In an increasingly fast-paced world, each day we have less and less time to spend on the simplest tasks. But that doesn't have to be a barrier to healthy eating. Here are some healthy eating tips for your day-by-day (I promise I won't take up too much of your time!):
1 — Make the lunch box your best friend
Always have healthy snacks at your disposal, so you don't have to go shopping all the time. This way, you save money and avoid falling into temptations. Options that you can always have with you include fruit, bread (preferably dark bread), low-fat yoghurts, low-fat cheese, corn biscuits, dried fruit, among others.
2 — Stay hydrated
Always have water or, if you prefer, infusions or flavoured waters without sugar at your disposal. The amount you need depends on each person, the time of year, physical activity, and other factors. Don't go by the slogan of "a litre and a half" a day: drink enough so that your urine is clear in colour.
3 — Don't eat "just whatever"
Whether you take your lunch/dinner from home or buy it at work, try to always include vegetables, not only in the form of soup but also on your plate. Boiled, salted vegetables or salads should cover half your plate; 25% for meat (preferably lean), fish, egg or other vegetarian protein alternatives; and 25% for rice, pasta (ideally wholemeal), potatoes, sweet potatoes and/or pulses (beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.). Avoid going to the cafeteria to 'grab something', which is like saying a mixed snack or a pretzel. These are calorific, unhealthy and not very satisfying foods.
4 — Prioritize boiled and grilled foods
These are the healthiest cooking methods, and curiously the simplest and quickest!
5 — Frozen and canned vegetables can help
Frozen vegetables, such as broccoli, green beans, and mixed vegetables, can be easily cooked or salted in minutes. Canned or jarred veggies are nutritionally rich foods that are ready to eat. Canned fish, such as tuna, sardines and mackerel (ideally in oil or water), are also excellent options for quick and healthy meals. Always have these types of foods at home, with which you can prepare a healthy meal in less than 10 minutes.
6 — Avoid ultra-processed foods
Chips, chocolate, pre-cooked meals, sodas... Make sure you eat these foods sporadically and when you do, read the nutritional information and try to choose the one with the least energy, fats, sugar and salt.
7 — There should be no such thing as forbidden foods
Saying that you should avoid certain foods does not mean that you should never eat them. All foods have a place in a balanced and healthy diet, just in different quantities. Remember: being healthy is also being flexible.
8 — Be the most active you can be
To have a healthy life, avoiding a sedentary lifestyle is essential. If you don't have time to do that half hour of exercise every day, try to do it throughout the day, with small gestures. The classic "take the stairs instead of the lift" can be expanded to other things. On days when you can get to work early, park your car further away (or get off at the previous stop) so you can take a short walk. At lunchtime, and whenever you can, try to get out for a bit to "stretch your legs". When you go to the toilet, why not take the opportunity to do some stretching? All strategies are welcome!
9 — Don't believe everything you read
When it comes to nutrition, there is a lot of misinformation. Check if the sources are reliable and take a critical view. If you need more specific help, contact a nutritionist for a personalised follow-up.
10 — Don't forget your mental health
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of everyday life, try to take some time out for yourself. On your day off, for example, take an hour to go for a walk along the seafront, read, paint... Do something that allows you to relax.
Above all, don't put too much pressure on everything to be perfect. It never is!
Nutritionist (cédula nº2314N)