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SIMPLE STEPS TO HEALTHY EATING – WITH SOME INSTANT RESULTS!

I like to think that I wear the trousers in our household, but when it comes to cooking Simon – the food loving husband –  definitely wears the (frilly) apron. He’s a bit of a gourmet and, as you know, loves making beef jerky, which is great, however, he does have a tendency when cooking to be a bit unhealthy, he’s a bit too liberal with the butter.

So when I decided that it was time to get beach body ready and change my eating habits, my first job was to convince him to change his cooking habits. There was no way he was going to get on board with this new idea if the meals were going to be boring and bland. He’s fussy at the best of times & refuses to eat the same meal in the same week. Thankfully though he loves a challenge and once I’d laid down the culinary gauntlet he was away like a bloodhound on a good scent and relished the idea of making healthy food taste really delicious.

It’s not rocket science knowing what is right and wrong in terms of food choices – but it’s an entirely different ball game trying to put theory in to practice, especially in a way that is going to be truly sustainable.

So here are the steps that got us going and I’m pleased to say they’ve held us in pretty good stead.

Step one: Banish the bad stuff

Go on have one last binge – gorge yourself on those leftover pies, that hunk of chocolate cake and that last packet of Hobnobs. Or bin it, take it to the food bank, whatever, but just make sure the kitchen is free of all the obviously unhealthy processed food and indulgent goodies – that gorgeous ice cream, the sweets and crisps and don’t forget that luxury variety box of chocolate biscuits left by your granny.

Step two: Meet the macros (If It Fits Your Macros)

Macros – or macronutrients to give them their grown up name – are in every food we eat. There are three types – protein, carbs and fats. The key here is to eat your macros in the right proportions. 

Protein foods should make up the bulk of your total food intake for the day. You then add in a moderate amount of carbs and a little fat. 

Stocking up

So when you go shopping, make sure you take a shopping list (or create a new online shopping trolley) and stock up on the following foods. Be really disciplined about what you put in your basket.

High Protein foods and healthy snacks

Chicken & turkey, lean beef and pork, fish, prawns, eggs, protein rich yoghurts, cottage cheese, nuts & plenty of jerky & skinny salamis (protein snacks)!

Good Carbs

Fibrous Vegetables of all kinds like broccoli, cabbage and kale.  Sweet potatoes, wholegrain bread, brown rice & pasta, tinned beans & pulses (like lentils, chick peas, butter beans) quinoa, porridge oats, whole fruit.

Good fats

All nuts & seeds, avocado, olives, peanut butter, cooking oils – olive, canola, macadamia & coconut oil, and oily fish like mackerel, tuna, sardines, salmon, trout, anchovies are also brilliant.

Step 3 – Know what you’re eating

Have you got a selective memory? Do you “choose” to forget the half a bottle of wine you have each evening? Or do you sometimes slip a sneaky Snickers bar in to your shopping basket? Go on admit it. We’ve been there too. OK, once in a while it’s fine, but if you are doing this every day, the calories will begin to add up and knowing the real calorific impact of alcohol, and the odd chocolate bar is really scary. 

If you think about it our grandparents ate a lot less than we do now. Our general sense of portion control is…well frankly, out of control. We’re just pigs. We need to get back to eating sensible amounts. This is why tracking (weighing) the food you eat and drink is really helpful during this “transition” stage as there is no better way to gain a clear picture of how much you are eating. 

The easiest and by far the most fun way of tracking your food is to use a fitness app. We use MyFitnessPal, but there are lots of others on the market.

Step 4 – Plan your meals & snacks

We’re not the most organised of families but we found that roughly planning our meals for the week was a great help in the early stages. It means you buy the right foods, in the right amounts and you waste less. I found this was especially important as I wasn’t used to buying so many high protein foods all at once.

But if you are struggling, start with one meal at a time – breakfast first.  Breakfast should be your first high protein, healthy meal of the day. Try things like boiled eggs or scrambled egg with spinach and a slice of brown toast. Once you’ve nailed your breakfast, think about how you improve your lunch and supper. Take it at your own pace.

If you’re great at bunging a few things together last minute then you’re lucky and eating like this will come quite naturally.

We’ve always loved grazing in our house. We’re so often out and about so we need to make sure we have plenty of high protein, low carb snacks to keep us going throughout the day.  Nuts, jerky, biltong, salami sticks are all good choices!

Step 5 – Create delicious, tasty healthy food so you can sustain your diet easily

Simon is having a ball in the kitchen, creating all sorts of quick and tasty delicious, healthy recipes. I’m also getting better at cooking so if I can do it, so can you! We’ve got some recipes on our website, but if you’re feeling all at sea, and need some further inspiration, check out some of these websites and books. They’re great and will get your creative juices flowing.

Jo Wicks #Leanin15, Hemsley & Hemsley “The Art of Eating Well” , Jamie Oliver, Yotam Ottolenghi (our hero), Ching-He Huang (healthy Chinese cooking), or the BBC Good Food Website are all good places to start.

Step 7 – Exercise won’t make up for a bad diet

Exercise is really important, because it helps build muscle, releases endorphins, burns calories and helps with stress.

However,  they say that abs are made in the kitchen and its true. If you spend hours in the gym, without changing your diet, you will never progress.

So that’s not too complicated is it? And if we can do it, I’m sure you can.

This new way of eating has done wonders for me but it’s also transformed Simon – he looks better, feels better, has lost a ton of weight, but thankfully is still wearing his apron, albeit a couple of sizes smaller.

Any questions – please fire away.

Bye for now.

x

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Recipes

We believe that healthy food should taste (and make you feel) amazing. Here are some delicious everyday recipes which use our yummy 100% natural Love Lean Salamis and Jerky.

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