Did you start the year full of good intentions to eat healthily, only to lapse a couple of days later? Are you still trying to shift that stubborn half a stone which you vowed to get rid of last year? Try out our simple healthy eating ideas to ensure you look stunning by Valentine's Day.
The first way to give your diet a boost is to look at what empty calories you're drinking. If you usually have a large, flavoured latte and two large glasses of red wine a day, you're consuming around 600 calories. Cut out alcohol, hot chocolate and creamy coffees, and substitute water and fruit or herbal teas in their place.
Spread it thin
If you're a toast or sandwich fan, it's likely that you use jams, butter or margarine to enhance the flavour of the bread. Swap to a low-fat spread to save up to 10g fat every day and try a jam without added sugar on your toast. Choose a light mayonnaise in your sandwich to cut the calorie count in half and you'll be on your way to losing half a stone by February 14th.
Ensure you're eating a breakfast that won't leave you starving by 11am and reaching for the nearest biscuit. If you fall victim to hunger pangs, try swapping a breakfast of muesli and orange juice for poached or scrambled eggs on toast, then eat an orange at 11. The combination of protein and carbohydrate in the eggs and toast can help you feel full for longer.
Burn it off
A sensible heathy diet is best paired with regular, fat-burning exercise in order to ensure you lose half a stone. Take an aerobics or dance class once a week, increase the time you walk every day by half an hour and do some cardio exercise for 45 minutes to an hour on at least two more days. If you don't have time for long cardio sessions, build up to half an hour of skipping by fitting in ten minute sessions whenever you can during the day.
Start your lunch with vegetable soup (lentil, minestrone or carrot) to help fill you up. Choose from a big salad, low-fat vegetable curry, tuna sandwich or a jacket potato with baked beans.
Cutting out snacks entirely will leave you devoid of energy and weeping in front of cake displays. Keep a stash of healthy snacks in your bag; nuts, oatcakes and no-added-sugar fruit bars.
Keep your supper delicious by marinating fish, meat or tofu in a chilli or soy sauce before grilling them. Try chicken or halloumi kebabs with couscous, or grilled prawns with broccoli and brown rice.
It's important to eat when you feel hungry. If you don't, your body will assume it's in "famine" mode and store fat when you start eating normally again. Keep up your blood sugar levels by having a meal or snack every 2-3 hours. If you eat healthily, you should lose 1-2 pounds a week and be half a stone lighter by mid-February.
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