|Image courtesy of Pixabay|
Of course you could use March as an excuse to give your body a reboot aka a spring clean for your body instead of your house! This is a great way to start creating your healthy habits.
You may think that's a bit too much so let's look at other things you can do -
- Reduce your caffeine intake
- Reduce your salt intake
- Reduce your sugar intake
- Reduce your processed foods
- Increase your fruit and veg intake
We've all heard these comments before haven't we? The problem is how and where to start so lets's go through them all one by one.
How to Reduce Your Caffeine IntakeNow if you only drink one cup of coffee or tea a day then you are probably okay, but I know many people drink a LOT more than that. The problem with drinking too much caffeine whether it's from coffee, tea, cola drinks or energy drinks is that caffeine can cause the depletion of certain nutrients such as vitamin B6. Not only that but it also interferes with your body's ability to absorb essential minerals such as calcium and magnesium.
It can be had to cut back as a lot of the time we grab these drinks out of habit, one way that I've gone down from 10 mugs a day to 1-2 a week is by using Fizz Sticks. Let me tell you more ...
I like to drink what I call a green ogre drink on my way to work and I find that it gives me the same effect as my morning latte that I used to grab on my way to work at my previous job. If you start off by just replacing one coffee with this I think you'll find you won't need your next one as quickly because you don't get the espresso crash as the effects of the caffeine from coffee wears off.
If you enjoy having a cuppa when you get up or after dinner then try a few caffeine free teas instead such as these -
Why Drink Peppermint Tea?
I love the flavour of peppermint so I'm probably biased as to why you should drink peppermint tea! However it does have a lot of benefits from aiding digestion to helping with concentration.
Review of Lifestyle Awareness Teas
Lifestyle Awareness is a brand of organic tea and this review focuses on just two of the teas in the range - Immunity Now and Serene Slumber. These teas have medicinal benefits to them as well and we can all use help with boosting our immune systems!
Or I do enjoy a cup of Twinings Chamomile, Honey & Vanilla before going to bed on a cold night.
If you're more of a soda drinker or you feel like you need an energy drink to keep you going then Fizz Sticks are definitely something that you can substitute for them. You will find that the effects last a lot longer so that you don't need to drink as many. They come in four different flavors and contain a lot less sugar as well as being a lot healthier in other ways too.
How to Reduce Your Salt Intake
Too much salt can adversely affect our sodium/potassium balance and let's face it everywhere you turn you're being told to cut down salt aren't you?
Salt is one of those foods that are often in hidden in the foods you eat, one product that is usually high in salt is commercial stock (especially the convenient stock cubes). A simple way to deal with this is to make your own vegetable stock, it's very easy as you can see here - how to make veggie stock - and you can make big batches to freeze down. Using this you can monitor exactly how much salt you add to your food.
Reducing the amount of processed foods will help a lot (more on that later) and reading labels to build your awareness will be quite a shock to you.
How to Reduce Your Sugar Intake
Sugar is empty as far as nutritional value goes and it's also addictive. I would try and use other products to sweeten things for example when my daughter was younger I would half the amount of sugar a recipe called for to make sweet muffins and throw in a mashed banana to use for sweetness instead.
If you or your children like using flavored drinks instead of water then why not look at putting cubed watermelon in your water pitcher as this fruit contains electrolytes. Berries or citrus are also great ways of adding flavor.
Looking on sites such as Pinterest can help with ideas for sugar free or low sugar recipes and I find myself using dates, bananas, apples and even maple syrup in my cooking as a way to keep the sweetness while raising the nutritional value of a dish.
How to Reduce Processed Foods
Processed foods can be devoid of many nutrients as well as containing high amounts of sugar and/or salt - this is especially so with low fat processed foods.
Now I'm not saying you have to totally embrace the whole food movement (although it's really great!), but being more aware of what you're eating is a good place to start. The best way to reduce processed foods is to start cooking a few things from scratch.
Now with our busy lifestyles it can be hard to imagine cooking everything from scratch so I would recommend starting with one meal a week and cooking double quantities, one lot for that meal and one lot for the freezer which means the next week you have your 'new' meal plus the frozen meal from the previous week.
Snack foods can be the biggest fall down for many households when it comes to processed foods so I like to make sure I have fresh fruit available and have vegetables such as carrot sticks prepared and ready to eat. I also find making protein balls or bliss balls a great idea.
How to Increase Your Fruit & Veg Intake
We're all told to increase our fruit and vegetables, but how? If you're starting to cook more from scratch and having it as snacks as well you will find that you start to increase your intake.
I try to throw extra vegetable into my meals when I'm cooking them for example when I cook a lamb or beef satay I will always add green beans. I also add diced zucchini (courgette) to a number of dishes as it takes on flavors really well.
Another easy way to add vegetables into your diet is by using it to substitute some of your other foods for example use a spiralizer to make vegetable 'pasta' or using cauliflower or broccoli in place of rice.
Another thing that I do is I have a scoop of Greens Balance every day - this contains a rainbow of fruit and veg - and this can be taken on it's own, popped into a protein shake (or the green ogre shake above) or even added into something when you're cooking such as bolognaise.
I did see someone added the greens balance to banana muffins for her fussy child and he ate them because he was told they were made from monsters!
If you don't like eating breakfast or you have a child that doesn't like eating in the morning or at lunchtime then why not try a shake or a smoothie bowl - it's a great way to add in berries and other fruits as well as spinach, kale or a good old scoop of greens balance.
Reviewing Smoothie Bowl Recipes
Essentially a smoothie bowl is a thick smoothie served in a bowl with different toppings and it is delicious. You can have a myriad of different flavors and there's really no rules as to what you can pop on top
Tropical Fruit Smoothie Recipe Reviewed
The tropical fruit smoothies taste really good and they are very easy to make. Simply gather your favorite tropical fruits and the blender and you have a quick and healthy snack for breakfast, lunch or after dinner!
Healthy and Delicious Smoothies
Feel more energized and healthier by adding a smoothie to your day, from tropical fruit to green smoothies and so many other recipes in between.
So, Over to You
What are you going to do to improve your nutritional intake this month?
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