Ask The Expert

12 Clever Hacks for Eating Healthy

Personal Trainer Chris Antoni founded TMF Fitness in 2012 and has been working in the fitness industry for over 12 years with clients including several well-known celebrities. Here are his top 12 hacks for eating healthy that are not just effective but also simple to implement into busy lifestyles.

1. Ostrich over Chicken

Swap chicken for ostrich as it’s low in fat and cholesterol as well as high in protein, calcium and protein and has less fat than chicken.

2. Choose Wholegrain over Refined

You can eat healthier by switching to wholegrain. Wholegrain has been linked with many benefits such as a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer, they are a great source of fibre, B vitamins and several minerals such as zinc, iron, magnesium and manganese.

3. Bake or Roast, Occasionally Grill, Never Fry

The way you prepare your food can drastically change its effects on your health. Grilling, broiling, frying and deep-frying are all popular methods of preparing meat and fish.

However, during these types of cooking methods, several potentially toxic compounds are formed, such as polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), advanced glycation end products (AGEs) and heterocyclic amines (HCAs). All of these compounds have been linked to several diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

Healthier cooking methods include baking, broiling, simmering, slow-cooking, poaching, pressure cooking, stewing and sous-vide. These methods do not promote the formation of these harmful compounds and thus make your food healthier.

Nevertheless, there is nothing to say you can’t enjoy the occasional grill or deep-fry, but try to use those methods sparingly.

4. Never Shop While You’re Hungry

Trust me on this one. Shop on a full stomach or else risk going rogue in the food aisles that are not healthy. You’ll end up buying what your body is craving.

5. Cut the Sugary Drinks

A simple and very effective way to improve health, reduce obesity and potential type 2 diabetes is by cutting sugary drinks down to a bare minimum and replacing with low carbonated drinks. Also, do not think diet fizzy drinks are the answer, research tells us diet fizzy drinkers are just as heavy.

6. Park the Furthest Away While Food Shopping

I know most people want to park as close as possible to the supermarket and you will drive around for a while trying to find the closest spot to park. I, on the other hand, grab the first spot I see even if it is at the end of the car park. Here’s why parking far away is better:

  • You can burn more calories by walking more.
  • You save petrol by not driving around in stop and go traffic.
  • You will buy less as you don’t want the trolley to be too heavy when going back to the car that’s parked far away.

7. Go Green for Your Starter

If you are having a starter, choose one with plenty of green vegetables. This way psychologically your thought process is healthy food to start with and you will want to keep that trend going for the main. Green vegetables have plenty of health benefits and help keep us feeling full. Eating greens before a carb-rich meal has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood sugar levels. It slows down the speed of which carbs are absorbed into the bloodstream and may benefit short and long term blood sugar control in people with diabetes.

8. Cereal Swap

Swap sugary cereal for puff grains like Kamut and add fresh berries and some almond milk. Delicious tasting, much lower in calories and certainly lower and no added sugars.

9. Swap Mayonnaise for Hummus

You can make hummus yourself – it’s just chickpeas, tahini, garlic, lemon juice and a touch of salt and pepper. Dip in some celery sticks to make a nice healthy snack.

10. Lettuce Wraps Instead of Burger Buns

Swap your burger buns for lettuce leaves, they give you greens, nutrients and are much healthier for you because they reduce carbohydrates.

11. Don’t Shop Without a List

There are two important strategies to employ when you go grocery shopping:

A) Make your shopping list ahead of time and don’t go to the shops hungry. Not knowing exactly what you need makes room for impulse buying, while hunger can further exacerbate your impulses.

B) To make sure you don’t give in to your impulses, plan ahead and write down what you need beforehand. Doing this and sticking to your list, you will not only buy healthier items but also save money and have healthier foods around the house.

12. Choose Baked Potatoes over French fries

Potatoes are very filling and a common side to many dishes, that said, the method in which they’re prepared largely determines their health effects.

For starters, 100 grams of baked potato contain 94 calories, while the same amount of french fries contain 319 calories – over three times as much!

Furthermore, deep-fried french fries generally contain harmful compounds, such as aldehydes and trans fats. Replacing your french fries with baked or boiled potatoes is a great way to shave off calories and avoid these harmful compounds.

About the expert

Chris Antoni is 31 years old and has been working in the fitness industry for over 12 years, he founded Tailor Made Fitness was founded in 2012 by Chris Antoni. During this time he has delivered classes such as spinning, exercise to music and circuit training and has achieved a level 3 personal trainer by YMCA-FIT, a qualification recognised worldwide in the fitness industry that enables him to train clients who would like to achieve weight loss, muscle gain, toning, sports specific, general fitness, nutritional advice and training in different environments (outdoors or in the gym).

Since 2006 Chris has also worked as a football coach for a number of clubs, designing and executing football, speed and agility and fitness drills for players aged between 4-14 as well as adults (18+) to improve their stamina, strength and performance during matches. Chris has also worked at an after-school club with children from 4 to 11 where he has learnt to maintain the children’s attention by making exercise fun. In addition, he has successfully trained various teenagers whose fitness goals have varied from losing weight, becoming physically stronger, or just boosting self-esteem.

Having built up a solid client base in 2012 Chris decided to set up his own personal training company and that’s how Tailor Made Fitness was born. Every client is different and that’s why he firmly believes in delivering a wide range of high-quality exercises to suit each client’s needs and goals, while at the same time ensuring that the sessions are enjoyable.

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