10 Top Nutrition Tips
Updated: Jun 8
When dealing with challenging or stressful times in our life, it is all the more important to eat well. While a little indulgence every now and again is normal and healthy, over the longer term it is important to improve your nutrition. Helping your physical and mental health begins with nutrition, and the old adage that you are what you are eat holds a lot of truth. I'm definitely not here as a preacher, I have the same struggles as everyone else but small changes like the ones listed below can hopefully make a difference to your health and wellbeing, along with your waistline while increasing energy levels and improving sleep quality. Click on any of the photos to enlarge them.
1. Start your day with a bowl of porridge.....
I have to admit it has taken me a long, long time to come around to porridge as I used to find it so bland. But since I started playing around with it, I have found it is really making a difference. A quick search online shows porridge is low in calories (about 170 in a bowl), high in fibre and helps reduce cholesterol. It also fills you for about 4-5 hours, which should help with any morning cravings for something sweet. You can enhance the taste of porridge by adding fruit and berries but avoid adding white or brown sugar.
2. Almonds, Cashew nuts and Walnuts
Again, high in protein and can be added to breakfast and lunch so an easy way to get a nice taste and some nutritional benefit without reinventing the wheel.
3. Mixed salad with some hot chicken or salmon
Mixed salad with some hot chicken or salmon makes for a tasty and easily digestible lunch which should leave you feeling empowered rather than fatigued. It takes about two hours for the stomach to process a meal and this requires energy, which is why some people feel tired after lunch. The body is literally taking energy from elsewhere to process what has been consumed. So give your system a lift by opting for something that bit more healthy.
My father is a great believer in berries so raspberries, strawberries and blueberries are commonly available in supermarkets and can be added to morning porridge or afternoon yogurt, which again is a nice supplement to some of the sweeter items on the shelves, with low fat yogurt being the preferable option.
Since the crisis started, I've tried to increase the amount of fish we eat. I found a great fish market on the Kinsale Road called Keohane's Seafood Shop while the English Market is also open. A fish-based diet is something the Japanese swear by and they have the longest life expectancy on the planet! King prawns also make for a nice starter or can be added to a main meal.
6. Brown Bread
My aunt Ita was a great one for making brown bread, unfortunately I wasn't able to get her mother's recipe before she passed two years ago but hopefully it is something I will try during the current crisis. Brown bread is a seriously healthy alternative to processed sliced pans and I couldn't help notice the lack of flour in supermarkets when the Covid-19 crisis kicked of. There must have been some serious baking and bread making going on in Irish households! Brown bread is again high in fibre and tastes great!
7. Smaller Portions
Having smaller portions should ensure you don't overeat and by not overeating you are helping your system along. Maybe food scientists can comment, but the increase in bowl, stomach and colon cancers may be related to not only the types of food we are eating but also the volume. So cut back on the processed food and look at healthier alternatives and in smaller amounts which you can nibble on throughout the day rather than consuming in one large lunch or evening meal. Sensible and healthy eating will make a difference in your life.
We definitely eat with our eyes and respond to colour and presentation as much as taste. Taking the time to prepare and present your food, really helps to make food more of an experience than a necessity.
9. Healthy Weekly Balance
I like steak a lot but have tried to cut down on my consumption of red meat to once or twice a week. Balance is one the keys to improving nutrition. So mixing evening meals between fish, chicken, pasta, curries, red meat, vegetarian options along with different types of rice or other side dishes just makes for a more interesting food experience.
10. A Weekly Treat
Thankfully we are not living in the times of ancient Sparta, indeed, we have unprecedented access to different types of food. While it is important to choose wisely, we are only human so a weekly treat is important so I'll let you decide what that treat is for you. For me, well, Mom's sponge cake is really good :)