Food & Drink

Nutrition with Jane McClenaghan: Is your diet the right fit?

Cooking from scratch can be great fun - and can help you eat better.
Cooking from scratch can be great fun - and can help you eat better. Cooking from scratch can be great fun - and can help you eat better.

WHEN it comes to eating a nutritious diet, there is no one-size-fits-all solution. It is a bit like trying on a new coat - you have to find one that fits you, makes you feel good and is just right for you, but that same diet (or coat...) might not suit your friend, sister, brother, aunt or best mate.

Many of us have become so disconnected from the food we eat that we have lost sight of what it is really doing to our bodies, or how it really makes us feel.

Do you eat on the go, grab a bite when you can and eat whatever is going? Or do you eat what the latest fad diet tells you to, or buy stuff because the label tells you it is healthy?

I love it when a client finds their fit. When they know what food makes them feel more energised, stronger, healthier, better and, conversely, what foods are just not the right fit for them.

There is so much choice amongst different diets it can be tricky to get the right one for you. The Mediterranean diet, keto diet, low fat, low carb... all so different and each has their own merits, but there is no right or wrong answer.

A lot depends on things like who else you are cooking for, whether you are male or female, your age, if you have specific health concerns as well as your own personal tastes.


Keep a food diary

Keeping a food diary can help you to look at the bigger picture. Keep a note of everything you eat or drink over the next three or four days, but instead for looking at your food intake with a critical eye to see what you are doing wrong, look at it as if it is your best friend's food diary and notice all the good stuff. Then use this as the basis to make a couple of small changes.

Start with where you are

Each of us have different tastes and dietary habits. If you are ready to shake things up a bit, start with your food diary and notice what you already do that is good for you.

We all have healthy habits. What are yours? Then commit to making one small change this week for the good of your health.

This is so much easier (and healthier) than putting yourself on a diet with unrealistic targets and goals.

Keep it simple

Don't go on a diet or fill your trolley full of weird diet foods you are unlikely to eat, never mind enjoy. Instead, think about how you could add in an extra portion of vegetables a day, or how you might increase your fibre intake this week, for example.

Keep it balanced

Sometimes we are hard on ourselves. We feel guilty about eating an extra biscuit, get angry at ourselves if we have overindulged, or put ourselves on a diet if the scales creep up a pound or two.

If we took better notice of what we eat most of the time, then there is space for an occasional treat or overindulgence every once in a while without it causing any damage to our health, or our waistline.

Enjoy your food

Now you have decided what you are going to change, take the time to enjoy the food you are eating. Enjoy the process of planning and preparing your food and then sit down and take the time to savour and relish how delicious that nutritious plate of food is.

The more you can connect to the food you eat - how it tastes, as well as how it makes you feel, the easier it is to eat foods that suit your body. The more tuned in we are to the sensory experience of eating, the better for our heath.

Cook from scratch

Find a new recipe or two and get cooking. Cooking from scratch means you can adjust the recipes depending on your taste. That way you'll eat better, get more variety in your diet and enjoy your food more.