Food writer and author of The Goodness of Nuts & Seeds, Natalie Seldon has this advice for refreshing your diet this spring…
EAT THE RAINBOW
Sweep away the dull winter with spring’s colourful fruits and vegetables; a great way to load up on fibre, vitamins and other disease-fighting compounds. The pigments that give fruits and vegetables their colour are vital antioxidants. Include three or more colours in each meal; scramble eggs with spinach and red pepper, add strawberries and apricots to green salads, brighten up sandwiches with shredded carrot and rocket, and blend blueberries, peaches and banana into smoothies.
Make a commitment to regularly preparing fresh food and eating it at the table – cute placemats and all. Firstly, you’re worth it. Secondly, your body will thank you. Eating in front of the TV significantly increases your calorie intake, plus nutritional research evidence shows that eating out, or relying on ready-meals are almost always more likely to provide higher mounts of salt, unhealthy fats and calories than a meal you prepare yourself. Plus, once you have the store cupboard essentials, you’ll actually save money prepping at home. Bonus!
GET YOUR CRUNCH ON
Nourish yourself by including one of the hottest health trends of 2017, nuts and seeds to your diet. These versatile little guys pack a powerful nutritional punch, being high in healthy fats, fi bre and calcium, whilst providing an abundance of antioxidants and minerals. And just to help matters, their gratifying versatility and moreish richness lend themselves to a myriad of both savoury and sweet dishes, allowing us to conjure up all kinds of culinary magic on any given day. My new book The Goodness of Nuts & Seeds is full of simple and delicious recipe ideas. (Available now via Amazon, most book stockists and Chic et Tralala, Hollybush, Sevenoaks).
It’s official, the healthiest diets in the world have one very important thing in common – they’re all based on plant foods rather than meat. Overwhelming evidence from studies around the world proves that plant foods are your most powerful allies in protecting against several lifestyle-related diseases such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease. Veganism has surged by 35% and is gaining serious momentum. Eating a diet high in veggies, beans, fruits and healthy oils, as well as fish and whole grains – aka the Mediterranean diet – is good for your brain as well as your bod. Shift towards a plant based diet by swapping legumes, meaty veg and tofu for animal products a few meals per week, or try meat-free Monday.
Using fresh herbs is a great way to add extra flavour to your meals along with getting plenty of health benefits. For example coriander helps remove heavy metals from the body, parsley is rich in immune boosting vitamin C, and rosemary and sage are excellent memory enhancers. Fill your cupboards with healthy alternatives and buy seasonal produce as they are more likely to be even more nutrient dense, as well as more affordable.
Start your day off right with a glass of water and a freshly squeezed lemon or lime. This is a fantastic way to improve your digestion, alkalize your body, and boost your vitamin C levels to support healthy immune function and radiant skin.
EAT YOUR WORDS
To change the way you think about food and bring the joy back into eating, you need to rethink the way you talk about it. Referring to any food as ‘good’ or ‘bad’ has no place in a healthy, balanced approach to eating. As a food writer, I know many people struggle to make peace with eating certain foods as we are programmed by the world around us to use powerful language to describe a range of food we eat. Indeed, an interesting change happens when you remove these negative connotations – you don’t feel the need to hastily shovel food in, or go back for seconds before your conscience catches up with you. You actually enjoy these foods even more, and therefore require them less. Win win!