8 Easy Swaps with Big Health Results
Change does not need to be hard. Small changes over time which you stick with are the key to big results in the long term. Here is a list of eight easy swaps you can make to enhance your health and quality of life.
Make Movement Fun
Are you participating in a form of exercise because you think you ‘should’ but hate every moment? Now is the time to make a swap for a type of training which challenges you and is fun. Why not try something like BodyPump for resistance training and to tick cardio you may enjoy something like Zumba. When exercise feels fun it is much easier to train harder and you won’t even notice.
How often do you make time for movement? 30-60 minutes a day for health is a key component of health. This does not need to be all at once and can be incidental exercise e.g. try taking the stairs rather than the escalator, park further from work or even try walking or cycling to work if possible.
Tune into Your Hunger Cues
We are surrounded by food and advertisement for food. This can make it easy to switch off from our hunger cues. Before you decide to eat try taking a moment to tune into your hunger cues. Are you hungry or is it boredom, stress or simply seeing an ad for a burger? Also, thirst is sometimes mistaken for hunger. You can check if you are drinking enough be seeing the colour of your urine. Aim for a pale-yellow colour and if it is darker this is your body telling you to drink more fluids.
Make Friends with Your Kitchen
Eating out and home delivery is becoming so accessible it is easy to forget that you have a kitchen. Cooking at home gives you more control over the ingredients and cooking methods as well as saves you money.
Swap Chips for Nuts
Having a snack can be a great way to meet your needs over a day. If you are one of the many that grab a bag of chips when you settle down to watch TV after work or school in the afternoon why not try a handful of nuts instead? You will be giving your body protein, carbohydrates as well as healthier fats to support the health of your heart. The fibre in the nuts will also help to keep the munchies away for longer. 30g or a small handful counts as one serve of lean meat alternative. If possible, aim for nuts without added sugar or salt to help promote healthy blood pressure.
Fall in Love with Wholegrains
Refined grains lack the fibre, vitamins, and minerals that wholegrains give your body. Wholegrains also are a food source of the health promoting microbes in your gut. These help every part of your body to function at its best and its important to keep your health promoting microbes alive. Wholegrains include brown rice, black rice, red rice, wholegrain pasta, and couscous, wholegrain containing foods like Corn Thins slices, and quinoa just to name a few.
Include a few Meat Free Meals
Many people overconsume meat, especially red meat which has a type of fat called saturated fat. Eating too much saturated fat can raise your ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol to a level which can negatively impact your heart health. By swapping a few meals each week for plant-based proteins you will not only be reducing the amount of saturated fat in your diet but also increasing your dietary fibre. This can help promote optimal cholesterol levels and support your heart health. Ideas could be making a taco mince using red kidney beans instead of beef mince, try grilling tofu on the BBQ instead of a steak, or using textured vegetable protein instead of pork or beef in your spaghetti bolognaise.
Swap Larger Plates and Bowls for Smaller Ones
It is true what they say is that we eat with our eyes. If your bowls are smaller but filled this will make you feel fuller than if you partially fill a larger bowl or plate. It also helps you to eat less as you cannot fill your bowl or plate as much. Also, aim for plain white colours as the coloured red can make you want to eat more and is why restaurants and fast-food chains often use this colour.