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Healthy eating crash course

Our sassy editor and qualified nutritionist shares some end-of-Winter advice.

by: Caro de Waal | 23 Aug 2012

Could Winter just please go away. I am quite frankly over the tip of my nose being frozen most of the time.

The great Winter eatathon has been exceptional this year but rather unkind to my silhouette. Bouncing into Spring takes on a whole new meaning and the polkadot bikini cowers at the back of my drawer.

As we begin the slow climb out of the depths of Winter, it's time to swing your mind over to the healthier side of eating and the start of the elimination of that over-friendly muffin-top.

Now I'm not talking about hateful cabbage soup or any sort of mention of the dreaded word diet.  In fact, I fiercely defend any breach in flavour, I'm talking healthy, gratifying food with a large dollop of good-for-you deliciousness.

Here are some tips to start the process:

1. Slow down on the carbs:
- Instead of buttery mashed potatoes, go for baby potatoes tossed in a little olive oil and lots of fresh herbs. Try this lovely warm potato and herb salad.
- Choose sweet potatoes over potatoes. Try this fabulously tasty low GI Asian-style ostrich with sweet potato rosti.
- Grab your carb fix over lunch and prefer to leave it out at supper time. This makes a huge difference and it's not as hard as it sounds. I love this baked orange couscous and chicken recipe and try this fab Harissa chicken and chickpeas recipe and simple herby baked hake.

2. Choose leaner proteins:
- Fattier meat like lamb and cuts with a lot of fat like knuckles and chops have got to go on the baddie list.
- Go for more chicken (breast is best), pork and fish dishes. Try some fabulous stir-fries and warm salads with lots of flavour.
- Try to eat more seafood. Fish can be expensive so use it cleverly in dishes like this simple Thai fish curry, adding lots of colourful vegetables.

3. Eat more whole food and cut out the junk:
- Here's a challenge: Don't eat anything with white flour in it for a week and see how you feel? That's all breads, biscuits, cakes (and yes, that includes muffins), rusks and pies.
- Use fruit and raw veg as snacks and include nuts and things like hummus for a lovely, tasty snack.
- No more late night pies or butter chicken after too much booze.

4. Cut out some of the fat:

- Lower all your dairy from full cream to low or fat free. Run some low fat cottage cheese through your pasta for a creamy finish without the guilt.
- Cut out yellow cheeses and rather use a stronger flavoured cheese, but less of it, like Parmesan. A little Parmesan goes a long way.
- Don't spread your sandwich with butter before you add your filling. Things like pesto, hummus, avocado and low fat cottage cheese add enough creaminess.

My last few pearls:
Don't worry too much!
Take it slow and enjoy eating fresh, delicious food.
Enjoy some wine too, you deserve it!

Read more on: healthy eating

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