As much as I'm starting to like Autumn (cosy nights in, candles and hot chocolate - what's not to like?), it's by far the easiest time of year to slip into naughty eating habits. Darker nights and chilly weather make me want ALL the comfort food and it takes more than a little restraint to say no, especially after a long, hard day.
But being healthy doesn't have to mean a complete diet overhaul and it is possible to still make changes at this time of year. Why wait for the new year to start making those changes when you could be seeing the impact of them by then? Here are 6 minor tweaks you can make now to feel good going into winter.
Are you ready to get (a little bit) healthy?
1. The afternoon sugar fix
Swap it for: A Graze snack box
Have you heard about Graze yet? They're pretty generous with giving away free boxes to try, so it's hard not to know about them! Each box contains 4 snacks to see you through the week, but it's now possible to buy single snack boxes in stores such as Boots and Sainsbury's.
Next time you pop to the supermarket to pick up a chocolaty treat, why not give Graze's chocolate pretzel dippers (only 141 calories) a try? I also love the veggie protein power mix and salted fudge and peant cookie mix (both with 7g of protein!) for a protein-heavy snack that will see me through the rest of the day.
2. Store bought salad dressingsSwap it for: a dash of sesame oil and some healthy nuts or seeds
I only discovered sesame oil a few months ago and now use it all the time. It has a nutty flavour that works really well on salads or stir fries. It's much better than most store-bought dressings, which contain any number of preservatives and ingredients you can't pronounce, and also a lot more versatile!
NB: I'm not an expert on food, but I know olive oil is still considered to be marginally better for cooking.
3. The late night treatSwap it for: Dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa
Yes, dark chocolate really is good for you! A small bar of dark chocolate can give you over 50% of your RDA of iron (something us ladies need), is full of antioxidants and may even help protect skin against sun damage. Just make sure it's at least 70-85% and you can indulge (almost) guilt-free!
4. Your morning cup of teaSwap it for: white tea
Have you heard of white tea? Did you know it has an even greater quantity of the antioxidants found in green tea? I've been drinking white tea for a few years now - I think I first came across it in Paris, where they have all sorts of tea! - and I'm always surprised how hard it can be to find in the UK. It took me a few weeks to find some in a London supermarket!
This might be a difficult one for some of us, I know, but fans of green tea might find this easier. White tea has a nice, subtle flavour and usually comes in all the same flavours as green tea (if you can find it!) but is even better for you.
5. The spoonful of sugarSwap it for: a scoop of coconut oil
I struggle to drink my coffee black, but I'm constantly torn between sugar and sweetener because they both get such bad press - and for good reason! Since I discovered Vita Coco's coconut oil (c/o), I don't use anything else. Coconut oil is pretty much a saint in the food world and tastes amazing, too. I first raved about it in this post and will be posting an exciting recipe soon!
Do you struggle with eating healthily at this time of year? What little swaps have you made to your diet?