With fad diets and media hype always touting the newest diet plan no-no’s there are some foods that get unfairly smeared with a bad reputation of being unhealthy. There’s so much misinformation out there that it is easy to get confused. In reality, eating well and nourishing your body with good, healthy food is simpler than you think. To help you, today we sort fact out from fiction and reveal the nutritional (and scrumptious) value of 5 popular foods you may have been unnecessarily avoiding.
Whether you like them poached, hard boiled or sunny side up, eggs have had their fair share of a bad rap. The once feared cholesterol issue has been debunked and their health benefits can now be celebrated by including them as part of a nutritious diet plan. Eggs are high in protein, vitamins and minerals (mainly found in the yolk) and can make you feel full, without overloading your calories. There is also evidence to suggest adding eggs to your breakfast could help weight loss. A study in the International Journal of Obesity reported an egg breakfast (as part of a calorie controlled diet) saw a 65% greater weight loss compared to a bagel breakfast across a 12-week period.
Easy egg snacks: Hard boil several eggs at the beginning of the week to take to work, or leave in the office fridge. They can be enjoyed sliced onto crackers, added to a salad or just eaten on their own!
Oh honey, that sweet, golden, gooey deliciousness. It’s one of nature’s oldest sweeteners with the added benefit of anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-viral qualities. Today it gets a bad rap because of its fructose content. Yet, the sweet truth is that it’s a better alternative to refined sugar or artificial sweeteners. Honey has the advantage over sugar as a sweetener because it contains antioxidants which help reduce risk of disease. Eating a balanced diet allows you to enjoy a variety of foods as well as diverse taste sensations. At Active8me, we advocate making healthy food choices AND celebrate eating as something to be enjoyed. So, if you’re healthy, active and don’t need to lose weight then honey could be a sweet treat in your overall nutrition plan! Remember, it is still high in calories, so savour the flavour minimally – everything in moderation!
Hasty honey soother: Add a teaspoon of honey to your tea. This will also help combat a sore throat when you don’t have time to be sick!
Red meat is a versatile source of protein, iron and essential vitamins. It provides Vitamin B12, which is vital for nerve and red blood cell health. More importantly, B12 deficiency makes you feel tired and weak, which makes exercise and eating healthy feel like a chore. Consuming protein can help with weight loss and achieving a toned body. Jaclyn Reutens, Active8me expert, dietician and owner of Aptima Nutrition and Sports Consultants says eating lean red meat as part of a diet plan will “help you feel fuller for longer, and it complements your carbohydrate and high fibre foods well to make a balanced meal. This combination makes fat-burning a no-brainer in your body.”
The bad rap for red meat comes from overeating of fatty cuts of meat or it’s processed counterparts, such as sausages. Jaclyn acknowledges that there are “healthier food choices when it comes to selecting your red meat while dining out, especially at Hawker centres. Avoid dishes where the meat is battered and deep fried . Ask for less gravy or skip the saucer of soy sauce and just go for the chilli.”
Quick and easy red meat recipe: Try the Active8me Lean Beef Pad Thai (and loads of other easy, yummy recipes in the FREE Active8me app).
Low carb fanatics go to town on beating down bread, but it’s not all bad. The bread bad rap comes from the high calorie and low nutrient content of the overly processed carbs like white bread, white rice, cakes and biscuits. But, breads that contain wholegrains retain their beneficial nutrients and release their energy more slowly into the bloodstream. This, combined with their fibre content, makes them good for your digestive health, also making you feel fuller for longer which leads to better weight management habits.
Carbohydrates are essential macronutrients and a necessary part of any diet plan, but not all breads are equal. Including wholegrains into your nutrition plan may also be the answer to the major diabetes problem plaguing many in Asia today. (Did you know that 60% of the world’s diabetics live in Asia! Yes, 60%). Research published in the Annals of Epidemiology found that women who consumed wholegrains significantly reduced their risk of diabetes, compared to those who consumed refined grains.
A grainy alternative: Try using a wholegrain wrap filled with curried egg and salad as a pre-prepared lunch or to eat for breakfast while in the go!
Who would have thought that a healthy eating diet plan could contain chocolate? Chocolate has a lot of calories, so don’t get too excited and over indulge in a sugar laden chocolate bar. BUT, like bread, not all chocolate is created equal. A study in The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition suggested that a little dark chocolate incorporated into a diet plan could improve performance in fitness training. However, experts are quick to point out that it is the antioxidant flavonols, found in quality cocoa that are the hero’s in chocolate. So, a higher cocoa and lower sugar content is considered to have better nutritional value when incorporating small amounts into your diet plan.
Quick chocolate fix: Melt a few squares of 70% cocoa chocolate and drizzle over your favourite summer fruits, like watermelon, strawberries or mango!
At Active8me we advocate healthy, active living and understand that today’s busy lifestyle doesn’t always make this easy. But it’s absolutely possible – as we know ourselves and as we see everyday. We aim to empower you with information that cuts the fact from the fiction and equips you to make great decisions and nourish your body with appropriate foods.
So, go ahead and enjoy eggs, honey, lean red meat, wholegrain bread and dark chocolate, but remember moderation and balance is the key. If you want to see real changes in your health and body transformation then your nutrition is the place where your biggest changes will happen. Don’t forget, you can’t make up for overeating or a bad diet plan with exercise alone. The biggest difference between all the latest fad diet plans and a sensible, achievable, balanced, expert curated nutrition plan (like on the Active8me program) is that you shouldn’t feel restricted and constrained, you should feel nourished and fulfilled.