Nutrition

Six Simple Steps To a Nutrition Reset

In need of a nutrition reset? We can make around 250 food decisions a day. In fact, research shows that most of our food decisions are not actually based around hunger, but are influenced by our habits and our environment.

Try These 6 Steps

A healthy diet is not just about maintaining weight. It helps to improve our ability to resist infection, improve longevity, and reduce depression and anxiety risk.

Cleaning out your pantry and creating access to as many wholesome, natural and unprocessed foods puts you back in control, reducing the temptation for emotional and over eating.

Step 1

Have a Plan

  • Clean out your pantry of any foods that don’t serve you (step 4).
  • Re-stock your pantry with healthy ‘swap in’ options (step 5).
  • Make a meal plan and grocery list each week. Getting tired of the never ending “what’s for dinner?”. Simplify your life with themed dinner nights, for eg. Meatless Monday, Taco Tuesday.
  • Eat more meals as a family. Eating together has been linked with increased child and adolescent intake of fruit and vegetables and other healthy foods. Choose a few nights a week, it’s a great way to open up meaningful conversations with partners/family members.
  • Batch cook. “Cook once, eat twice”. Simply add an extra tray of vegetables each time the oven is on. Roast veggies such as pumpkin, sweet potato, onions, garlic, & carrots. They can easily be added to lunches, salads & frittatas. I always have a back up in the freezer.
  • Move your body, you don’t have to work out hard or long to reap the benefits. Studies have shown just 15-30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise can improve your brain and memory function. Time poor? Become a “weekend warrior” — recent research found that people who walked briskly for 30 minutes on five days of the week had similar health benefits to those that chose to undertake one long walk of 150 minutes every week.
Batch cooking saves time and reduces waste

Step 2

Eliminate Junk Food

Firstly, it’s helpful to observe why you might be craving a certain food. Are you bored, tired, stressed, depressed, or perhaps simply dehydrated? Not purchasing and storing unhealthy foods reduces your exposure to binge eating and puts you back in control.

Think before you eat: are you bored, stressed, or tired?

Step 3

Trick Foods You Think Are Good For You

There’s a lot of so-called health foods out there that could be sabotaging your health efforts. Many gluten-free packaged foods or foods labelled ‘sugar-free’ have added artificial sweeteners and additives or a sugar content as high – if not higher – than their natural counterparts. Always check the label and look out for suspect foods such as:

  • Flavoured and sweetened yoghurt
  • Regular peanut butter
  • Fruit juices
  • Labels such as ‘Gluten-free’, ‘Organic’, ‘Sugar-free’ including biscuits, baked savoury snacks, ‘light’ or ‘low-fat’ ice cream etc. NOTE: A “sugar-free” food must contain less than 0.5 g of sugar per serving
  • Breakfast cereals
  • Muesli/granola bars

Step 4

Clean Out Your Pantry

Give your pantry a makeover by getting rid of foods that trigger your unhealthy eating habits. Remember: if it’s in your house, you’re going to eat it eventually!

Relying on willpower alone to stick to a strict diet rarely works for the long-term. Changing your surroundings and simplifying your food choices reduces the decisions you need to make and requires less thought and energy.

Remember: Willpower is a limited resource, it’s like a muscle that becomes fatigued from overuse.

Social Psychologist Roy Baumeister

You may need to sit down and talk through your plan and goals with family members or house mates. They will gain the benefits of the healthier lifestyle, but it may meet with resistance in the beginning (this is where the ‘swapping this for that’ comes in, see below).

Not sure what to throw out?

  • Packaged & processed convenience foods.
  • Does the ingredient label include food colourings, preservatives, flavour enhancers and artificial sweeteners? Look out for numbers in the 600 & 900’s.
  • Is this food perishable? Does it have a long shelf-life?
  • Does it even resemble real food?!

Step 5

Swapping This For That

By using a “swap system” you can replace many processed or high sugar foods for healthier alternatives. This can make you feel less like you’re depriving yourself and your family.

Swap OutSwap in alternative
Sugar &
artificial
sweeteners
Honey, pure maple syrup, stevia
Milk
Chocolate & Sweets
70-85% dark chocolate or raw cacao.
Protein balls, raw fudge
Soft drinks &
Sports Drinks
Water with fresh lemon or lime, coconut water
DIY Electrolyte drink —
water, lemon, Celtic Sea salt & honey
Margarine &
Cooking Sprays
Butter, extra virgin coconut oil, extra virgin olive oil, ghee
White
bread
Lettuce for wraps, traditional sourdough
Breakfast
Cereals
Overnight oats or chia with nuts and seeds,
Natural Greek yoghurt with nuts and sliced fruit,
Scrambled eggs with fermented vegetables
Flavoured
Yoghurt
Natural Greek Yoghurt, coconut yoghurt (add raw honey and fresh/frozen berries to naturally sweeten)
White PastaZucchini spirals (can lightly cook in coconut oil),
gluten free past such as brown rice, quinoa, etc.
Potato chips/friesHome made kale chips, nori, sweet potato fries (cooked in coconut oil)
Cows milk If you can’t tolerate cow’s milk try an alternative like almond/coconut/oat/soy/rice milk (check labels, avoid sweetened)
Table saltPink Himalayan or Celtic sea salt
White RiceBrown Rice, Cauliflower ‘rice’, Cauliflower & Broccoli ‘rice’, Quinoa
jodiallennutrition.com

Step 6

Practice Mindful Eating

Enjoy the occasional treat! Eating mindfully has been shown to promote weight loss, reduce binge eating, and improve your relationship with food. The following rules are also great to teach your kids:

  • Eat slowly and without distractions (such as the TV)
  • Listen to physical hunger cues and eat only until you’re 80% full
  • Distinguishing between why you’re craving food, are you stressed, sad, bored, or depressed?
  • Engage all of your senses when eating by noticing smells, tastes, textures, and flavours
  • Appreciate your food – is what you’re about to eat serving you and your journey to health?

You can find some great science-based mindful eating exercises from Positive Psychology here.


Final Recommendations

Develop daily routines and habits that become automatic.

Change takes repetition, yes it’s great to have one big goal but focusing on small daily steps makes change more achievable. Importantly, don’t beat yourself up if you fall off the wagon occasionally, you’re human.

Follow these simple steps and remember to take time to review and reflect on what you’ve achieved. You can shape your reality and optimise your health by cultivating a positive mindset and genuine self-care.