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Easy ways to refresh your food habits

Bored of all the same meals and snacks? Nutritionist Sarah Boykett shares some tips for mixing up your healthy eating routines.

Greek yogurt granola mango parfait

Variety is one of the key components to our dietary guidelines, giving us the best chance of getting all our essential nutrients. But just as importantly, it is the spice of life! We enjoy our food so much more when we have variety.

Here are a few ideas to get you inspired to mix up your healthy eating routines.

Get creative with your favourites

There are plenty of healthy meals and snacks you probably have on high rotation. But to keep things exciting, why not try something a bit different? Swap your hummus for a white bean and dill dip, replace your usual almonds with a mix of walnuts, cashews or pecans, and switch the carrot and celery sticks for radishes, sugar snap peas or cucumber. How about a broad bean smash instead of avocado toast – live a little! Maybe throw some strawberries in a salad, or change up your breakfast to a bircher muesli or frittata.

Try different grains

We are hearing more and more about the benefits of wholegrains to help increase our fibre, B vitamins and minerals. But short of eating brown rice and grainy bread, how to include wholegrains can get people stumped. Barley makes a really good replacement for risotto rice and like freekeh is great in salads. A tabbouleh style salad with freekeh or barley is delicious and great for lunches. Don’t forget the humble rolled oat either which is so versatile for breakfast from bircher muesli to a breakfast apple crumble with yoghurt.

Tip: Find out more about the most popular and delicious ancient grains to try.

Have fun with fruit

When the ‘quitting sugar’ movement took hold, people became afraid to eat fruit, which is sad, because fruit is so great for our health. Fruit is full of fibre, vitamins, phytonutrients and antioxidants essential for good health and preventing chronic disease. Try adding a juicy burst of fruit to salads, breakfasts and desserts, or mix up a batch of delicious fruit salad to enjoy.

Stop obsessing and second guessing

Stop obsessing about what you should eat. If you feel like a burger, eat one. If you eat cake with (gasp!) butter and sugar in it – don’t waste your time feeling guilty. We all know by now that restricting ourselves leads to obsession and guilt. So let’s stop this now.

All food has value. It may be purely for enjoyment – that is valid too. We need be kinder to ourselves and lose the ‘health’ food obsession, as it can sometimes lead to the opposite, especially for our mental health.

Enjoy your food and absorb the benefits

Make mealtimes enjoyable by taking your time to tune into your appetite and eat what you feel like and enjoy. Swap eating at your desk for eating with friends in the lunchroom or outside. This can help you to take a well-earned break from the screen and enjoy the practice of breaking bread with your colleagues or a friend you have been meaning to catch up with in real life.

Tip: Learn more about the art of mindful eating.

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