Many of the papers this week reported on new research that claims a poor diet now kills more people than smoking.
The report, which was based on the work of an international group of scientists, was published in the The Lancet.
It claims that, “improvement of diet could potentially prevent 1 in every 5 deaths globally.”
They recommend that dietary policy should focus on encouraging us to include more of the healthy food we currently lack, such as whole-grains, fruits, nuts and seeds, as well as advising us to cut down on the bad stuff such as salt, sugar and fat.
Focusing on the healthy food you can include is actually a really good way to improve your diet. Fad-diets are all about cutting things out. It’s no wonder they leave us feeling deprived. When we’re on a traditional diet, we tend to think more about the cake we can’t have, than the carrot we can.
One of the main problems with improving your diet is that it takes a lot of time and energy. And that’s time and energy that most of us feel we haven’t got.
If you’re anything like me, you’ll often find yourself dashing around the supermarket, madly grabbing anything that you can cook for the next couple of days that will keep everybody happy.
In that situation, I tend to fall back on the recipes I know off by heart. And in the days when those recipes tended to be less than ideal, I’d end up with a trolley full of processed food that was high in fat, high in sugar and high in salt without a wholegrain in sight.
When I began to change my diet I did it by planning one new dish a week. If everybody liked it, I’d cook it regularly until I knew it off by heart. So now when I’m dashing round the supermarket, I can remember the ingredients for the healthier dishes off the top of my head.
Small changes are easier to make than big ones. And think more about the healthy ingredients you’re adding to your diet rather than unhealthy things your cutting out. Why not try one new plant-based dish next week? Or try a vegetable or a grain you’ve never tried before? A healthy diet should feel like a treat, not a punishment, so find food that you enjoy, that way, the changes are more likely to stick and you’ll have new healthier habits that will last you a lifetime.