This article has been republished from AIA Vitality-Vlife September 2017

If the idea of a total overhaul to your eating habits seems overwhelming, start with a simple change at the start of your day. You don’t need to make drastic changes to improve your diet.


For those of us looking to improve our health, the idea of making a drastic change to our diets can seem overwhelming. Thanks to the proliferation of the #CleanEating craze, particularly on social media, it’s easy to assume that any effort to improve our health must be on absolute terms.

1. Make your first meal a piece of cake

Figuratively, not literally, of course. Breakfast is one of the easiest meals to do successfully – especially if you’ve prepared in advance.

“If you’re usually time poor in the morning, get out the breakfast bowls and cereal the night before,” says Clare Collins, a Professor of Nutrition and Dietetics at the University of Newcastle. Having healthy choices ready to go on the counter can stop you from being tempted to skip breakfast or from picking up that sugary muffin on the way to work.

2. Top up your greens

As for what you eat for breakfast? “If you usually have sugar on your cereal, learning to live without will save you 96 kilojoules (23 calories) for every heaped teaspoon you ditch. That’s over two kilograms of sugar per year,” says Clare.

Furthermore, try packing in some of your daily servings of veggies as soon as you wake up.

“Almost all of us fall short of meeting our vegetable requirements,” says accredited dietitian Joel Feren from Hearty Nutrition. “In fact, only six per cent of us eat our five recommended serves each day.”

Try incorporating vegetables into your breakfast by preparing a zucchini breakfast loaf or cauliflower muffins the day before. Alternatively, chop and throw a few of your favourite vegetables into an easy omelette.

 

3. Map out your day

Make sure you carve out enough time in the morning to set yourself up for a healthy day. Even ten minutes is enough to pack a lunch box with healthy leftovers and snacks.

“By taking food with you to work each day, you’ll be less tempted to buy takeaways and/or hit up the vending machine in the afternoon,” says Joel. “Also, packing healthy treats like nuts, fruit, yoghurt or muesli bars is a great way to stay on track.”

4. Take some shortcuts preparing lunch

Just because canned and frozen food is more convenient, it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s unhealthy.

“It’s totally acceptable to use tinned legumes, pre-packaged salad bags, frozen vegetables and cans of tuna,” Joel says. “Most of us, including myself, don’t have time to cook meals from scratch, especially in the morning.

Making use of easy-to-use ingredients will make your life a little easier when it comes to meal preparation.”

If you are using canned food, just check the ingredient list for any added salt.

5. Eat mindfully, one breakfast at a time

There are multiple studies that suggest meditation and mindfulness are a great way to improve our mental health. But meditative practice doesn’t have to be restricted to the yoga mat or your bedroom before you sleep.

According to The Centre of Mindful Eating, preparing and consuming breakfast while distracted has strong links to anxiety, stress and overeating.

With this in mind, our dietitians believe that staying present and listening to your body is the best piece of advice they can give you. If you can, try to stay away from work emails or distractions during breakfast time, and make the most of a 15 minute breather at the beginning of the day.

 

 

This article was originally published here < https://www.aiavitality.com.au/vmp-au/latest_news?selDate=9/2017&article=five_changes_to_your_morning_routine&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTVRrd1pXRXdPR1l4TjJNNSIsInQiOiIzZTdadWhVZm45aUkyQzZJY1wvK0FTR1RoSk9SXC9VYzVJNlNzZFNQMkJcL2RiYm9TUUFaR0tSMUJydUlaV21qXC9IWTBxbnNXZ3lOSlhRd2NMN21JSnhHVnltQUp3bHJlUWhac3U1MjJFbkZjQjBWOHVwb3Q5KzAxem1oMUhEMVgwRVUifQ%3D%3D

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