We know a diet abundant in real food, made up of seasonal vegetables, adequate protein and low in sugar, is one we should be aiming for, but how exactly do you incorporate eating like this on a daily basis? Today’s focus isn’t on “superfoods”, instead on “wholefoods”, and how exactly you can make eating wholefoods part of your daily routine. Wholefoods can be defined as “food that has been processed or refined as little as possible and is free from additives or other artificial substances”.
As part of Hip & Healthy joining forces with Nākd for its Wholefood Revolution, below are 5 manageable steps to enjoy a wholefood diet, rich in low-glycaemic, nutrient-dense foods. Once you start you’ll almost certainly not go back!
Providing a steady release of energy, oats are low in sugar, known to help lower cholesterol, rich in dietary fibre and inexpensive. You can start the day with porridge, make your own muesli, add a tbsp to a yoghurt and berry combination, add oats to a smoothie, savoury flapjack or increase the nutritional content of a crumble by using oats as the topping. Avoiding gluten? Not a problem. GF oats are readily available and should be used by coeliacs. If you have a gluten intolerance, not allergy, oats may not cause discomfort as they don’t contain gluten, however in harvesting there may be some cross-contamination.
A combination of sunflower, pumpkin and flaxseeds is a great way to boost your omega 3 levels, Vitamin A and Vitamin E. Either purchase a pre-made mix or create your own. Having a jar to hand will make it easy to sprinkle this omega mix onto porridge, yoghurt, soups, salads and stews or eat as a snack. Not only will they help provide some crunch and texture, you can go a step further and lightly toast your seeds with sea salt and mixed spices to add an extra flavoursome kick to salads.
Ensure your blood sugar levels remain balanced to increase your energy, maintain a healthy weight and avoid binge episodes or making unhealthy choices due to a lack of choice by ensuring you have portion controlled access to nuts. Due to high phytic acid content it’s advisory to soak or bake your nuts, processes which also increase their digestibility. Buying in bulk online (1kg servings) will save you money, plus invest in a BPA free Tupperware container that you can keep with you when out and about. Almonds, walnuts, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts and cashews are preferable. A handful counts as one serving size.
Make visiting your local farmers market part of your weekly routine so you can get to see what’s in season, support British farming, eat organic and often you’ll be saving yourself money too. Making soup is easy, quick and a great way to include a mixture of vegetables in one go. If you have time make a larger batch and freeze so you can enjoy throughout the week. For a more hearty meal add lentils or beans, which will also increase the fibre content, helping you feel fuller for longer.
Frozen foods don’t need to be the enemy, in fact frozen vegetables and fruits can be an excellent way to ensure you always can include nutritious, unprocessed foods, when you are short of time. Frozen spinach, broccoli, peas, corn and berries have a similar nutritional profile to their fresh counterpart and are a far better choice than canned fruits and vegetables which are often filled with preservatives and sugars. Ensure you buy plain versions, free from spices and sources and where possible go organic too.
So when you’ve made the effort to ditch the convenience foods, minimise the consumption of pre-prepared and packaged foods be sure to avoid frying at high temperatures, which can alter the nutrient content and generate toxic metabolites. Food should be prepared simply, by cooking methods such as steaming, slow cooking on a low heat, steam frying.
When you’re on the go and need a wholefood snack, try any of the Nākd range, which only use natural ingredients – for more information visit EATNĀKD.com
words by Kathryn Fielding
Hip and Healthy Ambassador
Nutritional Therapist DipION, mBANT, CNHC Registered