Healthy eat­ing rules to live by

FROM EAT­ING MORE PLANT-BASED MEALS TO HER AP­PROACH TO MAN­AG­ING WEIGHT, DI­ETI­CIAN HE­LEN BOND TELLS LIZ CON­NOR HOW YOU CAN EAT BET­TER

Hayes & Harlington Gazette - - Health & Lifestyle -

WHEN it comes to healthy eat­ing, the rules can be pretty un­clear. One minute we’re told we should be cut­ting out dairy and gluten, and the next carbs are the sworn en­emy – then sud­denly they’re not again.

It also doesn’t help that there are trendy new diet plans emerg­ing every year, with con­tra­dict­ing ideas on the best ways to keep trim. Then there are the In­sta-fu­elled trends, all too of­ten with un­qual­i­fied ‘ex­perts’ pro­mot­ing them, and fads that in­volve mis­er­able pe­ri­ods of fast­ing, splurg­ing on ex­pen­sive in­gre­di­ents or nix­ing en­tire im­por­tant food groups from your diet. It’s no sur­prise then, that be­ing ‘healthy’ can of­ten seem like a type of tor­ture.

Yet many di­eti­cians and nu­tri­tion­ists be­lieve the ba­sics of eat­ing right never re­ally change, and there are a few sim­ple and in­ex­pen­sive rules that ev­ery­one can adopt to achieve a health­ier lifestyle this au­tumn – with re­sults that will last.

We asked di­eti­cian He­len Bond to ex­plain what she per­son­ally con­sid­ers to be the most im­por­tant things to keep in mind when it comes to eat­ing well – and, thank­fully, they’re a lot more palat­able than you might ex­pect...

1 PRI­ORI­TISE PLANT-BASED FOODS

IF you’re still liv­ing by the ‘meat and two veg’ mantra, it’s time to throw out the old rule book. “We should be pri­ori­tis­ing plant foods over an­i­mal foods now,” says He­len. “If you look at the new ‘Eat Well’ guide by Pub­lic Health Eng­land, plant pro­teins are now ad­vised over meat.”

Plant-based di­ets are high in veg­eta­bles, whole­grain bread and ce­re­als, legumes and whole fruits, but they can still con­tain small amounts of lean meats and dairy prod­ucts. “I’m not say­ing that meat is bad, it’s just not as sus­tain­able and is not as healthy for us as hav­ing a fo­cus on plant-based prod­ucts, which is why a lot of Euro­pean cul­tures who are as­so­ci­ated with longevity of life opt for them in­stead – such as the Mediter­ranean diet,” notes He­len.

2 BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TO GO FULL VE­GAN

“I DON’T ac­tu­ally rec­om­mend ve­g­an­ism or vege­tar­i­an­ism,” says He­len. “I think they have lots of health prop­er­ties as­so­ci­ated with them; the more fruits and veg­eta­bles you can in­clude in your diet, the bet­ter the out­come in terms of car­dio­vas­cu­lar health and pre­vent­ing can­cer. How­ever, I think if you try and make your diet mostly plant­based, you can also have some oily fish and lean red meat on the side.”

The rules? Have it less of­ten, make it re­ally good qual­ity meat, and make sure it’s not the core of your dish.

“I al­ways say to make veg­eta­bles and whole­grains the star of the plate and make the meat the ac­com­pa­ni­ment to what­ever else is on there,” adds He­len. “His­tor­i­cally, we think of a big piece of steak and lit­tle veg, whereas if you flip it on its head, it’s a much bet­ter way of eat­ing.”

3 EAT GOOD SOURCES OF VI­TA­MIN D IN THE WIN­TER

“WE don’t man­u­fac­ture vi­ta­min D, which is linked to im­mu­nity and mood, in our skin from Septem­ber to March as there is less sun­light dur­ing this pe­riod in the UK, so as well as tak­ing a sup­ple­ment of 10mcg, you need to top your lev­els up with food sources of Vi­ta­min D.”

Good food sources of vi­ta­min D in­clude oily fish, egg yolks, cer­tain types of mush­rooms and for­ti­fied ce­re­als and milks.

4 EAT A POR­TION OF OILY FISH PER WEEK

OILY fish have oil in their tis­sues and in the belly cav­ity around the gut, and in­clude salmon, trout, sar­dines and her­rings. He­len says that you should aim for one cheque-book sized por­tion per week, as these sea crea­tures con­tain im­por­tant omega3, which is vi­tal for our brain health, heart health, triglyc­erides (im­por­tant for gen­eral func­tion and reg­u­lat­ing en­ergy lev­els) and main­tain­ing healthy blood pres­sure.

Ac­cord­ing to He­len, fish con­tain long-chain omega-3s called DHA and EPA, but there are plant-ver­sions too: Wal­nuts, chia seeds, flaxseeds and lin­seeds are all good sources of short-chain omega-3s called ALA.

“Short-chain gets con­verted in the body to long-chain omega-3s, but the con­ver­sion rate is not greatly ef­fi­cient, so that’s the only short­fall for veg­gies,” He­len adds.

5 TRY US­ING THE 80: 20 RULE

RE­FRESH­INGLY, He­len says that you don’t need to miss out on in­dulging en­tirely and en­joy­ing treats every now and again is fine – and you can still stay healthy while do­ing so.

“I al­ways say that if you eat well 80% of the time, you’re al­lowed to have the oc­ca­sional treats 20% of the time,” she ex­plains. “It’s all about try­ing to put any sweet or fatty treats into the con­text of an over­all bal­anced diet.”

6 MAKE SMALL BOOZE SWAPS

DID you know that al­co­hol is just be­low fat in terms of calo­ries? A gram of fat is about nine calo­ries, a gram of al­co­hol is seven.

“Peo­ple just aren’t aware of how many calo­ries are in al­co­hol, and it can be a mine­field on a night out,” says He­len.

“The best way to tackle your in­take is in mak­ing small swaps. Al­ter­nate be­tween a glass of wine and a glass of wa­ter to re­hy­drate your­self, make white wine spritzers and use low-calo­rie mix­ers to re­duce the calo­rie con­tent. It’s al­ways good to check the con­tent of your favourite drink so you can see how many ex­tra calo­ries you’re con­sum­ing.”

7 PRE-LOAD WITH WA­TER

HE­LEN has a sim­ple trick for avoid­ing overeat­ing at the din­ner ta­ble – try hav­ing a glass of wa­ter be­fore you tuck in. “Over­all hy­dra­tion is re­ally im­por­tant for slimming down, and there’s been quite a lot of re­search with re­gards to pre-load­ing be­fore a meal,” she says. “If you have a glass of wa­ter be­fore you eat, it helps take the edge of the ap­petite. It’s like hav­ing an ap­ple be­fore a meal; an ap­ple is pretty much 85% wa­ter, so it can take the blunt off your hunger, and the same goes for soups too. “

8 IT’S ALL ABOUT BAL­ANCE AND MOD­ER­A­TION

WITH all of the trendy di­ets that come in and out of the me­dia, it’s easy to get con­fused on what to eat and which diet to fol­low, but liv­ing well doesn’t have to be com­pli­cated.

“I al­ways live by the old mantra: Bal­ance and mod­er­a­tion,” says He­len. “It’s not ex­actly sexy and it never makes me­dia head­lines be­cause there are much more en­tic­ing things to read about, but it works for a rea­son.”

Try and have more veg in yout diet

There are plenty of calo­ries in al­co­hol so check the con­tent of your favourite tip­ple

Di­eti­cian He­len Bond

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