Top tips to improve your diet

We all know the importance of eating healthily and are always looking for ways to make it easier. But why wait until 1 January to embark on a new regime. It is only October, so by making changes now, you can look and feel better by Christmas, rather than Easter!

Time waits for no man, so don’t put off changing your diet for the better until everybody else is doing it – try these three easy ways to improve on what you eat today.

Supplement with Superfoods

We’ve all heard the term ‘superfood’, and probably know it means particularly nutrient dense things like spirulina that gram for gram, offer large quantities of a whole range of vitamins, antioxidants, fatty acids, and other goodies. Of course, these things are often pretty hard to just add in to your diet, and you probably won’t find spirulina or its counterparts on offer at the sandwich shop where you buy your lunch (given that it is basically algae from a pond). So how do you get the benefits of superfoods without adopting some weird juice regimen and buying a load of strange green powders? Simply by taking organic supplements. These are usually capsules you take in the dosage recommended on the pack, which give you a weighty boost of good nutrition without affecting what you eat.

Eat More Whole Foods

The term whole foods is one that confuses people, because they think this means you should only eat foods in their whole form (for example fish with the heads on or potatoes with skin), or that once you mix foods together in a recipe they no longer count. This is basically madness. All whole foods are are foods that, when you start working with them, are just one thing. A piece of chicken, a tomato, a carrot, and so on. Cooking a bunch of whole foods together to make them into a delicious curry does not stop them being whole foods, but means you have a healthier curry than if you bought a ready made one with additives in it.

Yes, some common foods like bread are not really whole foods, and neither are most sauces or desserts, unless you make them yourself out of whole foods. By cutting down on pre-processed foods and cooking yourself with ingredients, or ordering whole foods like cuts of meat when you go out for dinner, your diet can become much healthier without compromising on taste.

Drink More Fluids

You always hear that you should drink more water, but actually, the water component in any drink, aside from diuretic drinks like alcohol, coffee and dandelion tea all count towards keeping you hydrated. Fruit juices, sports drinks, tea, sugar free soft drinks and other beverages all actually count, so while water has a few other benefits, if it bores you, try upping your fluid intake in other ways.

These are just three easy changes that will help you improve your diet for the rest of 2016, as well as for 2017.

 

To the test: a yogurt maker for your home

I’m always keen to try out a new kitchen gadget. So when the Judge Yogurt Maker landed on my doorstep I couldn’t wait to start creating my own yogurt. I mean who doesn’t love a big bowl of fruit, yogurt and nuts – a wonderfully refreshing way to start the day. And health giving, too.

yogurt

A bowl of yogurt topped with tasty berries

The compact machine comes with seven 15oml jars with different coloured lids, which makes it look very pretty. All you need is a litre of milk and a pot of live yogurt to get started. Simply heat the milk, then let it cool and divide the yogurt and milk between the pots. You can add chopped fruit and honey, too, to create different flavours. Then turn on your machine and let it do its magic.

The process takes eight hours and you can hear the odd little click and whir emanating from the machine, though it’s generally a pretty silent operation. Switch it on before you go to bed and you’ll have your very own freshly-made yogurt waiting for you in the  morning.

yogurt machine

The yogurt maker doing its magic

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Pretty jars can be put straight into the fridge for storage

I also discovered this powder that you can buy from Holland & Barrett. Simply mix it with water and turn on the machine. The Peaches & Cream flavour was delicious as was the Greek Honey. I couldn’t quite believe that some powder and water would produce yummy yogurt…but it did. So simple.

Peaches-Cream-500x500

I’d recommend the Judge Yogurt Maker highly if you’re a family of dedicated yogurt eaters. Once you’ve made your first batch you can keep using it as the live yogurt to add to milk to make more, so you’ll be able to keep the family in supply for ever, in theory.

And if you’re not a dedicated yogurt eater, maybe it’s time to start. It has a raft of health benefits: the probiotics in it help to increase the good bacteria in your system which adds with digestion and your immune system. It’s also a good source of Vitamin B, Calcium, Potassium and Magnesium which means it’s good for your bones.

As well as being the ideal breakfast food, yogurt is also great in marinades as it tenderises meat and it’s a useful baking ingredient to have at hand.

And now you can have the satisfaction of making your very own. Why wouldn’t you?

The Judge Yogurt Maker is £34.94 on amazon.co.uk

Recipe: Peppered mackerel, broccoli, new potato and pea salad

This salad is packed with goodness with its vibrant greens, peppery oily mackerel and hot and creamy dressing.

You can experiment with your own ingredients but I find this is the perfect combination and the potatoes and rich fish make it seem pretty substantial.

Serves 2

mackerel

A wonderfully healthy and tasty recipe

8 new potatoes, boiled and halved

100g tenderstem broccoli, boiled and cooled

Peas, boiled and cooled

50g pea shoots or other leaves

1 pack of smoked, peppered mackerel fillets

100ml creme fraiche

2 tbsps hot horseradish cream or sauce

Boil the new potatoes until tender. Put aside to cool, then halve

Boil the broccoli and peas for about five minutes each and immerse in cold water to cool down and retain the strong green colour.

Mix the creme fraiche and horseradish together well.

When cooled, assemble the salad.

First place the leaves on the bottom and sprinkle lightly with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Add the potatoes, broccoli and peas. Sprinkle  half of the horseradish creme fraiche on top.

Remove the skin and flake the mackerel on top of the vegetables.

Sprinkle the remainder of the sauce on top and serve.