Most of us these days recognise the importance of eating a balanced diet full of fresh, natural ingredients. Not only does a healthy diet give us more energy, it can enhance our mood and digestive health.
In reality, it isn't always easy to stick to a healthy eating routine, or to keep coming up with new ideas to keep our taste buds excited. So any steps we can take to make positive food choices easier and more tempting have to be good.
There are lots of cookbooks available to help you create quick and simple healthy meals for you and your family. Websites such as www.channel4.com/food are also great places to get healthy diet plans and nutrition advice.
A few other ways to liven up meal times.
- Add colour - use brightly coloured ingredients to make meals a feast for the eyes. If food looks good you'll be more inclined to want to eat it and you'll probably enjoy it more
- Spicing things up by using herbs and spices can make any food more flavoursome as well as more healthy
- Try something new. Don't just go for the familiar when you shop. Once a week, experiment with something new, for example, an exotic fruit, an unusual vegetable or a fish you've not tried before
- If you've always boiled a certain vegetable, try roasting it or grilling it. Different cooking methods bring out different tastes and can keep regular meals interesting
- Experiment with your own fruit smoothies and juices. Make lots so you've always got some in the fridge. Try natural alternatives to processed or refined foods - use honey instead of sugar to sweeten things, for instance
- Keep a supply of pre-prepared vegetables so you don't have the hassle of cleaning and peeling them when you're in a rush or can't be bothered to cook
- If someone isn't a fan of certain vegetables, hide them in tasty sauces
- If you find muesli boring, liven it up with extra fruit, honey, or yoghurt instead of milk
- Make cooking and eating sociable - get others to join you in the kitchen so the preparation of meals is more entertaining. Make 'sharing' meals so that everyone is encouraged to try different dishes
- If you're trying to lose weight, use a smaller plate to eat from. A smaller meal will appear larger in comparison and make you feel like you've had something more substantial
It's worth remembering, the key to a healthy diet isn't to ban any foods but to balance what you eat by enjoying a good variety of things - and trying to adhere to these few golden rules.
- Try to eat a balanced diet incorporating all of the food groups
- Eat lots of fruit and veg
- Eat more fish
- Cut down on saturated fat and sugar
- Try to eat less salt - no more than 6g a day
- Drink plenty of water
- Don't skip breakfast!
Before beginning any new exercise regime or changing your diet, it may be advisable to consult your doctor for their opinion