i want to eat better

The food we put into our bodies is our fuel. What we eat plays a big part in determining how much energy we have, our mood, how we sleep, and how well we fight off sickness.

When we get busy, it can be easy to get into a habit of eating takeaways every day and drinking sugary drinks for the instant energy hit they give us. We can end up in a pattern that isn’t doing us any good in the long run.

Here are some easy ideas on ways you can improve your diet and eat better.

ideas and inspiration

What you eat for breakfast helps determine your appetite, energy and concentration levels during the day. Firstly, eat breakfast! Secondly, make it nutritious.

  • Men’s Health Ambassador Lee-Anne Wann recommends packing in the protein at breakfast for top performance, foods such as salmon, eggs, mince, or a protein smoothie.
  • Check your coffee. If you drink more than three coffees a day, think about cutting back. Coffee can make your heart race and put you on edge if you have too much of it.
  • Switch white bread for wholegrain bread. Wholegrain bread is better for cleaning out your guts and it has more nutrients than white bread.
  • If you’re not a fan of fruit, try a smoothie with the fruit pulp left in. It packs in the nutrients and tastes yum.
  • Fruit juice should be an occasional drink only. Juice is high in sugar and can raise your blood sugar levels leading to a sugar ‘crash’ mid morning.
  • Beware of bagels. They fill you up, but they’re super-dense, so contain a lot more calories than toast. They’re also made with white flour, which your body quickly converts to sugar, and then to fat if you’re not active.

 

Take a tally of what foods you have eaten for lunches over the past week. If most of it has come from take-away stores or bakeries, there’s a high chance what you’re eating is overloaded with fat, salt, sugar and white flour. That sort of lunch fills an empty stomach but it isn’t good fuel. There are better things to eat that give us more energy and nutrients for the afternoon. Here are some ideas:

  • Make extra dinner and bring it for lunch the next day. Usually the food we make at home has more nutrients than bought lunches, and it saves money.
  • Switch deep fried foods, pies and burgers for filled rolls or sushi. These will still fill you up, but are better for your heart health and energy levels. Deep fried and fatty foods can make us sluggish and pack on the pounds.
  • Wash it down with water. It’s free and it’s the best possible thing we can drink. Fizzy drinks are loaded with sugar and are turning us into a bunch of fatties.
  • If you’re really keen on making an effort, an ideal lunch might be something like salad with chicken or tuna. If you make it yourself, add extra protein with cheese and nuts. This helps bulk it out and keep you full.

Dinner is the last meal of the day, and a good time to re-fuel our bodies with nutrients.

 

  • Portion size. It’s important to eat enough to fill up on so we don’t end up snacking on rubbish all night, but try not to get into the habit of eating overly huge meals or of finishing everything in one sitting just because it’s there. If there’s food left over, take it for lunch the next day.
  • Cut out meat a few nights a week. Our bodies don’t need huge amounts of meat. Too much can make us sluggish and has also been linked to increasing our chances of bowel cancer.
  • Give cooking a go. Make the effort once or twice a week to try cooking something from scratch. Learning new skills is good for us, and our meals are more nutritious when we cook them ourselves with fresh ingredients.
  • Eat more lentils. If you have never tried lentils, split peas or dried beans – give it a go! Pulses and peas fill you up like bread or potatoes will, but are more nutritious for you.

We don’t need a lot of snacks, and a lot of the time our snacks are processed foods that contain lots of fats, salt and sugar – chips, biscuits, crackers etc. So if you’re a grazer and want to eat better snacks, be prepared.

  • Pre-prepare healthier snacks to take with you to work, like chopped carrots, raisins, nuts, and rice crackers.
  • Avoid having temptation in the house. If your weakness is chocolate, biscuits, ice-cream or chips – don’t have them handy. Instead have a few healthier options in the cupboards.
  • Drink a lot of water. Aim for about 2 litres of water a day. Water improves our brain function, our metabolism, our skin, and it helps every cell in our body function better.
  • Cut right back on fizzy drinks and so-called energy drinks. It’s a marketing ploy – they’re actually really bad for us. The only energy they provide is a brief sugar spike, but this will be followed by a lull of low energy.

Geordie beats his sugar addiction

Watching "That Sugar Film" made Geordie realise just how much sugar was hiding in the kinds of food he was eating every day and how bad it was for him. He made a few simple changes to his diet, took up Broga - yoga for bro's, and ended up losing 6kg in two months.

READ MORE

Useful Resources

Here are some useful brochures and resources that you can download for more information on eating better.

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