The healthy habits to help you spring into action - Nutrition

Jane McClenaghan shares her top tips on how to put more pep in your step

(Alamy Stock Photo)

Are you ready for a fresh new start? If you have been happily hibernating through the cold, dark winter months, now is the time to unfurl your feathers and step into springtime.

The change of season is the perfect opportunity to switch up your diet and make a few little changes to your daily routine and your weekly shop to help you feel more energised, happier, healthier and just better.

You have the power on your plate to change how you feel and function every day. Boundless energy, better mood, healthy digestion, a strong immune system, balanced hormones, great skin – good nutrition can do it all.

I am not talking about going on a crazy fad diet, or restricting calories on your plate so much that you end up hungry and hangry.

It’s the little things that matter, so start small and you will soon get your mojo back. Here are some ideas to get you inspired...

Get with the season

Roots and shoots of tender salad leaves, radishes, rhubarb and rainbow chard are some of the season’s best.

Keep an eye out for wild garlic and add it to salads, make into pesto or shred it and sprinkle on top of your stir-fry.

Switch up your everyday habits

Good nutrition is all about your everyday habits - those little things you do every day to nourish and nurture yourself, the stuff that sticks with you to help keep you healthy as can be.

How many of these habits you do every day?

  • Start your day with a glass of water to rehydrate yourself first thing.
  • Sit at a table to eat all your meals. Get away from your desk and off the sofa. Set the table, switch off the tech and sit down to eat.
  • Eat 5-7 portions of fruit and veg. Remember that a portion size is about the size of your fist.
  • Eat something fresh, green and leafy. Chard, spinach, rocket, watercress, broccoli, leeks – whatever takes your fancy.
  • Think protein first. A palm sized portion of protein at each meal.
  • Eat some healthy fats. Olive oil, oily fish, nuts, seeds or avocado.
  • Eat a probiotic food like natural yoghurt or kimchi every day.
  • Make mealtimes your me-time. Tune into your senses and enjoy the flavour, texture, sight and sound of your food.
  • Eat some dark chocolate every day – choose 70-85% cocoa content.
  • Rethink your drinks – choose water, herbal or green tea.

Build a better breakfast

Get your day off to a great start and put a spring in your step with one of these nutritious breakfasts:

  • Natural live/probiotic yoghurt, topped with some low sugar granola, seeds and berries.
  • Overnight oats with extra chia and flaxseeds.
  • Veg and herb omelette.

Good nutrition is all about your everyday habits - those little things you do every day to nourish and nurture yourself, the stuff that sticks with you to help keep you healthy as can be

Make your midday meal matter

Forget soggy sandwiches and limp salads and power up on something more nourishing to get you through the afternoon:

  • Seasonal, colourful salads with a protein of your choice.
  • Super-healthy soups with oatcakes and cheese.
  • Wholemeal pitta pockets packed with salad, protein and houmous, mustard or mayo.

Power up your evening meal

Here are three ways to add a pop of nutrition to your evening meal:

  • Pack an extra portion of vegetables to your meal (fresh or frozen).
  • Add a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to steamed vegetables.
  • Pack a palm-sized portion of protein onto your plate.

Snack attack

If you get the mid-afternoon munchies, or need a little snack after dinner, choose something that will add an extra hit of nutrition to your day.

How about one of these?

  • Natural yoghurt with berries.
  • 70-85% chocolate with Brazil nuts.
  • Houmous and veg sticks.