Mix and match – Post Christmas eating plan

Sooo, the Chrismas holidays are over and with them also the big meals! I got the typical extra couple of kilos that come with eating too much and exercising too little, or at least that is what my jeans say! I don’t like strict diets or counting calories, so here is my quick eating plan to (hopefully) go back to where I was.

Day sample:

  • Breakfast – this is something quite personal and everyone likes it different. I prefer savoury than sweet breakfasts, so my choice is always brown bread with proteins (I use to have bread slices with ham or cheese). If you are a cereal person, ideally go for the whole grain version, oats, or anything not artificial.
  • Big meals: Lunch and dinner – the aim after these meals is to be full enough (but not about to explode, Xmas is over guys!). Eat slowly and allow your belly to be filled up with quality food. Mix and match the options below so on each meal there should are veg, proteins and carbs. However, it’d be ever better to cut down proteins to one meal a day.
  • Snacks – ideally mid morning and mid afternoon, but any time I feel I need something in your belly to get to the next big meal.
  • Before bed (if you want to) – warm milk or any variation (soya, rice, almond…) helps to release melatonin, which is the hormone that regulates sleep and gets us ready for bed.

 

Bread, ham and coffee with soya milk, yum!

Food options:

Veg – Aaaany type of veggie, go wild here! This is the key to the plan really, anything thing goes with some olive oil and salt. The more variety, the better. Herbs are also recommended to make them tastier. If you lack ideas, here are some:

  • Roasted – Aubergine, courgette, sweet potato, peppers, parsnips, tomatoes, onion, leeks, Brussels sprouts, asparagus… turn on the over and let them rolling. Cooking a few in one go helps!
  • Steamed, boiled or microwaved – Broccoli, kale, coli-flower, green beans, cabbage, mangetout…
  • Salads – Tomatoes, carrots, lettuce, rocket, spinach, spring onions, mushrooms, beetroot, cucumber…

Proteins – Try to avoid fatty or red meat for a while:

  • Eggs, chicken and turkey in any size or type (breast, fillet, tights, dices…), no skin allowed
  • Any fish you like – salmon, cod, sea bass, tuna, mackerel, sardines, trout, haddock
  • Pulses, Lentils & Beans

Carbs – Ideally in the wholegrain version, as it has more fibre and nutrients. They fill you more and feed you better  🙂

  • Brown pasta, brown rice, quinoa, couscous, wheat, barley, buckwheat, kamut, bulgar…

Snacks – If you are good at controlling your big meals, snacks can be the part that make you fail, unless you don’t abuse it and always go for clean options here, below are some of my preferences:

  • Fruit, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, gherkins, dark chocolate, natural yogurt… If you have a sweet teeth, use honey or brown sugar, but don’t abuse it!

Finally, some little rules:

  • Eat and cook from fresh – No breaded, no ready meals. If you are a bit of a lazy cook I recommended to use the oven, and cook in batches of meals that last for at least 2 days. Less work, more combinations!
  • Watch your portions, remember the hand diet sizes. Eating healthier will help but we will miss the point if we eat double the sizes we need.
  • Be kind, don’t punish yourself if you eat what you “shouldn’t” – simply enjoy it while it last, be conscious of it and keep treats to the minimum
  • Watch out for those drinks – Sometimes we are right on track with what we eat, but we forget about what we drink. Be conscious of what you drink, milky or alcoholic drinks can be worst than certain snacks. If you love a good hot drink, go for herbal teas.
  • Cut down in sugar – This can be hard but it is definitely a long-term great idea, especially if you use white sugar. I first stop having sugar in teas, then moved to brown sugar in coffees, to finally cut down completely when I did my fitness challenge. A decision I live happy with, and have not regretted.
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