The pressures of life today have led to the development of convenience foods. How fantastic it is to pop into the supermarket and grab a meal in a box or a jar. All you have to do is add a few ingredients according to instructions. Porridge can be cooked in one minute; no more soaking overnight and vigilant stirring. This may seem like the answer to a busy cook’s prayers however there are many hidden “nutritional” dangers lurking within these products. Salt, sugar, additives, colourings, trans fats… substances which can all contribute to poor nutrition and weight gain.
Eat food close to its original state
Eating food as close to its original state is a good way to optimise nutrition. Fresh fruit and vegetables are the most obvious example. Organic produce is the best option but if this is not possible ensure your fruit and vegetables are well washed to reduce excess chemical residue. When it comes to cooking vegetables less is best! Lightly steaming or stir-frying are methods which help reduce the loss of vitamins during cooking.
One hint about maintaining weightloss through good nutrition is to remember that you can eat the skin of kiwi fruit, citrus fruit, potatoes and garlic. We often discard the most nutritious part of the fruit and vegetables. Kiwi fruit, citrus fruit, potatoes and garlic are all examples of food that contain additional nourishment in their skin. Grate the skin of citrus and add to cooking; bake potatoes and garlic in their skins for a tasty nutritious addition to the meal. The core of a pineapple and broccoli stalks are a good source of vitamins and minerals, as well as soluble fibre.
Limit fruit to three pieces a day
Increasing your intake of whole fruit and vegetables will assist in maintaining a balanced, healthy weight. Try to limit your intake of fruit to 3 pieces a day to reduce the intake of sugar, even if the sugar is unrefined. 5-7 serves of vegetables daily is the recommended intake for optimal health. One way of boosting this is to start the day with a vegetable juice. A juice should supplement your intake, not replace it because it does not provide the same level of fibre as the whole vegetable. Soluble fibre binds to cholesterol in the intestines which aids cardiovascular health. Fibre is also necessary for good elimination. A range of different colours on your plate ensures you are obtaining a variety of nutrients so eat a rainbow a day!