Expert tips for a healthy diet: Eat well and be kind to yourself | News

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Expert tips for a healthy diet: Eat well and be kind to yourself

If a healthier you is your vision for 2023 and you need to lose a few pounds to make it happen, Royal Surrey dietitian Liz Toft has got some expert advice to help you succeed.

She advocates a slow and sustainable approach towards eating a healthier diet.

Tips for a sustainable healthy eating plan:

1) Stop focusing on what you can’t have and instead add in healthy food to your diet. Psychologically it is better have positive additions to make your diet healthier, for example, with more fruit, vegetables and foods high in fibre rather than focusing on weight loss and on restricting foods. Good examples of high-fibre foods include beans and lentils, wholegrain cereals and dried fruit. See the NHS Eatwell Guide for more information.

2) Take a longer-term look at what you want to achieve and be kind to yourself in your aims to change up to a healthier diet, for example, if you know you’ll be tempted by the array of Christmas treats still in the cupboard, start your healthy eating changes in February once they’ve been eaten up.

3) If your office or staff room has sugary snacks on offer, try bringing your own healthy snacks in, for instance, a piece of low fat cheese, oatcakes, hummus and carrot sticks, a banana or a handful of nuts.

4) Stay well hydrated. When we think we’re hungry, it may be because we’re actually thirsty.

5) Combine small tweaks to your diet with more exercise to build a more holistic sense of wellbeing.

6) If your plan is to improve your family’s eating habits, then the NHS Better Health for Families website has a handy free food scanner and traffic light rating system to make healthy choices easier.

7) The NHS Better Health website also has a free weight loss plan, which is broken down into 12 weeks. It helps you set your goals, plan meals, and has ideas to get active while recording your progress.

Liz Toft is a Gastro Allergy Dietitian at Royal Surrey NHS Foundation Trust. Dietitians provide evidence based, practical advice about food & nutrition to support the care of patients with a range of conditions include digestive, diabetes and cancer. Find out more about the work of our dietetics team on our Nutrition and Dietetics webpages.

Liz’s advice supports recent advice from the British Dietetic Association (BDA), which has recommended that if we’re tempted to try a quick-fix weight loss plan or fad diet, we should think again. According to the BDA, fad diets are difficult to sustain long term and can cause more harm than good, often leading to yo-yo dieting, muscle loss and nutrient deficiency.

Instead, the association advises us to focus on making positive changes such as increasing the amount of fluids and high-fibre foods in our diet.

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