I am constantly looking for better ways to live my life and although I do eat my share of not so good food I like to eat healthy everyday. I am hopefully teaching my daughters that eating healthy is important for life function and vitality. Spring is the perfect time to change your eating healthy with an abundance of summer fruits and vegetables. Body + Soul have put together a guide to help reap the benefits through your diet, fitness and sleep.
Get a good nights sleep.
Drink mint tea ~ Coffee is great pick me up in the morning but too much can overstimulate your nervous system which can affect your sleep. In the afternoon try a peppermint tea for a natural pick me up and help your digestion.
Darken your space ~ Switch off all electronics at least 30 minutes before sleep.
Set a routine ~ A relaxing pre bed time ritual. Try and do the same thing every night before going to bed, this will tune the brain to think 'ok, I am going to sleep soon'. Try a relaxing bath, read or listen to soothing music.
Plan your meals ~ One of the easiest and most effective ways to boost your diet is by planning ahead. Make a little time every weekend to prep your fridge, pantry, desk and handbag with a range of healthy food for the week. Start with a manageable meal planner and a thorough shopping list and you are well on your way.
Make your own afternoon treats ~ Sugary treats make for an enticing snack but aren't as good as a homemade, healthy afternoon tea. A stash of berries with yoghurt, honey and crushed nuts will see your sweet tooth satisfied. The protein will help stabilise your blood-sugar levels, give you a sense of satiety and won't promote weight gain, unlike something sugary.
Think about simple switches ~ There are many alternatives to the foods we automatically reach for that taste just as good but are much better for us. Here are a few swaps to consider: instead of croutons, try walnuts – all the crunch with less fat; instead of dips, try lightly salted edamame (boiled soybeans); instead of rice try quinoa; instead of sugar, try maple syrup and instead of beef mince, try turkey mince.
Swap dessert for a chai tea ~ Late-night ice-cream or fruity gelato are not the best ways to finish each day. They are both high in sugar and which causes a spike in blood-sugar levels followed by a drop, which could leave you feeling really flat when you wake up in the morning. Save dessert for special occasions and make yourself a warm, caffeine-free milky chai tea instead.
Do more incidental exercise ~ Having other people look after your garden, take you to the train station or wash your car gives you more time, which is a valuable thing. But doing these things yourself as often as possible boosts your activity levels and will improve your overall fitness, which can be even more valuable. You will look and feel better for it, no Lycra required.
Do 90 squats a week ~ If you have ever watched a toddler play, you will notice they don't always bend to pick things up, they mostly squat. Somehow over the years we forget how to do it but the more we practise now, the better we become. Do three sets of 10 squats throughout the day, three days a week, and you'll see the difference.
# for the perfect squat are: maintain your posture throughout (don't hunch and stay long through your spine), keep your heels in contact with the ground, don't let your knees travel too far forward and keep your gaze on the horizon.