As a Personal Trainer I get asked a lot of questions about diets and what we should or should not be eating. My opinion and answer to this is to eat a varied diet and everything in moderation. We should be looking at the bigger picture by making healthy eating part of a more long term lifestyle change. Fad diets don't generally work in the long term, the majority of people will stick to a diet for a short period then begin to slip into old habits and in turn end up putting the same or more weight back on again. This then becomes a cycle of diet after diet which is not good for the body and its metabolism. Diets may be useful if you need to lose weight in 6 weeks to fit into a wedding dress or get leaner for an upcoming sports event but I think most people want to lose weight and keep the weight off for the long term. With Personal Training clients I find asking them to fill in a food diary a very useful tool. We can then analyse the diary, pick out the good from the bad foods and begin to suggest healthier food swaps for them. a little at a time. The slow introduction of these healthier foods will make it easier to stick to a healthier way of eating in the long run. If we change all of the foods they are used to eating instantaneously then it's a big shock to the system which leads to problems of feeling hungry, grumpy and craving foods they were used to eating in the past. I also think its important to not cut out the foods you love permanently, instead you should treat yourself once in a while. Even myself as a Personal Trainer am partial to the odd pizza here or there, I just don't make a habit of it and generally try to eat a varied and healthy diet. So by making healthier changes in your diet and starting a good exercise routine your onto a winner and the weight should start to slowly drop off and continue to stay off for the long term.
I’ve listed a few foods/recipes below which I substitute in my diet but there are plenty more out there for you to experiment with. Good luck and happy food swapping!
1. Firstly if you are using any oil with your foods, use sparingly and swap fatty cooking oils such as Sunflower oil for a healthier options like Extra Virgin Olive or Coconut oil.
2. Potatoes swapped for Sweet potatoes - These taste better in my opinion and are great baked, mashed or cut into wedges and baked in the oven.
3. Mash potatoes swapped for a Butter bean mash - Throw the beans in a pan with a bit of garlic, Olive oil and seasoning, Crush up with a fork whilst cooking and you’ve got a mash that’s tasty, lower in carbs and high in protein. Winner!
Beans may help control blood glucose levels to aid symptoms of diabetes. Beans are high in fiber, which can help lower blood glucose.
4. Red processed meats swapped for leaner white meats like Chicken or Turkey - These are lower in fat and high in protein which makes you feel fuller for longer and helps build and repair muscle particularly after exercise. Chicken is king!
5. Beef Burgers swapped for Homemade Turkey burgers - Use lean Turkey mince and a bit of seasoning for a lower fat and scrummy tasting low fat burger.
6. White Bread swapped for brown breads - Lower in Sugars and higher in fibre. Fibre is healthier makes you feel fuller for longer.
One slice of wholemeal bread provides 2 g of fiber, which is 8 percent of the daily recommendation for a 2,000-calorie diet.
7. White Rice or Past Swapped for Brown Rice or Wholemeal Pasta - Again Higher in fibre and better for you.
8. Sweet processed puddings and stuff! - Swap for fruit and natural yoghurts, lower in fat, higher in fibre and contain natural sugars. All good in moderation!
9. Also bulk out on Vegetables to keep you fuller, roast in the oven with a splash of Olive oil, sea salt and black pepper for a great alternative to chips. Good healthy carbs...Lush!
Eating a diet rich in fruit and vegetables may reduce risk of heart disease, including heart attack and stroke.
10. Eat oily fish once a week instead of battered or breadcrumbed. Again a great source of protein and omega 3 which can help to reduce risk of heart disease.
Those were just a few examples, experiment with your own healthy options and don't be afraid to try new foods.