Healthy eating isn’t about being strict with the limitations you put on what you can or can’t eat; it is about fuelling your body with lots of yummy foods in order to improve your health, feel energised, sleep better, enhance your recovery and to feel good about what you are eating to help achieve all of these benefits.
It is important to fuel your body with lots of nutrient foods, especially for when we are studying or working. Our brain is an organ that needs to be fuelled (think of the analogy we used a few weeks ago about how our body is a car that requires fuel in order to perform optimally). We need to make sure that we are using the best fuel for our brain so that we can concentrate, retain and recall information, get a good quality of sleep and to ensure we can recover from exercise we do during the day.
You may already be eating lots of yummy foods. Check the variety of foods we have listed below to see if you are eating from all parts of the food pyramid:
- Fruits and vegetables – think of the rainbow and eat lots of green (broccoli, spinach, lettuce, kale, lettuce beans), orange (pumpkin, sweet potatoes, carrots, papaya) and red (capsicum, tomatoes, strawberries, cherries)
- Grain foods – mainly wholegrain, wholemeal, high fibre foods and oats, wholegrain rice and pasta
- Dairy - milk, yogurt and some cheese
- Lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and legumes/beans – remember to not overdo it with certain red meats!
- Drink water and try and make it your main drink of choice
While what we choose to eat has lots of physical benefits, it also has a profound effect on our digestive and gut health. If you are feeling inflamed, having trouble sleeping or have an upset stomach this may be a result of what you are choosing to fuel your body with.
Try swapping out a highly processed snack bar with a chopped apple and peanut butter or some chopped carrots with hummus dip for your mid-morning snack. Choosing healthier alternatives shouldn’t be difficult, so try it on non-consecutive days and then add a different snack on the days in between so that you don’t get bored with the same snacks every day! Also try and add a protein source into each meal throughout the day as this will assist in keeping your blood sugar level and help you to feel fuller for longer.
Remember, just like when we start exercising, it is an ongoing process that we continue to finetune, reassess and change if it’s not working for us. If you are trying some new foods and it’s not working for you – that’s okay! There are lots of resources available for you to learn more about healthier food choices that you can make in order to get the most out of the fuel for your body. Food should be exciting and even if you’re not a very ‘good cook’ you can still learn some simple and healthy meals that include lots of nutrient rich foods! It should be tasty, colourful and balanced!