If you’re obsessing over how to eat more healthily, copying what an expert does is a good start. Which is why we’re quizzing experts on what they eat in a day, starting with Nutritional Director, vegetarian Rick Hay
When it comes to eating healthy you first think ‘oh, that will be easy’, moments later you find yourself thinking, ‘How am I going to eat healthy for every meal of the day?, what’s a healthy snack? Wait, does this have too many calories? But is this a good fat or bad fat?’
We eat healthy to be well but can become far too stressed out about being healthy! It’s why we have started asking experts exactly what they eat in a day.
First up, Healthista nutritional director Rick Hay.
‘It might sound a bit cliche as a nutritionist to tell you I start each day with a green smoothie, but in fact I do. I like to have breakfast around 7:30am every day although some days I might have it a little later at around 9am to 10am to allow for a longer overnight fast.
‘Most days breakfast tend to be a handful of spinach, a scoop of plant-based protein, 250ml of rice or almond milk with sometimes a banana or another piece of fruit.
‘I make sure I add in some greens like spinach or kale to my smoothies as they both contain magnesium which, according to the EU Register on Nutrition and Health Claims contributes to a reduction of tiredness and fatigue – and also to the normal function of the nervous system.
data for 130,000 people they found that there was a reduced mortality rate in people who ate more plant-based protein
‘In fact, a 2017 Review Paper found that magnesium, which is involved in over 300 enzymatic reactions in the body may even help with migraine headaches, diabetes, metabolic syndrome and premenstrual syndrome.
‘When I’m exercising it helps with my muscle function which is why I try to keep my intake of greens up throughout the day.
‘I also like to have the occasional nutrient dense green shot too if I am lacking in energy or prior to exercise. My go to green shots mid-morning or afternoon are either spirulina, chlorella or wheat grass.
‘I add plant-based protein to my smoothie to help make it feel more like a meal and to keep me feeling fuller for longer.
‘According to the EU Register of Nutrition and Health claims, protein helps with lean muscle mass development and with the maintenance of normal bone.
‘I find that my morning smoothie helps to keep my energy levels up whilst the amino acids in the protein help with hair, skin and nail health.
‘I start to feel hungry again mid-morning so I choose a snack to keep me going until lunch. Usually it’s a coconut yoghurt with some nuts and seeds.
Nuts and seeds are rich in protein, fibre, antioxidants and are well known for heart health.
Not only are they delicious but they contain vitamin E which protects cells from oxidative stress – it’s a key antioxidant.
The fibre in the nuts helps to regulate blood sugar levels and this in turn helps to keep my mood and energy levels steady.’
‘For lunch I will eat a vegan sandwich – this will usually have tofu or tempeh with some salad. The leafy greens in my salad are packed full of antioxidants that help to boost immunity.
Tofu or tempeh are good sources of plant-based protein and are fairly low in carbs. Even if you are not vegetarian or vegan it is good to include more of these meals into your diet – you could try to have a veggie or vegan day once or twice a week.
I have been writing and talking about the benefits of the eating more plant-baed protein for all of my career so it comes as no surprise that when a 2016 study by JAMA Internal Medicine looked at the diet data for 130,000 people they found that there was a reduced mortality rate in people who ate more plant-based protein.’
‘This snack will just be something small and easy to get me through to dinner. I usually go for some nuts and seeds again but I’ll add some dried fruit to it this time.
Again this will provide the body with some more protein, fibre, essential fats, antioxidants and other nutrients.
This mid-afternoon snack helps to curb my cravings and also helps me to reduce the portion size of my dinner.
I try to have some type of plant-based protein at each meal and snack – think you know by now that I am a fan.’
‘Moving on to dinner I will bake or grill some vegetables such as sweet potatoes, potatoes, carrots, swedes and turnips.
I lightly fry some tempeh or tofu in olive oil and a little garlic and tamari and serve this with the vegetables alongside leafy or steamed greens.
My day is all about getting colourful foods onto my plate and each of these vegetables I have at dinner provide health benefits – sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre and contain beta-carotene which benefits skin health, eye health and the immune system whilst swedes are high in fibre, rich in potassium and can help lower blood pressure.’
Top tip to getting a healthy balance:
‘Introduce more colour to your plate, add in high-fibre foods and plant-based proteins to help improve overall health and assist with weight management.’
Rick Hay is an Anti-Ageing and Fitness Nutritionist with many years clinical experience in nutrition, naturopathy, botanical medicine and iridology. He specializes in obesity treatment and weight management. He writes a regular Natural Health and Fitness Blog for Healthista. Find out more at rickhay.co.uk. Follow Rick on Twitter @rickhayuk
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