Four simple ways to spring-clean your diet

IF THE revolving door of diet tips and tricks hitting your newsfeed has left you confused about healthy eating, never fear.

We asked a nutrition expert for some simple steps to improve your eating habits (and they don't involve culling food groups).

1. Pump up the produce

Research has shown only one in 20 Aussie adults eats enough fruit and vegetables so upping your daily intake is a good place to start.

Nutrition Australia senior nutritionist Aloysa Hourigan said we should aim to include vegetables in two meals or snacks each day to meet the target of five serves.

"Just having vegies once a day is not enough to meet the daily requirement," she said.

"If you're off to work, something like vegie sticks and hummus could be a good option for the afternoon."

To get two serves of fruit, she suggests having a piece with breakfast and adding grapes or apple slices to salads.

2. Simple swaps

Health gurus are singing the praises of the humble legume with 2016 being the International Year of Pulses.

Ms Hourigan said chickpeas and kidney beans were a nutritious swap for meat and could be added to stir- fries and salads for a protein and fibre boost.

"If people have type 2 diabetes it can help to control blood sugars," she said.

Her other tips include serving steamed or dry roasted vegetables instead of oven fries and using natural yogurt instead of sour cream.

3. Dine in

Home cooking is one of the ingredients for a healthier diet so get ready to spend more time in the kitchen.

Ms Hourigan said Australians were eating more meals out but it was better to prepare healthy options at home as often as possible.

"To achieve that you need to plan your meals or you can cook ahead and freeze so it's ready when you want it if you're in a hurry," she said.

4. Nail your supermarket strategy

Steering clear of unhealthy snacks during your weekly shop can go a long way.

Sugary drinks and sweet biscuits are two of the main offenders to keep out of your trolley.

"People usually don't just eat one or two, they eat several and that can be a lot of kilojoules with little nutrient value," she said.


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