a healthy diet, small and often.

So have your breakfast and a mid-morning snack, which is a great way to bring fruit into your diet. An apple, banana, kiwi fruit, or dried fruit, apricot, figs, pineapple or mango.

You can get these in a one-portion size ready wrapped from health food shops. It might need a bit of forethought, but once you get into the habit, it’s easy.

Lunch is one we all have our own thoughts on. But if you have breakfast and a mid-morning snack, it doesn’t have to be a big deal! Ideally, it should be something with carbohydrates that is slow digesting – oats, pasta or brown bread should form the bulk of the meal.

Carbs give you energy for the rest of the afternoon, avoiding that mid-afternoon slump.  Slow digesting foods (all foods have a GI rating, a low GI rating means foods are slower to digest. Look it up on the Internet, or email me after class.)

One of the reasons foods are slower to digest is that they are high in fibre, and essential for gut health, which saves having to drink those expensive and pointless probiotics!

Most afternoons should be the opposite of your morning snack, and I don’t mean unhealthy! If you have had fruit in the morning then proteins is the way to go in the afternoon.

Nuts are very good on their own, or in bar form, and can be mixed with raisins or dried fruit. A yoghurt with nuts or fruits is good, but add your own to natural yoghurt as the pre-flavoured ones often contain sugar!!

Alternating your morning snack with your afternoon snack on a weekly basis just adds to the variety.

Dinner should be the biggest meal of the day, and again good fresh food, meat, fish, pastas, rice, vegetables and good healthy balance are important.

This should be the last meal of the day, and should be eaten at least two hours before going to bed. There are exceptions, but try your best to stick to it! You may feel a little hungry, but once your body has become used to a healthy regime, it’ll thank you for it, and actually it won’t kill you!

So that is the general idea when it comes to food: Little and often with lots of fresh foods at the appropriate times.  Throw in some regular quality exercise and you will have the health and probably the look you are happy with!

If you have any comments or would like to ask any questions please feel free to email: