The beginning of a new year can prompt us to make some important changes in our lives, such as finally getting fit or losing weight. This year, to help you achieve your goals, why not focus your efforts on what you are eating? Here are five ways to boost your healthy eating in 2016:
1. Know your food
Being able to explain the journey between the farm and your dinner plate will help you and your family to have a healthy relationship with food. Why? Well, understanding how much effort, skill and labour goes into producing the food we consume helps us to be more mindful and appreciative when we’re eating it.
Growing your own fruit and vegetables, and if you have children encouraging them to get involved, is of course the best possible way to ensure you are eating food that’s fresh. There’s nothing quite like picking you own produce straight from a plant or tree you have planted yourself. You’re more likely to savour the food you’re eating and you will also be able to guarantee that it’s free from nasty chemicals! Additionally, you will not have to worry about how long the products have been in storage and how many food miles have been clocked up!
There’s a huge choice available now. Fruit and vegetable seeds and plants are readily obtainable from your local nursery. But if you want to purchase something more substantial like a fruit tree, it might be worth ordering online from a specialist supplier such as Ashridge Nurseries. Not only is there a much wider selection, but detailed information is available to help you make the right choice.
2. Set realistic goals
If you’re a fussy eater, it’s not realistic to expect you’d feel satisfied with a plate of food you’ve rarely even tried. Instead, boost your chances of success by giving yourself specific and achievable targets. Do you eat five portions of fruit and veg every day? If not, make that your first aim. Do you drink alcohol every day? Why not try to reduce your intake to specific days (within the recommended daily limits) rather than missing it altogether?
3. Stick within your budget
Occasionally, healthy food costs more than processed food. So why not make small adjustments to your expectations? Lean meat can be expensive, so prepare some meals with pulses, lentils and beans. In fact, there couldn’t be a better time to reduce the amount of meat on your plate: The UN General Assembly has declared 2016 the ‘International Year of Pulses’, explaining that pulses are “…a vital source of plant-based proteins and amino acids… and should be eaten as part of a healthy diet to address obesity, as well as to prevent and help manage… diabetes, coronary conditions and cancer”.
4. Understand what ‘healthy’ means
There are lots of myths surrounding what it means to be ‘healthy’ or ‘unhealthy’. In fact, it can be hard to sort fact from fiction, particularly with so many diet fads and trends in circulation! So, in order to boost your healthy eating in 2016, nail what it means. The NHS defines a healthy diet as being one that is balanced, which means eating a variety of food in the right proportions rather than excluding specific food groups. Why not take a look at the ‘eatwell plate’ to clear up confusion?
5. Find fun recipes
Finally, boost your chances of eating healthily this year by unearthing recipes that get your taste buds tingling. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can give you an opportunity to discover ingredients you’re about to fall in love with, and will really shake up your weekly routine! There are plenty of websites, apps and recipe books available for whatever strikes your fancy.
By Patrick Vernon on behalf of Ashridge Nurseries