Easy ways to make your meals more nutritious
Looking for easy ways to improve your nutrition that won’t break the bank or take up precious time in the kitchen?
Here are 11 simple food hacks to boost health and make your meals more nutritious.
- Start the day with fresh lemon water instead of reaching straight for your morning tea or coffee. Lemons are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to support liver function and detoxification, improve digestion, reduce inflammation and boost skin health.
- Swap your morning toast or cereal for a nutritious smoothie bowl. Toast and cereals provide little in the way of nutrition, especially protein and healthy fats. A smoothie bowl is a smoothie eaten from a bowl (instead of drunk from a cup like a smoothie) and topped with nuts, seeds, granola or fruit. Smoothie bowls are super healthy and contain all the essential nutrients needed to kickstart your day. Try this simple smoothie bowl recipe.
- Add avocado to your smoothies to make them taste nice and creamy. Avocados are rich in fatty acids, minerals and vitamins to support bone health, protect skin against UV damage and promote healthy heart function. Another tip for making a good smoothie is to freeze your fruit, especially bananas and berries, as frozen fruit thickens smoothies and makes them cold.
- Season your foods with fresh herbs and spices instead of salt. Turmeric, ginger, cinnamon, rosemary, fenugreek, basil, peppermint, cumin and parsley are excellent options as they are rich in nutrients and contain properties to protect cells from damage and prevent disease.
- Swap refined grains to whole grains such as brown rice, buckwheat, oats, oatmeal, millet and barley. Refined grains include white flour, white bread, white rice and white pasta. Products made from refined grains are breakfast cereals, cakes, waffles, noodles, pastries, pies, pizza and biscuits. Refined grains have been stripped of nutrients, namely the brain and germ parts which contain fibre, B vitamins, healthy fats, vitamin E and trace minerals.
- Ditch margarine and damaged, refined oils like rapeseed, sunflower, soy bean, safflower, corn and vegetables oils. Use unrefined oils like extra virgin olive oil and avocado oil or coconut oil which is heat-stable. During the refining process, oils become oxidised and rancid, making them toxic to cells as they contain carcinogenic free radicals (unstable molecules that damage cells).
- Add a handful of greens to every meal – spinach, kale, rocket, broccoli, asparagus, Brussels sprouts and watercress are all great options. Green vegetables (especially from the cruciferous family) provide a rich source of sulforaphane – this is a compound that neutralises toxins, fights inflammation and improves liver detoxification. A great way to get greens in (particularly with kids) is via a green smoothie.
- Switch out butter and margarine for avocado or a nut butter (almond, cashew, hazelnut, walnut). Not only are they dairy-free alternatives, they taste better and are good for you! You can also use pure seed spreads such as tahini (ground sesame seeds), sunflower seed butter and pumpkin seed butter – these are great lunch box options at nut-free schools.
- Eat from a smaller plate to avoid overeating. Portion control is an important factor when it comes to healthy eating and it’s imperative if you’re trying to lose a few extra pounds. Using a larger plate can make you feel like you’re not eating enough, whereas using a small plate has the opposite effect.
- Leave your mobile phone in the bedroom when you’re eating. Eating mindfully without distractions is essential for efficient digestion. Take time out for lunch so you can focus on eating and chewing properly. Avoid eating on the run or at your desk whilst continuing to tap away on your computer.
- Flavour your water with a few slices of cucumber or a couple of fresh mint leaves. Sliced strawberries and crushed raspberries also work well in water. Ensure your drinking water is as pure as possible by using a high-quality water filter – bog-standard water filter jugs don’t cut it!