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Back to the basics

In my nutrition practice in London, I am always amazed to see how small changes to diet and nutrition make BIG differences to my clients' health. So let me take you back to the basics.

 

1. Portion Size

Wherever we look, dinner plates have gotten bigger and bigger as waistlines in many countries have commensurably grown in size. I can safely say that the average plate is now 11+ inches in diameter. Go ahead, measure it! For any meal at any given time, a reasonable size plate should be 7-8 inches in diameter. No more. And that plate, filled only once, should suffice for one meal. 

Eat healthy: portion size

Source: Elephant Journal

Eat healthy: portion size

Source: Tilt

2. The 50/25/25 rule

So, you’re probably thinking, what can you get away with on your plate? It’s really quite simple: 50% vegetables + 25% protein + 25% complex carbohydrates:

• Half of your plate should be composed of vegetables (yes, the green, orange, red, yellow, and purple stuff). Vegetables in all their goodness provide us with essential antioxidants and nutrients to ward off disease and keep us in good health. Everyone is aware of the “5-a-day” campaign but it takes effort and planning to reach that goal! So when you walk into your local grocery store, think color: carrots, beetroot, avocados, sweet peppers, sweet corn, pumpkin, leafy greens, tomatoes…the list is endless. 

• The 25% remaining on your plate should be a source of protein, which can be found in a wide variety of foods, including poultry, meat, fish, nuts and seeds and all varieties of beans, peas and lentils. As a good rule of thumb, your piece of meat or fish should be about the size of your palm. You can also lighten things up and go for vegetable protein instead, using chick peas or red kidney beans.

The last 25% should include complex carbohydrates, found in cereals and grains such as wheat, rye, corn, oats and rice. They are also in legumes such as peas, beans and lentils. 

3. Take your time

I know what you’re thinking…who has time to plan out eating? Or even eat regularly at all, when you’re on-the-go all the time and wolf down something whenever you can? We all need to eat nutritious, wholesome things to feed our bodies and minds. Take the time to think about what your body needs, prepare your own food (even if only once a day in the evening or on the weekend) and chew slowly. Eating slowly and chewing your food properly will lead to a better digestion (and less digestive upsets) and a sense of being “fuller” sooner (which also means that you will eat less).

4. Drink water 

Our bodies are composed of 60% water, an essential liquid for the day-to-day functions of our bodies (detoxification, blood and cell composition, urine and stool formation etc.). Our bodies need fresh water to cleanse and replenish our organs, circulatory system, and skin to name a few. So get drinking! Keep a bottle of water in your car, on your desk, on the kitchen counter, on the coffee table. If you see it, you will drink it! And if you get tired of drinking plain water, have some herbal tea or Green tea.

 

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