Healthy eating – the everyday super foods that help give us the nutrients we need
In our busy lives, with so many demands on our time, planning healthy meals can often fall to the bottom of the to-do list.
Our best intentions of getting to the gym, or going out for a run before we leave for work, can all too often fall by the wayside.
But one working mother decided to make a change for good after becoming unhappy with her lack of energy and weight gain.
And, starting with small steps to improve her diet and fitness, she has achieved big goals.
Eight months before Hailey Thomson turned 40, she was feeling constantly run-down and out of shape.
Hailey made a commitment to herself there and then to begin exercising five days a week – and in starting to see improvements, she was inspired to go further.
She explains: “I have two children and I really wanted to be a positive role model. I started with exercise and really committed to it.
“Then I started to look at what I was eating. I began reading as much as I could about nutrition and became so hungry to learn more that I did a course and am now a certified nutritional therapist.
“I started putting what I had learned into practice, cutting out processed foods, and eating real whole foods instead.
“The changes I felt amazed me. And it all happened over the course of eight months. Suddenly I had loads of energy and, as a side effect of eating better, the weight just goes too.”
Hailey now runs her own coaching business, Your Health Angel, and has written an e-recipe book, Recipe High Five, showing how we can make simple and healthy meals using just a few ingredients.
And Hailey has learned we don’t have to spend a fortune buying expensive ingredients – instead, there are ‘super foods’ that we stroll past every day in the supermarket we can be using more to improve our diets.
Hailey's top five super foods and why we should eat them
A rich source of the powerful antioxidant beta carotene, carrots also supply essential minerals, vitamins and enzymes that aid digestion. Hailey says: “They’re such a convenient snack. Just cut them into batons which gives you the benefits of eating raw too. A lot of enzymes are killed off during the cooking process so giving kids carrots and cucumbers is a great way to get them to eat fresh.”
A great source of dietary fibre as well as a range of vitamins, Omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium, iron and more. Hailey says: “We eat a lot of broccoli. It’s always been known as a super food because of the amount of vitamins, minerals and plant protein it provides.”
With high levels of antioxidants, blueberries make a very valuable contribution to a healthy diet. They’re also a good source of vitamin K, C and fibre, with studies suggesting they may have anti-ageing properties too. Hailey says: “I always have blueberries and strawberries in my fridge for a super-healthy and instant snack.”
Whether we use pumpkin, sunflower or sesame, seeds are a high in fibre and vitamin E as well as other nutrients. Hailey says: “They are great for adding to dishes – soups, salads, porridge, almost anything. And they’re great for picking at as a snack. I call them wee nutrient bombs.”
Hailey says: “My kids say we should have a tree in our garden we eat so many avocados. They are a fantastic nutrient-dense food and very versatile. I add them to smoothies, and to healthy chocolate milkshakes for the kids and they don’t even notice it’s in there.
I also mash avocado up and use it instead of mayonnaise, mixing it with tuna or spreading it on toast.”