Grazing & grilling to a healthier, happier you

A healthy life is governed by a multitude of things ranging from genetics to environment, but two factors are said to affect a person’s wellbeing more than anything: exercise and diet. A ‘good’ diet doesn’t necessarily mean adhering to strict nutritional ideals or missing out on the foods you really love; it can often mean simple not overindulging in any one food group.

There are so many benefits that come from a healthy diet including increased energy levels and sustained concentration. It’s so easy to skip breakfast and eat lunch on the run, but if you make the effort to improve the quality of the food you’re eating, you may find yourself really enjoying mealtimes again.

Consider the fantastically diverse range of foods available and where you can, incorporate fresh ingredients in your cooking. Make gradual changes towards a healthier diet to give your body a chance to adapt to the new things you’re putting into it; have a salad instead of a side of potatoes or chips, for example, and drink water instead of sugary sodas. As you begin to decrease your need for foods that are high in salt and sugar, you’ll find yourself craving them much less and can save them for occasional weekend treats.

Also consider portion size; maybe you could moderate a little more and serve yourself a little less – you can always go back and get more if you’re still hungry. When you start eating smaller meals, you may need to eat more often too. This is a good thing! Grazing tends to increase your metabolism, which helps you to burn calories more quickly.

Also try different foods in new locations – like outside! With the warm weather arriving in time for summer, now is the perfect time to start planning a barbeque. Not only is this a great way to get together with friends and family and enjoy the fresh air, BBQ food can be fresh and healthy. While many people immediately think of burgers and sausages dripping with fat, there are loads of great alternatives. Grilled chicken and vegetable kebabs are delicious and extremely healthy. Fish is another favourite – salmon wrapped in tinfoil and gently baked over the coals is versatile in terms of flavours. Have a look for BBQ recipes, accessories and marinadesavailable from your local supermarket, but don’t forget to check the weather before you send out the invitations!

In terms of health benefits, grilled foods stand head and shoulders about those that are deep fried. When foods are fried, they absorb a lot of fat, which increases blood cholesterol levels. Over time these increased levels can pose several issues to general health, and high cholesterol can lead to high blood pressure, increased risk of stroke, type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. If food is grilled, the fat is allowed to drip out of the food, rather than staying locked into it. Grilled foods also have a lower calorie content, which is beneficial to anyone trying to watch their weight.

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