Eating a healthy, balanced and nutritious diet is the daily goal for most of us, naturally. But from getting breakfast right to making sure snacks don’t derail our efforts and stress eating doesn’t throw everything off, it can be a tricky business. Detoxes and recipe-led diets are great when you have time to prep or experiment in the kitchen, but what about the basics? The simple good habits that’ll make every day a healthy eating day, no matter what curveball comes your way?
For nutritionists, easy-to-implement healthy eating habits have become second nature, which is why they not only look great, but they tend to feel good, too. So to help everyone get back on track, we’ve tapped some of the best nutritionists in the game for the ultimate healthy eating tricks and tips they swear by.
Want to make eating well an easy task? Keep scrolling for the nine things nutritionists do every day.
Don't Rely on Bread as a Staple Food
Nutritional therapist Cassandra Barns warns against relying on bread to fill a gap—even if it’s a wholemeal loaf. “Grains, especially those that have been processed into flours, are relatively low in nutrients compared to most other whole foods,” she says. “I prepare big batches of roasted vegetables, such as sweet potatoes, carrots, parsnips and even sometimes white potatoes, and eat them with many of my meals—even with eggs for breakfast! You’ll get much more in the way of nutrients and antioxidants this way, and they’re also better for balancing your blood sugar.”
Always Have Protein for Breakfast
“This will help fill you up and keep you fuller for longer,” says Shona Wilkinson, a nutritionist at Superfood UK. “It should help you avoid those sugar cravings too, and stop you reaching for a biscuit around 11 a.m.” If you don’t have time to make scrambled eggs in the morning, Wilkinson suggests prepping a few boiled eggs and storing them in the fridge, so that you can grab one for the road or eat it at your desk with a side of sliced avocado.
Listen to Your Body
One of the best pieces of advice from our nutritionists was undoubtedly the importance of listening to your body and understanding what you need to stay healthy. “It’s important that a diet meets the daily needs of each individual, and our needs can vary enormously,” says Peter Cox, a clinical nutritional therapist at Omnyia. “So what I eat, for example, need have little or no bearing on what anyone else should eat.” However, Cox does follow a few simple rules, that we can all learn from; don’t deny yourself anything (the only item Cox cuts out completely is cow’s milk, to which he is allergic), eat regularly, and remember to enjoy your food.
Always Keep the Skins On
“In the UK, we’re not eating enough fibre,” says Alexis Poole, a registered nutritionist at Spoon Guru ambassador. “We’re recommended to eat 30 grams per day, however, on average, most of us only eat around 18 grams. Fibre has been associated with health benefits such as preventing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, as well as helping with digestive health.”
The easiest way to up your fibre? Ditch the peeler. “Since fibre is most often found in the skins of fruit and vegetables, I always keep the skins on where I can,” Poole says.“For example, I always eat apples without peeling them, and I keep the skins on when making homemade potato chips.”
Take Care of the Healthy Fats
Will Hawkins, a nutritionist at Push Doctor, has helped everyone from elite athletes to top models eat healthier. Regardless of his clients’ goals, however, he always ensures they follow one rule—take care of the good fats. “I always, strongly advise my clients to eat at least one to two good sources of healthy fats per day, he explains.” See his top choices for healthy fat sources below:
Avocado: It’s a great source of biotin and rich in vitamin E, which help hydrates skin.
Salmon: It contains astaxanthin, a carotenoid that improves skin elasticity so you’ll have fewer fine lines, as well as a healthy body.
Walnuts: These are a fantastic source of omega-3 fatty acids, especially for those who don’t enjoy eating fish.
Feta cheese: It has 50% less saturated fat than hard cheese, and it is packed full of vitamin E to boost skin vitality.
Prioritise a Good Night's Sleep
No matter how good your eating habits, the effort will be futile if you’re not getting enough rest. “There is nothing more important when it comes to pursuing a healthy lifestyle than a good night’s sleep, no matter what your dietary goals are,” says Filip Koidis, a specialist nutritionist, clinical dietitian and the founder of W1 Nutritionist.
“If you are sleep-deprived, your hormonal function deteriorates, your appetite destabilises and erratic cravings—mostly for high sugar/fat items—kick in. Your body doesn’t recover well from a workout or stressful day, either, which may result in muscle wasting and subsequent fat build up.”
Nourish Your Gut
“I always eat or drink something, such as nuts seeds, coconut oil or milk, to nourish my gut,” says nutritionist and bestselling author, Amanda Hamilton. “The microbiome (the collective name for all the bacteria that live in the gut) might not be dinner party conversation, but maintaining a healthy gut is key to immunity and dramatically helps weight loss and weight management,” she says.
“If you’re experiencing inflammation, then doing a juice cleanse for around four to five days can help. I run seasonal juice retreats for this, combining a cleanse with yoga and spa relaxation (the next one will be taking place this June at Miraggio Spa in Greece), to help reset both the mind and body.”
Though it sounds simple enough, you’d be surprised at how many of us aren’t drinking enough water each day. “Staying hydrated is absolutely my number one tip for both skin health and overall well-being,” says nutritionist Hala El-Shafie, founder of Nutrition Rocks.
“During winter and the changing weather, this can be especially challenging, as we may not get signals for thirst in the same way as on a hot summer’s day, for example. So I always make sure I have a flask of herbal tea to carry around— it keeps me warm and hydrated, which is essential to keep your entire system and metabolism working well.”
Try Eating Liver
Struggling to eat enough vitamins and protein? Cassandra Barns suggests adding liver to your diet. “Liver is perhaps the most nutrient-dense superfood we can eat,” she says. “It’s high in iron and is super-rich in B vitamins, which support energy and general well-being. It’s also one of our best sources of choline—a B vitamin–like nutrient that’s crucial for our brain and memory, along with vitamin A, which is vital for immunity, skin health and vision.”
If you’re new to the foodstuff, Barns recommends starting with organic chicken liver, which is mild-tasting and easy to cook, or making homemade liver pâté if you’re not too keen on the taste (it can take some getting used to!).
Next up! 13 supplements actually worth taking.
Opening Image: Ashley Alexander/@gatherandfeast