One Step at a Time: How to Build Up Your Diet


No matter what you’re trying to achieve in life, taking small steps is the surest way to success. This is no less true when it comes to weight loss, as there are loads of little changes you can make that will add up to a lot of weight loss over the long haul. Below, we’ve asked Karen Hammonds to outline her favourite healthy eating tips that can help you to lose weight and look after your wellbeing. However, before you rush off and take up everything on this list, stop, pick three, and just do those this week. If that works, add another three next week. Soon you’ll have an eating plan that’s absolutely full of healthy strategies.


1. Keep it Small: According to Hammonds, ‘Good things come in small packages. Here’s a trick for staying satisfied without consuming large portions: Chop high calorie foods like cheese and chocolate into smaller pieces. It will seem like you’re getting more than you actually are.’


2. Dip It Low: ‘Don’t give up dips,’ Hammonds cautions. ‘If you love creamy dips and sauces, don’t cut them out of your food plan completely. Just use low fat soft cheese and mayo instead of the full fat stuff.’


3. Get Water-Wise:Hammonds instructs, ‘Make a habit of reaching for a glass of water instead of a high fat snack. It will help your overall health as well as your waistline. So drink up! Add some zest to your six to eight glasses a day with a twist of lemon or lime.’


4. Herb It Up: ‘Stock up your spice rack, and start growing a small herb garden in your kitchen window,’ Hammonds advises. ‘Spices and herbs add fantastic flavour to foods without adding fat or calories.’


5. Slim Down Your Soup:Hammonds recommends, ‘Make a big batch of soup and refrigerate it before you eat it. As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and can be skimmed off the surface.’


6. Take it Home: ‘Go American and doggie-bag that dinner,’ Hammonds suggests. ‘At restaurants that you know serve large portions, ask the waiter to put half your main course in a take away box before bringing it to your table. Putting the food away before you start your meal will help you practise portion control.’


7. Cave in to Your Cravings: ‘Listen to your cravings,’ Hammonds enthuses. ‘If you’re craving something sweet, eat something sweet – just opt for a healthier nosh, like fruit, instead of a high calorie one. The same goes for crunchy cravings – for example, try air-popped popcorn instead of high fat crisps. It’s just smart substitution!’


8. Build Up to Five-a-Day:Hammonds directs, ‘Ease your way into produce. If you’re new to eating lots of fruits and vegetables, start slowly. Just add them to the foods you already enjoy. Pile salad veg into your sandwiches, or add fruit to your cereal.’


9. Look for High Fat Hints: ‘Want an easy way to identify high calorie meals?’ asks Hammonds. ‘Keep an eye out for these words: au gratin, parmigiana, tempura, alfredo, creamy and carbonara, and enjoy them in moderation.’


10. Focus on Food:Hammonds advises, ‘Don’t multi-task while you eat. If you’re working, reading or watching TV while you eat, you won’t be paying attention to what’s going into your mouth – and you won’t be enjoying every bite. Today, every time you have a meal, sit down. Chew slowly and pay attention to flavours and textures. You’ll enjoy your food more and eat less.’


11. Taste Something New:Hammonds recommends, ‘Broaden your food repertoire – you may find you like more healthy foods than you knew. Try a new fruit or vegetable (ever had plantain, pak choi, starfruit or papaya?)’