Monday 10th June marks the start of the annual BNF Healthy Eating Week 2019. BNF, the British Nutrition Foundation, has dedicated this week to encouraging us all to focus on a healthy lifestyle.
They have five health challenges that form the basis of this week and beyond:
- Eat breakfast
- Eat five portions of fruits and vegetables a day
- Stay hydrated
- Be active
- Sleep well
But when it comes to “eating healthily” what does this mean?
Starting the Day Right
It’s very true, that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast literally means “breaking your fast”, so that is, you’re breaking the period of fasting, or not eating, that you went through overnight.
No matter when you eat your first meal of the day, either first thing, after exercise or when you get to your desk, make it a nutritious one. A healthy, balanced breakfast such as porridge with berries, poached eggs on toast or fruit and seeds with yoghurt will help to keep you full until lunch.
If you do have hunger pangs between lunch and breakfast, snack on a banana and a handful of nuts. They’re both full of vitamins and minerals that keep the immune system healthy. Nuts are also rich in the B vitamins that help to release the energy from our food that we need to power our brains through the morning slog towards lunchtime! Top up your vitamin B intake with a Vitamin B Complex supplement.
A Protein Packed Lunch
A cheese baguette made with white bread might be tasty, but white processed carbs do nothing for long term energy levels. White bread, rice and pasta will give us an immediate sugar rush, but within an hour or so, we’ll be crashing and craving the next sugar hit.
So instead of reaching for the mid-afternoon chocolate, pave the way for a productive afternoon by eating a protein fuelled lunch.
This could mean a tuna sandwich made with brown bread, a jacket potato with baked beans, hummus and salad in a brown pitta bread or a chicken salad. These lunch ideas are all rich in protein which keeps you fuller for longer and less likely to reach that 3pm energy slump.
If you have to reach for the chocolate, why not try Wizard’s Magic Chocolate. Available in Mint, Orange and Caramel flavours, it is low in sugar, dairy free and suitable for vegans. What’s more, Bigvits are offering 20% off for the month of June.
A Balanced Dinner – Planned in Advance
After a long day at work, racing around or looking after the children, the last thing on many of our minds is making dinner from scratch.
But with a bit of careful planning, you can prepare in advance and still have healthy, home cooked meals each night. For example, mince (either meat or veggie) can be made up and frozen. Cook the mince with onions, garlic, herbs and a tomato sauce and freeze in portion sizes that suit your household.
Then take a portion out in the morning and put it in the fridge. By evening it’ll be ready for reheating. Reheat thoroughly in a pan and turn it into a spaghetti bolognaise or a chilli by adding kidney beans and rice. Add a side salad to make sure you’re hitting your target of five fruits and vegetables a day.
Pasta dishes on the whole are quick and simple, or make a quick stir fry using lean chicken breast or a veggie substitute. You can chop the vegetables in advance to make things easier later on. Grilled salmon, new potatoes and green leafy veg also makes a healthy, balanced meal. As does a cauliflower and chickpea curry made using a low fat curry paste and tinned tomatoes.
Aim for a quarter of your plate to consist of protein (lean red meat, chicken, fish, eggs, beans, lentils, chickpeas or tofu), a quarter starchy carbs (brown rice, brown pasta, quinoa, buckwheat etc) and half fresh fruits and vegetables.
Always make sure you drink eight glasses of water a day (herbal teas also count) and along with these healthy, balanced meal ideas, you’ll be meeting three of the five BNF Healthy Eating Week goals in a flash! Only two to go, how will you meet your exercise and sleep target?