Monday 8 February 2016

How to stay healthy + what to eat? Realistic tips and 'hunger hacks'!

Hey, beauties! Today, I'd like to talk a little bit about healthy eating. I'll be the first to admit - I used to be one of those people who is 'always on a diet'. Always chasing that perfect weight, trying to cut down on sugar and get fit... I used to obsess over every calorie I consumed, denying myself any real snacks and proper meals. It helped me lose weight, yes, but it definitely didn't make me a happier person. Eventually, I've realised something very important - that being healthy isn't about refusing yourself all the food you love. It's about balance. Let's face it - no food will ever be as delicious and satisfying as a cheese-loaded pizza, Nutella pancakes or a bar of Toblerone. There is no point in denying yourself the things you enjoy, but it's good to have them in moderation. Cutting out entire food groups and your favourite treats will just make you crave them more. Of course, I'm not trying to promote living entirely off fast foods and sugar, but it can be difficult to strike the right balance. Today, I'd like to share with you a few tips and tricks I've learned over the years that help me stay healthy, and make it possible to achieve that balance. Hope you find them useful!

1. Green tea IS life!
Green tea is my favourite drink ever, and I can't imagine my daily routine without it. Whilst it doesn't directly affect weight loss; green tea really helps to boost the metabolism and curb the appetite. I have a cup every morning with my breakfast, which is a great way to kick-start the day. I also find that green tea is really effective at combating late-night cravings - whenever I feel a little peckish, but don't want to eat; a cup of green tea will completely suppress my appetite for sugar. The flavour may not be for everyone, but there are ways of making it a little better - try adding a spoonful of honey, or a slice of lemon! I also recommend that you try loose leaf green tea, as opposed to supermarket teabags - you get more of the 'real' product that way. My personal favourite is green tea with quince fruit by BigActive - it's really refreshing, fruity and delicious. Other brands that are worth considering include Pukka (they offer some quality teabags), Teapigs, Malwa and Yogi

2. It's all about protein!
If you find yourself feeling hungry all day, it could be because there isn't enough protein in your meals. I read a blog post the other day about a girl who was trying to lose weight by eating only fruits and vegetables. She ended up passing out on the fourth day, and had to go to a hospital. As it turns out, her diet didn't provide her with enough protein and nutrients, and her body simply couldn't keep up. I like to think of protein as our main 'fuel' - every single cell in the human body contains it, and therefore it's vitally important to include it in our diet. Furthermore, high-protein meals keep you feeling full for a long time - foods such as meat, fish, yoghurt, eggs and beans are all good sources of it. My personal favourite 'protein bomb' breakfast consists of natural yoghurt mixed with a sliced banana and cereal - it's not only delicious, but it also keeps me feeling four for at least four to five hours!

3. Snack alternatives?
As I mentioned earlier in this post, I don't believe in denying yourself the things you love (no matter how calorific they might be!) - as long as you enjoy them in moderation. I still like to have some healthier options available for whenever I want to change up my diet and 'detox' a little. I find that a lot of the healthier snacks can be a little bland-tasting, but there are still a few brands that are definitely worth considering. The Nakd healthy snack bars by Natural Balance Foods are one of the few low-calorie alternatives that I actually enjoy. These bars are made from raw fruits and nuts, and will keep you feeling full for much longer than a typical sugary snack would. When Natural Balance Foods kindly sent me a selection of their bars to try, I was completely overwhelmed by the variety of flavours available. There really is something for everyone - my personal favourites include Pecan Pie, Cocoa Orange (which tastes just like Terry's chocolate orange!), and Berry Delight. 

4. Healthy smoothies
Smoothies are a great way of sneaking in some extra vitamins and healthy nutrients into your diet. This applies especially to foods that some of us are unlikely to eat otherwise, such as kale or spinach. There are countless amounts of smoothie recipes available on the internet, although I like to keep mine pretty simple. My favourite 'go-to' smoothie ingredients include frozen berries, bananas, mango and orange juice. You can also add a little bit of yoghurt or milk for extra protein, although I wouldn't recommend smoothies as a regular meal replacement. They are great as an afternoon pick-me-up, or an occasional breakfast on-the-go. If you want to make your smoothies a little more filling, try adding a tablespoon of peanut butter (works really well with banana smoothies!), chia seeds, oats or some full fat yoghurt. 

What are your favourite ways to stay healthy?


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