Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: My day-by-day guide to a week of wellness

Eating and even preparing food together are important, as is what we eat
Jane McClenaghan

THE week ahead is Healthy Eating Week 2020. This is a great opportunity to get some inspiration to help you shake things up a bit. Especially as it is now officially autumn. The change of season is a great time to get focussed and make changes for the good of your health.

Getting focussed on a week full of small changes that will help you feel energised, nourish your body and get you moving can’t be a bad idea, can it?

:Monday: Eat more wholegrains

Wholegrains are a good way to pack more fibre into your diet but when we think wholegrains, most of us think wholemeal bread or wholewheat pasta. What if there was a better way? Wheat is a relatively high glycaemic-index grain, whether it is wholewheat or not, so I would suggest you step away from the wholewheat and try some different grains in your diet. There are plenty to choose from and trying some different or ancient grains is a good way to up the nutrition in your diet. Choose form:

- Oats as porridge or oatcakes

- Rye – pumpernickel rye bread makes a good open sandwich

- Brown or wild rice

- Spelt bread or pasta

- Quinoa

- Buckwheat grain or pasta (despite its name, buckwheat is gluten free)

Tuesday: Vary your veg

Why not use this week as an opportunity to try adding different vegetables into your diet? If your shopping basket always has carrots, broccoli and peppers in it, how about switching to something you haven’t had for ages – parsnips, cauliflower and chard instead?

Also think about innovative ways to add veggies to your diet so you're not just eating a big pile of boring veg plonked on your plate. Add interesting vegetables to your curries, roast vegetables that you usually steam (broccoli, cauliflower and spouts are great roasted), or try a new seasonal soup recipe to your mix.

Wednesday: Drink plenty

Wednesday’s focus is to stay hydrated. Forget fizzy drinks, cordials and fruit juices and drink water. Aim for 6-8 glasses a day. It always helps to have a really nice reusable water bottle, as it will help you to drink more if it looks good! Replace one or two of your teas or coffees in the day with herbal teas. Buy a selection pack as a good way to try different flavours and see what you like.

Drink at regular intervals and don’t wait until you are thirsty as by that stage your energy levels will be starting to lag with dehydration.

Thursday: Move more

Move your booty – whether you are dancing around your kitchen, digging in the garden or jogging around the block, any movement you do to raise your heart rate counts. We are meant to do 150 minutes of exercise every week – that’s half an hour a day Monday to Friday.

Friday: Be mind kind

Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health. It takes work and practice. Mindfulness, being out in nature and giving yourself permission to rest and relax are important. We need to pause every now and then. What can you do to help you switch off?

Saturday: Get active together

Isn’t it so much more motivating and fun exercising with a friend than trying to push yourself through press-ups on your own? Get your gang together and hook up for a walk – from a safe social distance of course.

Sunday: Eat together

Food is not just about nutrition – it is also social and emotional. Eating together is one of the joys in life, and although Covid restrictions mean we can’t sit around each other’s kitchen tables, we can share food with a couple of friends in our gardens, so if the weather is bright, get yourself wrapped up and sit out and enjoy the last rays of summer sunshine.

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