Want to feel great? Then think about what goes into your body. Fast food just slows you down. Eat well and you’ll be stronger, have better concentration and more stamina. Your hair, skin, teeth and nails should start to show the results.

Here are a few simple tips for improving your diet in ways that mean you can still enjoy it.

1. Keep your balance. The experts say you need at least 40 different nutrients for good health. Try and eat a variety of foods most days. Include fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes (such as dried peas, beans and lentils), wholegrain cereals, lean meat, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy products.

2. Get the day off to a good start. Before school, build a breakfast around fruit, low sugar high fibre cereals, porridge, rice, wholegrain breads, bagels, English muffins, smoothies, yoghurt or baked beans.

3. Downsize your order. Some food outlets offer ‘upgrades’ to larger serves, which we accept without really needing a larger meal and the extra kilojoules, fat and sugar that come along with it.

4. Keep it interesting. Food doesn’t have to be boring. Try something different like wraps and rice cakes, tortillas, crispbreads and chapattis, naan and corn cakes and, as an alternative to regular breads, consider wholegrain or rye bread, pocket bread and fruit bread.

5. Be lean with meat. Choose lean meats, fish and skinless chicken in place of sausages and processed meats.

6. Not mad about meat? Then enjoy some of these other foods every day for a balanced diet: lentils, tofu, dried peas and beans such as chickpeas, baked beans and kidney beans.

7. Choose low-fat dairy. Make low-fat milks, yoghurts and cheeses your choice. Or consider non-dairy alternatives such as calcium fortified soy milk. Salmon with bones, almonds, baked beans and broccoli are also good sources of calcium.

8. Get out of food ruts. Avoid ordering the same foods at lunch from the canteen or only eating your favourite foods.

9. What have you got for lunch? A healthy lunch should include fruit, vegetables, meat or alternatives, dairy products, wholegrains and water. Try and say no to biscuits, cakes, chocolates, energy bars, potato or corn crisps and pastries.

10. Think twice about which takeaway. There are heaps of healthy takeaway options to choose from. Try sushi and pita wraps, baked potatoes, souvlaki, kebabs, vegetable or seafood pizzas, tabouli, falafels, steamed rice with vegetables, baked chicken, grilled fish or steamed dim sims. Healthy desserts include fruit salad or a fruit smoothie.

11. Listen to your stomach. Eat until you’re satisfied, not until you’re stuffed. Your stomach will let you know the difference.

12. Avoid comfort eating. Notice if you’re eating simply because you’re bored, sad or lonely. These can lead to unhealthy eating habits later in life.

13. Cut out TV dinners. Try to avoid eating in front of the television or computer screen.

14. Feed your growth spurts. There’s a good reason why you may feel hungry all the time. It’s probably a growth spurt, so keep up your vitamins, minerals and kilojoules with healthy, fresh food.

15. Go for healthy snacks. Snacks between meals are okay but keep them healthy. Grab a piece of fruit, a cob of corn or a tub of low-fat yoghurt, a tin of tuna, nuts and dried fruit, sandwiches and low-fat cheese.

16. Be colourful. When you eat fruit and vegetables, look for a variety of colours at every serving including yellow, orange, green, purple and red such as capsicum, berries, eggplant, sweet potato, tomatoes, plums, berries, mangoes and melons.

17. Go for whole fruits. You are better off choosing a piece of fruit over fruit juice as juice may contain energy, but little fibre.

18. Go for 2 and 5. Go for 2 fruit and 5 vegetables, especially if they’re raw, steamed or baked.

19. Change to water. Whenever possible, drink water instead of fizzy drinks, sports drinks, caffeine drinks and cordials and always carry a bottle of water when doing physical activity.

20. Stay focused. Improving your eating habits for a day or even a week isn’t too hard. The trick is keeping it up. It helps to involve family and friends in your plans – especially those preparing your meals.

21. Go easy on supplements. With the right variety of foods, you won’t need vitamin supplements and body building powders.

If you need to change your basic diet or you just lack motivation, talk to your doctor or dietitian. For more information, tips or advice call the ‘Go for your life’ Infoline on 1300 739 899.

Acknowledgement

  • This information has been sourced from ‘Go for your life’.

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