As we enter the new year we are all looking for the ultimate diet from all the eating from the holiday season. You can now put a spring back in your step without taking extreme measures or sign yourself up to a gruelling regime.
The more gentle and lasting approach to take is tuning into what you body wants and needs now that the new year is well and truly upon us. If you are ready to pack away the sluggishness of the holiday season here are some top tips from nutritionist Zoe Bingley-Pullin, to spring clean your diet to feel lighter without eating less.
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Put Meat Free Monday on the menu
Plant-based diets are gaining popularity for their reported health benefits including cardiovascular health, blood sugar support, digestive health and weight management. A plant-based diet is high in vegetables, fruits, fibre and antioxidants whilst typically being lower in saturated and trans fats. A simple way to ease into this style of eating is partaking in Meat Free Monday. This doesn’t mean being left hungry with an empty plate; there are a variety of filling plant-based sources of protein to get creative with. Some healthy options include legumes, eggs, dairy, tofu, nuts and seeds. You will be surprised by the variety offered by this way of eating and how satisfying yet light it can feel.
Bulk out meals with vegetables
Over winter we may have felt reluctant to sit down to a large plate of salad or snack on chopped vegetables, as they are not the most comforting pick. To help you feel lighter without eating less, flip the balance of your plate. Try garnishing your salad with meat as opposed to making meat the main attraction. Add vegetables to smoothies, schedule in a daily vegetable juice and prep some vegetable based dips such as beetroot or sweet potato hummus to snack on.
Choose hydrating foods to reduce sluggishness
Adequate hydration is important to keep the metabolism firing, brain alert and removing waste from the body. Understandably dehydration can lead to feelings of fatigue and sluggishness. Other than keeping your eye on how much water you drink, select foods, which offer a high water content for added hydration. Such foods include cucumber, zucchini, lettuce, tomato, capsicum, leafy greens, brassica vegetables watermelon and strawberries.
We now know, the body benefits when we eat in season as food grown in season offers more nutrition and helps us stay in tune with what the body wants and needs. Visit the farmers market, talk to farmers and know where your food is coming from and what’s in season. Springtime offers an abundance of light and flavoursome produce such as blood orange, mandarin, pineapple, strawberries, asparagus, green beans, cauliflower leeks and snow peas.
Stick to the basics and don’t over complicate
Winter may be all about slow cooked dishes full of flavour to comfort the body and soul but its possible keep it simple with flavour still intact. Instead of heavy sauces and thick dressings, flavour dishes with fresh herbs and spices for not only taste but also added nutrition. Focus on seasonal produce, let the produce shine and don’t overcomplicate it. Aim for a mix of refreshing salads, stir-fry’s, vegetable based pasta dishes and healthy BBQ’s.
Salmon and Bok Choy Chilli Stir-Fry served with Fragrant Quinoa Recipe
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes
Cooking time: 5 minutes
450g salmon fillets, cut into 1cm slices
1 tsp. sesame oil
1 cup vegetable stock
2 small red chilli, deseeded and thinly sliced
2 tbsp. ginger, grated
2 garlic cloves, roughly crushed
2 bunches bok choy, washed and separate each leaf, cut in half lengthways
1 bunch a coriander, washed and roughly chopped
2 tbsp. tamari/soy
1 tbsp. honey
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 tbsp. sesame seeds, toasted
Heat wok to high heat, add ½ tbsp. of sesame oil, chilli, garlic and ginger, and cook the salmon for 3 minutes in a few tablespoons of stock. Add bok choy and cook until just wilted. Stir though soy and honey, add half the bunch of coriander, cooking for a further 2 minutes.
In a bowl, mix together the quinoa with the other half of the coriander and sesame oil.
Serve the salmon and bok choy on a large platter, on a bed of the fragrant quinoa and sprinkle with sesame seeds.