If eating better is at the top of your resolution list this year, you’re not alone; it’s one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions around the world and something many of us have on our minds after the indulgence of the festive period.
Eating well can be challenging, particularly when you consider the wide range of advice and diets promoted to us in the media. Sorting out your diet and eating healthier doesn’t need to be difficult or complicated – it’s as simple as choosing whole ingredients over processed and choosing foods that will nourish our bodies.
This year, forget fad diets – for a healthier 2016, start by incorporating these five foods:
The United Nations has named 2016 the International Year of Pulses, encouraging people from around the world to consider pulses their primary source of protein. Inexpensive, packed with protein and other nutrients, pulses are a great example of a food that can help you live healthier simply by adding them to your diet. They are easy to incorporate into dishes you already make and taste great as part of warming winter foods like chilli and lentil soup. There’s plenty of variety to choose from too: broad beans, garden peas, lentils and chickpeas are all readily available in your local supermarket.
Salmon and Tuna
Instead of the traditional red meat and chicken that makes up most of our contemporary diet, try incorporating fish like salmon and tuna into your diet instead. Filling, flavourful and very tasty, salmon and tuna are packed with omega-3 fatty acids to help your skin.
Avocado’s explosion in popularity mean it’s now possible to find it pretty much everywhere – they are readily available in supermarkets and many restaurants and sandwich chains offer avocado as an ingredient, too. Packed with fibre and folate, eating avocado may help reduce your risk of heart disease and are a good source of dietary fibre, vitamin K, copper, folate, vitamin B6, potassium, vitamin E, and vitamin C.
Using olive oil in your cooking and as a base for your salad dressings is a great way to ramp up your daily veg. The Mediterranean diet is often considered the best in the world, and regular intake of olive oil is part of the reason why – it’s free from saturated fats and is a great source of antioxidants called polyphenols. Look for a good quality extra virgin olive oil that’s traditionally made for an oil with the least amount of processing.
Oats are rich in beta-glucan, a cholesterol-fighting fibre that helps keep us full and full of energy. To get their best benefit, skip the instant oatmeal and look for traditional whole oats that you slow-cook instead. A bowl of oatmeal sprinkled with some seeds and blueberries is an excellent way to start the day on a healthy note, or, for an indulgent treat try making oatmeal cookies and adding raisins.
What healthy foods will you incorporate into your diet this year?