Are you confused by the food messaging from media and advertising? We are too! That's why we've created this 7-day bulletproof healthy eating plan to create new and healthy eating habits.
We want to challenge you to pick up one of these habits each day over the next 7 days to create your own foundation for a healthy relationship with food.
Each of the following 7 habits is crucial for both weight loss, and the prevention of weight gain. Start today, and as these small steps build on themselves, you will take one large step towards a healthy future.
Day 1 - Organise your meals
Being organised and well prepared can make a huge difference to the quality of your diet. This includes habits such as planning your meals in advance, freezing healthy meals for a later date, shopping to a list, and always having healthy ingredients close at hand. It will save time, and reduce your reliance on last-minute food choices where healthy options can be hard to come by.
Useful tools such as the meal planning feature on the CSIRO Total Wellbeing Diet can also help to make life easier. It will map out your food week, providing recipes and shopping lists that ensure your food group targets and healthy meal plans are met.
Day 2 - Eat more vegetables
There's little doubt that one of the most important food habits to master is to include plenty of vegetables in your diet. They are packed with vitamins, minerals and other health-giving nutrients such as antioxidants and phytochemicals. They are also high in fibre, yet low in kilojoules, making them ideal for weight control.
All varieties of vegetables are healthy, although fibrous vegetables (like carrots, broccoli or brussel sprouts) are significantly lower in calories compared to starchy vegetables due to their high water content. In fact, fibrous vegetables are considered free foods on the Total Wellbeing Diet, because they have so few kilojoules that you can eat them whenever you like. Eating a higher proportion of vegetables in your diet also reduces the room for other higher kilojoules foods.
Day 3 - Drink more water, less sugar
There are a number of ways that drinking enough water can help you lose weight, including:
Less calories - It reduces your calorie intake, if you use it to replace high sugar drinks such as fruit juice, cordial, soft drink, sports drinks and energy drinks.
Less hunger - Filling your stomach with water can temporarily help to prevent hunger.
Less fatigue - Water helps your body function at its best, and is a transport agent for nutrients, oxygen and waste products. Staying well hydrated can ultimately help your metabolism.
Day 4 - Eat more unprocessed foods
Excessively processing food often removes it's fibre and nutrients, the substances that fill you up and nourish the body. Alternatively, whole foods tend to be richer in fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. They take longer to digest, filling you up more and providing longer lasting energy. Whole foods also tend to have a lower glycemic index, an important component of the Total Wellbeing Diet.
Choose wholegrain varieties of bread, pasta, rice and breakfast cereals. Snack on fruit instead of juice, biscuits, cakes or crisps, and avoid packaged snack foods where ever possible.
Day 5 - Moderate your alcohol intake
While alcohol can be a great compliment to food and social occasions, it can make weight loss hard to achieve. While you don't need to eliminate alcohol, but it's important to cut back and moderate your intake. Limit yourself to 1 – 2 small drinks on the days you do indulge.
Choose lower calorie drinks such as dry wines, light beers, spirits with diet mixers or wine spritzers (wine and soda water). Space out your drinks with a glass of water in between, and aim to do a little extra activity on the days you drink alcohol. It's also important to minimise the snack foods that often accompany alcohol, such as potato crisps, cheese and crackers, and creamy dips.
Day 6 - Eat more beans, peas and lentils
Legumes are the edible seeds that grow within pod producing plants such as chickpeas, lentils and beans. They are a good source of soluble fibre and plant proteins, making them a good choice for weight control. They are low in fat and salt, and contain slowly digested low glycemic index carbohydrates. Try to eat them at least 2-3 times a week by replacing some of the meat in your meals.
Canned varieties such as chickpeas and kidney beans eliminate the need for soaking, while lentils, black-eyed peas and split peas don’t need to be soaked at all, and are great in soups, burgers, stews and curries.
Day 7 - Eat slowly
Now that the quality of your diet is on the improve, shift a little focus towards how fast you eat. Fast eating is thought to reduce the release of appetite suppressing hormones, so you continue to eat for longer. Alternatively, eating slower gives your body time to register a feeling of fullness, and reduces the likelihood that you’ll overeat.
Try to spend a little more time enjoying your food. Take small bites and chew your food thoroughly, savouring the taste, aroma and texture of each mouthful. Have a small pause, or enjoy a small sip of water between mouthfuls. If you are going to eat a treat such as chocolate or ice cream, go extra slow. The Total Wellbeing Diet allows a small daily indulgence food, so really savour it over time.