Have you ever been at the airport and been fortunate enough to have your flight upgraded? Or checked into a hotel and find that you've been given a better room?
Whether it’s for a flight, your car hire, or your hotel room, everything feels like a treat … better seats, better ride, better sleep.
Well … that’s what your body feels like when you UPGRADE your food choices.
When you reduce or eliminate the heavily processed food and increase your intake of wholefoods packed full of fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients, your body feels like it's had an upgrade!
So, when you’re trying to make healthier food choices and feel a little overwhelmed, it's worth remember that even the smallest changes can still have a significant impact to your diet and your health.
Start easy .... simply swap out those things that you know hold you back from getting the results you want and replace them with the foods that move you closer to your goals!
Here are just a few examples of food upgrades to try:
Crisps → Nuts
Crisps contain very little in the way of positive benefits for your health or your fitness goals. High in salt, they usually contain unhealthy fats, and the refined carbohydrates can spike your blood sugars.
Meanwhile, nuts contain heart-healthy unsaturated fats, fibre, and micronutrients your body needs. Research suggests that people who regularly eat nuts are 14% less likely to develop cardiovascular disease and 20% percent less likely to develop coronary heart disease!
Portion control is key, though, with a single serving being about 30g. Savour each and every bite!
Biscuits/Cakes/Sweets → Dark chocolate
Here, you’re swapping out all the unhealthy refined ingredients (sugar, white flour, unhealthy fats) … and replacing it with an ingredient that actually helps you!
The cocoa in chocolate contains flavanols, which (among other things) can help lower your blood pressure and improve how your blood vessels function.
Again, it’s all about moderation – 30g (1oz) equals 1 serving.
Fizzy Drinks → Herbal Tea
Most of us already take in too much added sugar. The NHS guidelines recommend that adults get no more than 30g of sugar (7 sugar cubes) a day yet a single 330ml can of your well known cola can contain 9 teaspoons of sugar. Not only that, but studies link fizzy drinks to weight gain, diabetes, and heart disease.
Herbal teas are a MUCH better choice. Some (like chamomile) can help you relax, others (like peppermint) can energise you, and some simply just taste great!
Steak → Salmon
Here, you’re swapping out saturated fats for healthier fats that protect your health.
Steaks, burgers, and hot dogs are all high in saturated fat that can raise your level of LDL (low-density lipoprotein) cholesterol that’s linked with heart disease.
But oily fish like salmon and albacore tuna are rich in the omega-3 fatty acids, which many of us don’t eat enough of. These healthy fats actually lower how much fat is in your blood and can reduce the plaque build-up in your arteries.
Pasta/Rice/Potatoes → Veggies ... Especially Green Veggies!
Most of us know that aren't eating enough vegetables. If your diet tends to be heavy on starchy carbohydrates (foods like pasta, rice, or potatoes), one of the easiest ways to get more veg in your diet is to replace a serving (or two!) for vegetables.
Starchy carbs are high in calories for the nutrients they contain. Whilst this makes them a great source of energy, they can also raise your blood sugar quickly. The resulting blood sugar spikes can leave you feeling tired, hungry and craving less healthy food choices.
By swapping for veggies, you can boost your micronutrient intake, avoid potential blood sugar swings AND reduce the inflammation that can contribute to disease.
If you'd like to improve your nutrition with a view to optimising your health, little changes like these swaps are easy to apply and have a massive cumulative effect. Why not pick one to start with, check how it feels ....and see if you can switch your way to better health?