I’ve been enjoying my cooking recently as you may have noticed from the number of recipes appearing in the Spice Rack but as I have focused more on food I think I may have taken my eye off nutrition slightly. No sooner had that thought passed through my mind then what did I stumble upon in a charity bookshop than the latest edition of Nancy Clark‘s “Sports Nutrition Guidebook” – the universe swings into place behind me once again 😉
This is not the World’s most vegan friendly of books, with its talk of “if you are biased against dairy…” but it is a useful reminder of the principles of nutrition and planning a balanced diet. Once of the first things to catch my eye was her three simple concepts to build a healthy eating plan. I thought they might be worth considering here.
1: Eat three kinds of food at meals
This one sounds a little strange and I can’t quite work out where she got the 3 from but in the paragraph following it she talks about eating a wide variety of foods. Of moving behind eating the same 10-15 foods a week aim for 35. Now 35 doesn’t sound like very many types of food but once you start adding it up it can be quite surprising. I eat a huge variety of foods at dinner. A different meal every night of the week and with at least 7 different types of vegetable or grain means that I am sure I am hitting 35. However I am falling down in the principle. I eat the same breakfast (muesli with fruit and nuts and oat milk) 5 days a week and the same lunch (hummus sandwich, bag of crisps, apple, banana, oat biscuits) every day as well. Could do better.
2: Chose foods in their natural state
Always my favourite and the one piece of diet advice I think we can all agree with whole-heartedly. Processed foods are poison. I ow it, you know it. Does it mean I never eat processed food? Hell no. Just last night I added some veggie sausage to my pasta dish. I have a little pack of oat biscuits at lunch, I enjoyed a vegan sausage roll earlier. All processed. All bad for me to an extent. I am sure I can do better. However, see three.
3: Think moderation
Nancy suggests eating a healthy diet 90% of the time with some less healthy snacks thrown in. This seems like good advice. People never stick to diets in this long term. If you say you can never eat a certain type of food you will want it all the more and when you give in you will then throw away the entire diet as useless. I don’t believe in diets, I believe in a healthy diet and there is no reason this can’t contain a little oat biscuit now and again (how decadent!).
90% healthy seems a little vague though. Is that 90% of your daily calories? 90% of the volume of food? 90% of eating occasions? I will try for two less than healthy snacks a day and see how that goes. If I am considering oat biscuits as unhealthy I don’t think that will be too bad.
I’m looking forward to reading the rest of this book and recording some of my thoughts here.
What do you think? What are your principles for a healthy diet?
- Easy Healthy Meals Don’t Need a Recipe Book (healthylifestylesuccess.com)
- Types of healthy eating (englishminorblog.wordpress.com)