10 ways to feel fabulous for summer
Waistbands on your summer threads feeling a little tighter than they used to? Give yourself a break - ditch the post-lockdown diet and follow these feel-good tips from Registered Nutritionist, Charlotte Radcliffe, instead
Let’s face it, most of us have indulged a little more than we would have normally throughout lockdown. An extra biscuit here, (hell, we’ve wolfed down whole packets, Cookie Monster-style!), another glass of wine there (may as well finish the bottle), and one too many takeaways to beat the boredom of being Stuck. At. Home! Plus with gyms closed and exercise classes off the cards (Zoom aside) it’s not been easy to take as much care of ourselves as we’d have liked.
Couple that with juggling working from home, childcare, homeschooling and missing out on hugs with our mums and gossips with the gals… noone can blame us for letting things slip a little in the old self-care department.
It’s been a flippin’ tough year, and I for one am not about to deprive myself of more of the good stuff right now, just as things are on the up. Having said that, I wouldn’t mind a little self-confidence boost now we’re actually allowed to go out and about again… well, and to fit back into my skinny jeans without a muffin top!
Luckily, Herts-based Registered Nutritionist, and Founder / Director of The Nutrition Consultant Charlotte Radcliffe is here to share her top tips for making achievable changes with sustainable results, to help you look and feel your best for your big summer debut! Bring it on!
1. Eat five a day. It might sound obvious, and we always bang on about it to the kids, but there are so many benefits to eating at least five portions of fruit and veg every day. Not only do they add flavour, they’re packed with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients and fibre which all contribute to a healthy diet.
2. Focus on Fibre. Most of us need to eat more of this magical nutrient. Foods high in fibre can help keep us fuller for longer, keep our digestive systems healthy, and fibre is associated with reducing the risk of bowel cancer, heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes. Win, win!
3. Be mindful of sugar. Foods containing natural sugars, like fruit, grains and dairy products, should be part of a healthy diet, but be aware of foods containing added sugars, even if they seem healthy. Processed juices, smoothies, flavoured yogurts and even honey and syrups contain hidden sugars, so reduce (but don’t cut out) your intake of these where possible.
4. Go nuts for nuts! Nuts contain healthy fats, protein and fibre which all keep us satisfied for longer. They also contain antioxidants and a range of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin E, magnesium, selenium and manganese. As they all have their own unique nutritional profile, variety is key – aim to eat 30g of mixed nuts per day.
5. Go easy on the salt. This is not only important from a health perspective (high salt intakes can lead to increased blood pressure), but foods high in salt can often lead to bloating.
6. Keep your fluids up. Even mild dehydration can lead to symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, tiredness and poor concentration. Aim for 6-8 glasses a day – water, juice, milk and tea/coffee (hurrah!) all count; as do foods with a high water content such as watermelon, cucumber, broccoli, strawberries, tomatoes, lettuce, blueberries, apples, oranges and soups.
7. Keep moving. Many of us were ultra eager to stay active during Lockdown #1 but the enthusiasm might have waned recently, through boredom or other life challenges. Finding a renewed passion for exercise and keeping active is so beneficial for both your body and mind, so check out what classes are opening up near you now, or even just get out for a walk. Any movement is good for you!
8. Avoid fad diets. They might promise a quick fix, but after a few days or weeks of strict discipline, chances are you’ll want to chuck in the towel. The trouble is that once you re-introduce the ‘banned’ foods (that you craved when denying yourself), hormones and fat cells will respond and you’ll likely put any weight that you lost straight back on again. Time for a re-think!
9. Plan your snacks. Making healthy snack choices can really help you feel more satisfied between meals. Pare back the choccie and biscuit cupboard and instead try things like yoghurt and fruit, energy balls, houmous and veg sticks, dried fruit and nuts, apple slices and nut butter, oatcakes, cheese and grapes.
10. Try the 80:20 approach. This is where roughly 80% of the time you focus on getting a good balance of nutrients from your food choices (think whole foods, grains, veg, lean protein, essential fats etc) and the rest of the time include foods which you might perceive to be ‘less healthy’. But most importantly, always listen to your body and be kind to yourself.