Healthy Eating

Healthy eating the ultimate guide

Healthy eating the ultimate guide

In Healthy eating the ultimate guide, I’ll explore everything from the dos and don’ts, to the must-buys, hottest trends and just how healthy eating became trendy!

Healthy eating isn’t as boring as it might sound! Once you nail the tips and tricks to make healthy eating a doddle, you’ll be surprised at just how easy making healthy choices around food and drink actually is.

Healthy eating the ultimate guide covers:

  1. How healthy eating became cool
  2. New healthy eating brands
  3. The war on sugar
  4. Why are superfoods ‘super’?
  5. Going booze-free
  6. Fasting – the ‘diet’ of choice
  7. We are obsessed with nut butter
  8. Healthy food, delivered
  9. Eating with intolerances became easy

How healthy eating became cool

The healthy eating scene has monumentally changed over the last few years, with healthy options no longer relegated to hidden-away shelves and ‘health food’ shops. Healthy eating is finally cool, in part thanks to the bloggers of Instagram and their #foodporn hashtags.

With their pic-worthy foodie snaps filling our Instagram feeds, the Insta stars are helping us eat and think healthier. These men and women don’t need columns in magazines and newspapers to spread the word, they’re in our phones for free and provide us with endless recipes, healthy-eating inspo and tips to make healthy eating easy.

Some of our favourite Insta stars for healthy eating ideas are Clean Eating Alice, London Paleo Girl and The Body Coach. Check out our Q&A with Clean Eating Alice; our Q&A with London Paleo Girl or download your free e-book from The Body Coach.

For the unfamiliar, The Body Coach – AKA Joe Wicks is possibly Instagram’s biggest healthy-eating hitter, known for his transformative 90-day SSS Plan and love of midget trees (broccoli!). Never one to shy away from a challenge, we tried his plan. Find out how we got on in 90 days to lean: part 1, 90 days to lean: part 2 and 90 days to lean: part 3.

New healthy eating brands

Instagram is also, in part, responsible for the emergence of new, smaller healthy eating brands, which aren’t always stocked in the big supermarkets. These young start-ups garner cult-like followings based on the quality of their products and their ability to get into the right influencers’ hands. Found at the hottest health and fitness industry launches and events, these young brands are just a click away once they’re in our phones and pockets.

As consumers we’re no longer faced with the same traditional big brands, there is now a huge diversity in the healthy food options you can get your hands on. And it’s no longer just a case of low-fat and fat-free products – which are often actually loaded with salt and sugar and never taste as good as full fat – the healthy eating offerings are tasty, interesting and good for you.

Often using fewer but recognisable ingredients, and steering away from e-numbers, fillers and stabilisers, a lot of the new products still hit the spot without the post-treat sugar low or mood swings. Even protein powders are getting a look in, check out our fave new protein brands.

The war on sugar

This leads us nicely onto the war against sugar. Like fat (which we now know isn’t all bad for us, just certain types – monounsaturated, we’re looking at you), sugar is caught in the crosshairs of healthy-eating campaigners, and this time, quite rightly.

We’re a nation hooked on the sweet stuff, consuming over one million tonnes a year; that’s an average of 15 teaspoons a day, each! Forget what you think you know about fat being the reason the UK is tipping the scales to become one of the most overweight nations; refined sugar is the real cause. Slammed for being a major cause of obesity, type 2 diabetes and early death, it’s not a bad thing that a lot of us are making healthier choices around sugar: looking for ways to reduce sugar in our diets and opting for sugar alternatives.

So bad has our addiction to sugar become, the UK government confirmed an introduction of a ‘sugar tax’ in its 2016 budget, which was levelled mainly at fizzy drinks companies and their effect on children and teenagers. The fight against obesity, especially childhood obesity, should hopefully see a boost thanks to the new tax, which is set to be introduced in 2018.

Going sugar-free doesn’t have to be hard, at first it can take a little getting used to, but the body benefits speak for themselves: alongside reducing your risk of the big hitters like type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol, you may also experience clearer skin, better moods and improved sleep, alongside the obvious weight-loss benefits of reducing your intake.

Why are superfoods ‘super’?

Not long ago, good-for-you foods were just that, good.for.you, but in recent years these body-boosting, nutrient-rich foods have become SUPERfoods! In part a useful buzzword for the super-duper healthy foods that top the ORAC value scale (that’s the free-radical-fighting antioxidant scale) like, blueberries and dark chocolate, and in part an excuse to put a huge price tag on ingredients – think matcha and goji berries!

However not all superfoods come with a hefty price tag, the best budget superfoods do exist, and you can add superfoods to basically anything to boost its health-giving properties: try these top 5 superfood soups or add these superfoods you need in your smoothie to get more bang for your buck.

Going booze-free

Alongside a healthier approach to our eating habits, a lot of people have reflected on their alcohol consumption, making a conscious effort to cut down, or out completely. Booze-free stints are no longer relegated to Dry Jan, we’ve also got Dry July and Sober October now, to make a mid-year reset easier.

The health benefits of reducing your alcohol intake are plentiful, from improving your mood, sleep and complexion, to the more obvious body benefits of cutting back on the calorific high-sugar tipples.

Ditching the vino and reframing your relationship with alcohol just became cool, with lifestyle journo Ruby Warrington promoting ‘sober curious’ in her blog, The Numinous: ‘There’s a reason sobriety is in, and it’s because it feels amazing. Blissful, even. Within days of alcohol leaving your system, you become aware of how much more at peace you feel in your body.’

Also helping men and women reassess their relationship with booze is Club Soda – the mindful drinking movement. Set up by former politician Laura Willoughby to help men and women cut back on or give up booze, the alcohol-free space has suddenly become a lot more inviting, and a lot cooler.

With more and more brands concocting delicious non-alcoholic drinks, it’s easy to see why so many of us are switching it up and looking at reducing our intake. Cheers!

Fasting – the ‘diet’ of choice

With a 2016 Mintel study revealing that two thirds of Brits are on a diet ‘most of the time’ and of those surveyed, 57% of women had tried to lose weight in the last year, it’s no wonder that dieting is still big news. But the face of weight-watching is changing…step up intermittant fasting (IF). Touted by Doctor Micheal Mosley as a highly effective way to boost your health as well as shrink your waist, his book The Fast Diet, topped the bestseller list for much of 2013 and revolutionised the way people eat.

Since the 1940s, fasting has been recognised for its health-boosting benefits, from reducing your risk of developing diabetes, dementia and cancer to improving your brain function and blood sugar control. In Doctor Mosley’s book the solution to better health and weight loss was laid out simply: eat normally for five days and fast for two. Fasting was 500 calories for women and 600 for men. Intermittent fasting is typically easier to follow than traditional ‘diets’ as no one food group is restricted; it sends your body into repair mode, healing damaged cells so that your organs can work to their optimal function once again.

The 5:2 diet has become the go-to food plan for people who like to eat! Restricting your intake two times a week and eating normally the rest of the time ticks a lot of boxes for people, and gets results.

In 2017 Doctor Mosley released The Blood Sugar Diet, in which he updated the fasting restrictions to 800 calories on fast days: ‘You don’t need to stick to 600 calories. Cutting down to 800 calories a day seems to be almost as effective and for some people much more ‘doable’. It’s low calorie, without being super low-calorie. And if you want to have lunch, you can slip those extra 200 calories in there,’ he explains.

We are obsessed with nut butter

Now we’re all finally on the same page about fats (most of them are good for you!), we’re going nutty for nut butter. Moving away from the peanut butters we grew up with as kids – the ones packed with sugar and salt – nut butters now offer a high-protein, fibre-packed, good-fat-rich option to slather on toast and oatcakes or just elbow-deep-eat-it-from-the-jar scoffing.

The peanut butter industry grew a whopping 11% between 2015 and 2016 and now household favourites like Meridian and Whole Earth have been joined by new kids on the block like Pip & Nut. Peanut butter is no longer the golden child, with other nuts like almond and cashew taking starring roles, as well as seed butters getting a look in too.

Traditionally loaded onto toast, nut butters are now added to most self-respecting post-workout protein shakes and have even moved into the on-the-go market, making nut butters a real all rounder. Here are some of the best nut butters.

Our obsession with nut butters shows no signs of easing up, thankfully!

 Healthy food, delivered

If you thought healthy eating was all too much bother then you’ll be pleased to know that there are a ton of healthy-eating companies that deliver direct to your door. Food prep just got a whole lot easier, and if you’re not a master chef, a whole lot tastier!

From companies for the fitness-focused, which cater for all your macro needs, to those that provide exciting recipes and meal boxes for the busy among us, there’s something for everyone.

Some of our favourites include Hello Fresh, which really does take the hassle out of inspiring midweek meals with its weekly boxes packed with all the ingredients you need to whip up its recipes of the week. Whether you’re a singleton, couple or family, meat-lover or veggie, there’s a box to suit. There’s not a dull meal in sight, instead your tastebuds will be treated to recipes like Thai Spiced Stargazer with Black Rice, Bok Choi and Coconut, and Cumin Roast Chicken with Patatas Bravas and Charred Courgettes. Delish! We caught up with Hello Fresh to find out more.

If you’re fitness-focused then Fresh Fitness Food is a great choice for you. Designed by nutritionists to ensure all your healthy eating needs are covered, simply choose your plan, from Comp Prep to Fat Loss these meticulously designed meals will help you hit all your body goals. If you’re feeling peckish and need a little help with making your meals healthier then check out our pick of the best healthy convenience foods.

We told you it was simple!

Eating with intolerances became easy

Not so long ago if you suffered from a food allergy or intolerance, eating out was a real challenge, and grabbing snacks and food on the go was near impossible. But times have (finally) changed and if you’re following a gluten- or dairy-free diet these days, there’s a wealth of options to choose from.

With specific ‘free-from’ options being more readily available in supermarkets and foodie Insta stars revealing gluten and dairy-free alternatives in their recipes, there are suddenly a lot more ways to enjoy eating with an intolerance. Restaurants and food outlets have also got on board – check out our best places to eat with an allergy for ideas.

Here are 5 dairy-free products we love and tips on how to go gluten free. Enjoy!