Everywhere I look, people are going big and going hard in the pursuit of their health and fitness goals.
That approach might be suitable or necessary for some people but frankly, it’s kinda scary for anyone who’s not prepared to toss brunch, coffee, weekend sleep-ins or anything else they hold dear overboard. Furthermore, doing so is not always going to be sustainable.
The good news: making small changes to your existing routine can have an impact. You mightn’t see huge, visible, Instagram-fodder results, but that doesn’t mean you’re not doing your health a big favour.
Easy food tweaks
1. Say no to a cheap upsize when ordering takeaway
A simple ‘No, thanks’ will save you from an “unnecessary increase in total and saturated fat,” says Katherine Baqleh, an Accredited Practising Dietitian from Health Victory Nutrition Experts.
It’ll also prevent you from mindlessly eating when, let’s be honest, you’re probably not that hungry.
Watch: Maybe try this delicious Dani Venn recipe at home instead? (Post continues after video.)
2. Choose skim milk over full cream in your coffee
Your beloved latte will deliver the same amount of calcium and protein (and caffeine), just with less fat, Baqleh says.
3. Pick brown or Basmati rice
Making a stir-fry or curry (or, ah, ordering one from Menulog)? Swap your jasmine rice for for basmati or brown, as these varieties have a lower GI and will give you a slower release of energy.
4. Share your dessert
I know, I know — but fitting dessert in after a ol’ big restaurant meal can be a challenge for even the mightiest sweet tooth. Baqleh recommends going halvies with a friend; this way, you’ll get the sugar hit with half the calories.
Sharing is caring... (Image: iStock)
5. Save chips for a treat snack
Fact: potato chips are delicious. Another fact: they're not exactly an "every day" kind of snack. For most days, choose an alternative.
"Enjoy a handful of nuts and seeds, popcorn or roasted Moroccan chickpeas instead of potato crisps - [you'll get] more protein and fibre and less saturated fat," Baqleh says.
6. Bake your potato
As the ancient proverb goes, 'A life without potato is a very sad life indeed'. So don't banish your beloved starch altogether — just go for a baked tater instead of hot chips as a side at dinner time (less fat, more fibre and protein).
To go a step further, Baqleh recommends adding some steamed veggies and salad.
You can't tell me baked potatoes aren't delicious. (Image: iStock)
7. Go for dark chocolate over milk or white
As a lifelong milk chocolate devotee, I'm never going to tell you to stop eating it forevermore. That would be insane. But! If you have a regular chocolate habit, consider choosing a dark variety most of the time.
"You will satisfied on a smaller amount, and it has heart health benefits," Baqleh says.
8. Make water your go-to drink
Saw this one coming, didn't you? "Replace juice and soft drinks with water or light milk (less sugar and less processing)," Baqleh says.