Summer is just around the corner, so start making the switches and swaps that will prepare your body for beach season and get your health in peak form.
A summer full of energy and confidence is exactly what we all want and embarking on an active, healthy lifestyle now is the best way to achieve it.
TIP 1: Switch buying your lunchtime meals from nearby eateries for homemade pack-ups instead
You will have greater control over the ingredients and portion size. Be proactive with leftovers from last night's dinner – always make extra when you cook up something healthy. For snack time, chop up apple, cucumber, carrot and celery to bring along in your bag and I never leave the house without a stash of nuts.
TIP 2: Ditch simple, empty carbohydrates in favour of gluten-free grains such as quinoa, buckwheat, millet or brown rice
Many are high in protein and do a better job at keeping your energy levels up throughout the day. They are all easy to make, (just like rice) and taste delicious mixed with ingredients like chopped cucumber, toasted almonds, dried apricots, roasted butternut squash, pomegranate seeds, mint leaves, sunflower seeds, feta cheese and pine nuts.
TIP 3: Ditch jam on your toast in favour of avocado or nut butters on gluten-free bread
Most traditional breakfast ‘spreads’ are full of sugar and it is so much better to start your morning with good fats that will keep you going all day.
Contrary to popular belief, the right kinds of fats are important to our diet and avocados and nuts are a great way to be sure we are getting our fill of those nutrient-dense and energy-packed foods.
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TIP 4: Try swapping two of your meat-centered meals per week with plant-based meals
You don’t have to be vegan or vegetarian to be healthy but the more of the green stuff you eat the better you’ll feel and look. So, embrace Meatless Mondays and then choose one other day of the week to consistently have a veggie-based meal.
TIP 5: Switch cow’s milk for delicious alternatives like almond milk or coconut milk
Sip them on their own, add them to porridge, use them on cereal or mix them with chia seeds, nuts and chopped fruit for the ultimate chia seed puddings.
TIP 6: Ditch buying packaged food full of ingredients you don’t recognise
Instead, head to your local farmers’ market or vegetable stall to pick fresh produce that has come straight from the ground. No additives, no chemicals, no marketing – just colourful, simple food, perfect for making healthy meals or juices.
TIP 7: Switch up the venue for your evening hangout with girlfriends
Why not head to the gym for a class, try a Pilates studio together or bring in a personal trainer to your home - it'll be fun and far better for your waistline than going out for a heavy dinner or the pub.
TIP 8: Ditch the diet
It's very detrimental to yo-yo your weight just before a holiday, so anticipate these changes well in advance and try to alter your lifestyle ahead of time… for good.
It is always good to have a meal plan for your week ahead and to prep as much food as possible in advance to make life easier for those days when you are in a rush or short on time. Use your freezer as much as possible to stock up on pre-cooked dishes and make sure you fill your cupboards with good, whole foods. If there is nothing bad to reach for, nothing bad will be eaten!