I want to develop my previous post a bit more here, as I think many of us beat ourselves up by trying to stick to restrictive diets in order to lose weight and I am a firm believer that you should enjoy what you eat at all times, even if you are trying to lose weight. My advice for healthy eating is simply to try to make meals yourself where you can, and don’t snack. It’s as simple as that. You just need to eat three meals a day that you have prepared yourself, therefore avoiding foods where there are hidden calories like cereals bars, pastries, shop bought sandwiches, takeaways etc. I would advise a rough menu plan (such as healthy roast on Sunday, left overs with jacket potato on Monday, fish on Tuesday etc.) and weekly shop to avoid impromptu takeaways or meals out. It might take a while to get organised with planning and shopping, but once you get in the habit, you won’t want to waste money on snack or convenience food. The key is to base your meals on filling, but low calorie foods, so they keep you going and you don’t need to snack. For breakfast you could have porridge with chopped fruit (if you’re in a hurry, prepare it the night before); for lunch you could make a wholegrain sandwich; a hearty soup and a roll or I try to make more in the evening and have last night’s left overs for lunch. If you can’t get organised or don’t have time to make lunch in advance, find out where there are healthy, filling, lunch options available near you and become a loyal customer (a jacket potato and non-mayo based filling is a good option). There will likely be occasions when you are eating out for lunch or dinner, and for these you can look for healthy options, such as lean meat or fish with potatoes and veg, but keep an eye out for creamy sauces, deep fried foods and deceptively high calorie salads! Generally eating out tends to be higher in calories than cooking meals at home, so try to limit eating out and takeaways as much as you can.
I’m deliberately not calling this a diet, because the reason why all diets fail in the end, is that they do not fit in with our lifestyles and are not sustainable beyond a few weeks. You need to eat foods that you are happy to buy, prepare and eat otherwise it won’t work. Healthy eating doesn’t need to be all goji berries and quinoa. If you have a weakness for takeaways such as burgers, pizzas or curry, try making them yourself. By preparing and cooking meals yourself you will see what you are putting in them. It’s amazing quite how much mayonnaise (which is high in calories) you need for a tuna mayonnaise sandwich. Once you’ve made one, you might then choose to have a tuna and salad sandwich with a small amount of mayonnaise (or even natural yogurt) and never look at a tuna mayo sandwich again.