EN­ER­GISE YOUR DIET

The plan you need to eat a lit­tle cleaner and greener.

Shape (Singapore) - - Contents -

Maybe you want to brighten your mood or feel less fa­tigued. Or you’re look­ing to lighten up your diet. What­ever your goal, we’ve got a sim­ple so­lu­tion.

“A one-week re­boot plan filled with de­li­cious, healthy foods is just what you need to get mo­ti­vated to eat well long-term,” says di­eti­tian Dawn Jack­son Blat­ner, au­thor of The

Su­per­food Swap. This means elim­i­nat­ing any foods that weigh you down, and load­ing up on those that ben­e­fit your body and brain.

“Trad­ing in re­fined sug­ars and flours, and other pro­cessed stuff you may be oc­ca­sion­ally sneak­ing in, for whole foods that are nu­tri­ent­dense and full of flavour will make you

im­me­di­ately feel health­ier,” says Dawn. That’s be­cause sim­ple carbs, plen­ti­ful in the foods you’ll be cut­ting out, are as­so­ci­ated with fatigue, re­ports re­search in the Ne­vada Jour­nal of Pub­lic Health.

Your mood will get a boost too. Eat­ing more fruits and veg­eta­bles makes you hap­pier and more con­fi­dent, re­search shows. These foods have nu­tri­ents that keep neu­ro­trans­mit­ters func­tion­ing op­ti­mally, says study au­thor Tam­lin Con­ner.

And be­cause you see the ben­e­fits of a jump-start right away, it will help to ce­ment good habits, say Wil­low Jarosh and Stephanie Clarke of C&J Nu­tri­tion.

THE GROUND RULES

Be­gin your jump-start week by ditch­ing the foods that make you hun­gry and tired. That means pro­cessed car­bo­hy­drate – even whole­grain breads, pas­tas and crack­ers. Do­ing this will keep your blood sugar fluc­tu­a­tions min­i­mal so you don’t get hun­gry and give up, Stephanie and Wil­low say. Also, steer clear of all forms of added sugar, in­clud­ing maple syrup, honey and agave. We know, but stay strong – it’s worth it: One study found that when peo­ple cut their added sugar from 28 per cent of calo­ries to 10 per cent, their blood pres­sure, choles­terol, weight and blood sugar lev­els im­proved in as lit­tle as nine days. And last, mem­o­rise this mantra: Ta­ble. Plate. Chair. In­stead of scarf­ing lunch from a take­out con­tainer at your desk, or din­ner on the couch in front of the TV, sit in a chair at the ta­ble, eat your food from a real plate, and chew slowly and rel­ish each bite. Do this for a week and you’ll find your­self en­joy­ing meals more and nat­u­rally eat­ing less when you savour the flavour and ex­pe­ri­ence, Dawn says.

That new aware­ness can also help con­trol your crav­ings: In a study, peo­ple who re­ceived in­struc­tions on how to eat mind­fully ate fewer sweets than those who didn’t, for up to a full year. Plus, they were less likely to re­gain any weight they lost dur­ing the study.

WHAT TO PUT ON YOUR MENU

Now comes the good part: all the food you get to en­joy. You can still have your favourites, Dawn says – just eat health­ier ver­sions of them. For ex­am­ple, in­stead of ta­cos, make a salad of lentils cooked with taco sea­son­ings, veg­eta­bles and gua­camole. In gen­eral, fill your plate with food that’s full of flavour, tex­ture and colour, Stephanie and Wil­low say. Here’s what to stock up on.

The full rain­bow

Aim for three cups or more of veg­eta­bles a day, and eat at least one type at ev­ery meal, in­clud­ing break­fast, Dawn says. Add sliced toma­toes to your av­o­cado toast, throw some shred­ded greens in your eggs, or make a green smoothie.

And while all veg­eta­bles are good for you, cru­cif­er­ous ones (broc­coli, cau­li­flower, kale) and dark, leafy greens (arugula, mus­tard greens, wa­ter­cress) are es­pe­cially pow­er­ful be­cause they help keep your cells healthy, say Stephanie and Wil­low.

Clean protein

Eat more plant protein dur­ing your jump­start, since this type of food has im­pact­ful health ben­e­fits. Legumes are high in fill­ing fi­bre; tofu is rich in cal­cium. When you do go for an­i­mal protein, opt for grass-fed beef, pas­tured pork and or­ganic chicken, which may be leaner and health­ier.

Real grains

Con­sume three to five serv­ings of 100 per cent whole­grains like brown rice, oats, mil­let and quinoa each day. Be­cause they have no ad­di­tives, whole­grains are su­per-nu­tri­tious. They’re also chewy and full of wa­ter, so they keep you sat­is­fied, re­search shows.

Loads of spices

They de­liver con­cen­trated doses of an­tiox­i­dants and add great flavour for zero calo­ries. Plus, cin­na­mon and gin­ger bring out the nat­u­ral sweet­ness in foods like fruit, plain yo­gurt and even roasted veg­eta­bles, say Stephanie and Wil­low.

A few fruits

Have one to two pieces or cups of fruit a day, fo­cus­ing on berries, citrus and ap­ples. Berries are es­pe­cially high in an­tiox­i­dants, and citrus is packed with flavonoids that keep your liver healthy, Stephanie and Wil­low say. Ap­ples have a type of fi­bre that nour­ishes the healthy bac­te­ria in your gut, which help reg­u­late ev­ery­thing from your di­ges­tion to your mood.

Nuts and seeds

Packed with healthy fats, they help you feel fuller longer, and their crunch­i­ness makes you eat more slowly. In ad­di­tion to wal­nuts and al­monds, try dried wa­ter­melon seeds, which are full of en­er­gy­boost­ing iron, as a salad top­ping. Add wa­t­er­ab­sorb­ing chia seeds to oats and smooth­ies to stay hy­drated and sat­is­fied.

Some­thing fer­mented

Sauer­kraut, kim­chi and other fer­mented veg­eta­bles add kick to your meals and de­liver pro­bi­otics to keep your gut bugs in bal­ance. Add a spoon­ful to sand­wiches, eggs or salad.

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