Healthy Eating | My Top 10 Tips

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All images taken from my instagram | Follow me @kayleighjcouture

If you follow me on instagram, you've probably noticed I'm a bit of a foodie. I love nothing more than whipping up a fresh homemade meal (and photographing the evidence for Instagram of course) and trying new recipes and combinations. I've always had an interest in food from a very young age - I think I get it from my nanna as she's very much the 'foodie' as well and she's always making me lovely homemade meals. I guess her interest in food has rubbed off on me!


Anyway, I decided it would be worth sharing a few of my healthy eating tips with you guys. The things I try to do *most* of the time (yes, I do still stuff my face from time to time) and the things I've found that work for me in terms of maintaining my weight and keeping me feeling healthy! I'm by no means a nutritionist or a food expert so please don't take what I'm saying as bible - these are just a few things that work for me. I always get asked questions about the various foods I'm posting on Instagram and how I stay in shape so I thought it'd be worth sticking all of my knowledge into this one post for you to take or leave! I hope you enjoy!


1. Small changes make the biggest difference.
Okay so this might be an obvious one but when I decided I wanted to start eating healthily, the first thing I did was make very small changes that didn't really impact my life very much but made a big difference to how I feel and the amount of calories I was consuming. Firstly, I decided to cut out soft drinks. At one point I was drinking cans of Sprite almost every day which I knew needed to stop as soft drinks are full of empty calories, sugar and nastiness. I decided to go completely cold turkey on them and drink water instead. It really wasn't as difficult as I imagined and now I would never dream of buying a can of fizzy pop (well - unless I'm hungover and then its a different story!). I also stopped having sugar in my tea and this one was harder but after gradually reducing the amount I was having (I went from two sugars to one to half and then none), I found I didn't feel like I needed it anymore. If I drink tea with sugar in these days, it makes me feel sick. Seriously, give it a try - your tastebuds will soon become used to the taste of tea with no sugar and you'll wonder why you ever added those unnecessary calories to an otherwise low calorie beverage! Finally, I made the change from white bread to wholemeal. Bread gets a really bad rep as the devil when you're dieting but it really isn't that bad - especially if its wholemeal or granary. It has more nutrients and will keep you fuller for longer which prevents unnecessary snacking later on in the day. I never eat white bread anymore unless I'm eating out at restuarants and I have to say, I don't miss it one bit.

2. Say goodbye to processed food.

So this is another obvious one but again, its so important! When I think back to my uni days and the fact I'd eat frozen food or microwave meals virtually every day, I feel a bit sick. Firstly, they have absolutely no goodness in them and they're packed with preservatives and chemicals that our bodies just don't need. They're also laden with fat and calories - ew! I now try to make most of the foods I eat homemade and fresh. I think most people think that making fresh food is a hassle but it really isn't. For example - homemade stirfrys, pastas and casseroles take a matter of minutes. Chop some veg, bang it in a pan or the oven and you're good to go. Spend the 8 minutes it would take for your microwave meal to warm up chopping some fresh meat and veg instead - it will make the biggest difference to how you feel and your waistline!


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3. Eat more regularly

You're probably thinking "if I want to maintain or lose weight, why the hell would I eat more often" and I used to have the exact same thought process. I used to think that because I skipped breakfast and didn't have any snacks, I'd lose weight or at least not put any on. WRONG! The only thing that made me do was totally indulge when I did eat and eat huge portions becuase I'd deprived my body for hours between meals. Eating regularly is probably my top tip when it comes to healthy eating. As long as the snacks you're eating are healthy (more about those in a minute), they'll go a long way to keeping you in shape and your metabolism ticking over. I now make sure I eat my three meals a day (never skip breakfast!) and two or three snacks throughout the day too. This ensures my metabolism is constantly ticking over and my body doesn't go into starvation mode. If you don't eat for hours and hours between meals, your body will then store any food it does get as fat instead of burning it off. Trust me on this one - eat more healthily and regularly and you'll see a massive difference!

4. Drink more water and limit your alcohol intake!

So this is another pretty obvious one but its again so important. I don't think people realise how many carlories are actually in alcohol and if you're drinking wine or beer infront of the TV every evening on top of all the food you've eaten throughout the day, its going to impact your health and your weight. What I try and do is just drink alcohol once a week, usually on a weekend when I'm seeing friends or want to chill after a busy week at work. I also try and drink small glasses of white wine topped with diet lemonade as that means a bottle can last me a lot longer. Another alcoholic drink that's pretty low in calories is vodka lime and soda water - its a good one to go for if you're watching your weight. Anything fizzy or laden with sugar like alcho pops, beer and cider is best avoided. Not only that, alcohol isn't good for our bodies and can impact our health when consumed in large quantities so cutting down can only be a good thing! The same applies to water - drinking more of it can only be a good thing. I never used to drink much water but I now try and drink it all day with my meals and between meals too. Not only is it great for us in terms of hydration, it can also kick start the metabolism, make us feel fuller for longer and give us healthy hair, skin and nails. Its such a simple thing but staying hydrated is a must when leading a healthy lifestyle!

5. Size really does matter.

I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make when they're trying to lose a few pounds is definitely portion size. If you're eating really healthy foods but you've got them piled up sky high on your plate, you're still consuming a lot of calories. I'm by no means saying deprive yourselves but just be aware of how much you're eating. For instance, if you're eating a salad with avocado - have half an avocado instead of a whole one (they're healthy but are still high in calories) or if you're eating a healthy vegetable pasta dish, don't overdo the pasta and have more of the veg instead. Its the same with treats - just keep portion size in mind. For instance, one of two biscuits doesn't contain that many calories but if you're going through a packet a day, you're consuming too many. Its all just common sense stuff really!

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6. Cut down on sauces and spreads.

A big culprit in weight gain and something people forget to cut out when they're trying to be healthy is sauces and spreads. I'm talking about things like butter, mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, cooking oils and high calories jars of sauces. There's well over 100 calories in a tablespoon of olive oil and although olive oil is a healthy fat, you're consuming that number of calories before any actual food has been added into your day. If you're cooking three meals a day with oil or adding a few tablespoons of it to your salad or roasted vegetablets, you're adding unnecessary extra calories. I try to stick to one teaspoon of oil when I'm cooking a stirfry or roasting vegetables (which is normally more than enough) and I tend to eat avocado in my sandwhiches and wraps instead of adding loads of mayo or salad cream. Ready made salad dressings tend to have a tonne of calories in them too so keep an eye out for that and try making your own instead. The same applies to ready made sauces you can buy in the supermarket - especially the creamy ones. Try and stick to tomato based sauces if you're going to buy them ready made but even better would be to make your own. You can use some tomato passtata, garlic, chilli and herbs to make your own tasty tomato sauce or creme fraiche to make a low calorie creamy sauce! I find they usually taste even better than the ready made ones and there's no added sugar in them either! Win win!

7. Snack wisely.

As I briefly mentioned in point 3 - make sure the snacks you're eating are healthy. No more crisps, chocolate bars or even cereal bars (full of sugar!). Try eating fruit, nuts and seeds, hummus with vegetable sticks, rice cakes with avocado or greek yoghurt with a small amount of granola and berries. These kind of snacks will fuel your body and keep your metabolism ticking instead of giving you a quick sugar rush that will then leave you craving even more bad foods. On a day to day basis I tend to have two pieces of fruit, a handful of nuts and some yoghurt between meals. I obviously mix it up in terms of which fruits I eat and so on but after a while, it just becomes a way of life.


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8. Preperation is key.

This is one I need to improve myself but I'll often go through fazes of being extrememly organised and prepping my food in advance for the week ahead. It does take time and can be a bit of a faff but once its done, you don't have to think about it for the rest of the week and you won't be tempted to pop out for a chicken mayo baguette at lunch time as you have a healthy homemade lunch ready and waiting for you. Some of my favourite things to prep in advance would be soups, pastas and cous cous or chickpea salads. They're all really easy to make and you can then bang them in some tupperware boxes and pop them in the fridge or freezer ready to go. I really love using the Sistema tupperware boxes which can be found here!

9. Make use of your phone.

If you own a smart phone (wow, how strange does that sound) whether its an iphone or an android - make use of it! There's so many apps out there that can help you with your health and fitness goals and most of them are free. My favourite to track what I'm eating is definitely My Fitness Pal - its a food diary where you input everything you've consumed and see how many calories you've been eating. To be honest, I don't do it every day as I don't want to be someone obsessed with calories (not healthy!) but if I'm not sure if something is high or low in calories, I'll have a quick search on My Fitness Pal to work out whether its something I want to eat. There's also tonnes of free recipe apps on there too if you're stuggling for ideas. Download a few freebies and get your creative juices flowing.


10. Allow yourself treats - just not too many!
This is another extremely important thing to remember when you're trying to eat healthily or watch what you're eating. I think its very easy to get sucked into the whole 'you must not eat this or that' or 'you must cut out this food type' nonsense and to be honest, this kind of advice has the complete opposite effect. Nothing winds me up more than people saying 'cut out carbs' or 'you must only eat salad'. Firstly, your body needs bits of all the food types to be healthy and by not allowing yourself something, you will only crave it more. I tried cutting out carbs once and by the end of the day, I was chomping down on a baguette. However, had I stuck with the 'everything in moderation' approach, I wouldn't of craved the bread in the first place. It was only because I told myself I wasn't allowed it that I wanted it even more. Temptation is a bitch! Plus, its okay to eat something naughty every once in a while. If we didn't allow ourselves treats, we'd probably go crazy and feel miserable. So if you want a saturday night takeway or a bottle of wine with friends, go for it! As long as its not happening on a daily basis, the odd treat really won't harm. 

To finish, I thought I'd add a few things I tend to eat, incase you want to try them for yourself.

Breakfast
Boiled eggs with granary toast and a light spread of butter
Porridge with a squeeze of honey
Greek yoghurt with a sprinkle of granola/almonds and berries
Fruit salad - any kind you fancy - my favourite is melon and berries!
One piece of granary toast and fruit
A 'healthy' cooked breakfast - grilled meat (bacon, sausage) with a poached egg, grilled tomatoes and beans

Lunch
Wholemeal chicken and salad wrap with avocado
Homemade soup (my favourite is leek and potato or butternut squash) with a slice of granary/wholemeal bread or ryvita's
Cous Cous with roasted vegetables
Salad - any kind you like with lots of veg, as long as there's no high calorie dressings
Beans with granary bread or wholemeal bagel
Chickpeas with roasted vegetables and lemon and garlic dressing

Dinner
Vegetable pasta made with homemade tomato sauce (passata, garlic, chilli, lemon juice and herbs)
Turkey breasts with homemade marinade (ginger, lemon juice, garlic and chicken stock) with sweet potato mash and veg
Stir fry (chicken or prawn) with lots of veg and a small portion of rice
Grilled chicken with sweet potato wedges/cous cous and salad or veg
Chicken fajitas with homemade guacamole
Homemade shepherds/cottage pie with sweet potato topping
Casseroles with any kind of lean meat and lots of veg

Those are just a few things off the top of my head that I enjoy eating on a regular basis - of course there's lots more great recipes out there but those are some easy basics! I'd also really recommend the Hairy Bikers cook books - they have some fantastic healthy recipes and they're all very easy to make.

Anyway, I realise this is the longest post in the history of my blog but I really hope its helped and you've gained something from it! These are all things I've found have really helped me to maintain a healthy weight and most of them are just lifestyle changes - no strict diets or cutting out food groups. Fad diets really don't work - if you want to become healthier, you need to change your lifestyle as a whole. Cutting out carbs can only last so long!

If you'd like to see some recipes on my blog, please let me know. I've had people ask me to post some in the past but I wasn't sure if they'd be very fitting. However, if its something I know you'd like to see, I'd be more than happy to post some! 



Let me know your top healthy eating tips in the comments below! I'm always looking for new ones to try :)

Lots of Love,

41 comments

  1. Really nice post! It's always refreshing to see someone simply eating healthily instead of going on fad diets!! :) Lilly xx
    alittlelilly.blogspot.nl

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  2. Excellent post Kayleigh, very inspiring. I knew most of these things already so it served as a motivator for me more than anything! x

    teapartywithalice.com

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  3. Great post hun! I'm always struggling to think of ideas for snacks and stuff for work so this has definitely given me a few ideas. Thanks :) xxx

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  4. I really need to up my water. I'm trying to lose a bit (a lot) of weight and it's hard to stay motivated at the beginning so this really helped! It's literally day one and I'm eyeing up the crisps in the kitchen, but now it's fruit instead!

    Vicky xo

    describethesky.co.uk

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  5. I absolutely love this post hun! It just proves that little changes can make a big difference. Especially drinking water; that's the biggest one for me!

    myprettyapparel.blogspot.co.uk

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  6. Loved this post Kayleigh, 'temptation is a bitch' - never a truer word said!! I'm trying to stick to healthy eating with an everything in moderation attitude and i've definitely picked up a couple of ideas for meals from you that i will be trying :) xx

    Anna | On The Dressing Table

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  7. Great post :) I've recently made a few changes to my life - cutting out fizzy drinks & going dairy free.

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  8. great tips, i always try to eat healthy and fail so bad! hopefully taking your advice will help :)

    Rachel x
    Style Soup

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  9. Totally agree on all of these points! I have started making my own chilli/soups/stews/pasta sauces recently and I've really enjoyed it, it's made exactly how I want without any of the nasties/fat you get in pre-prepared foods. xx

    Kat from Blushing Rose Beauty

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  10. Bookmarking this post for later, some great tips here :)
    Megan x | MeganRoisinn

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  11. Excellent post Kayleigh, really informative! I always have trouble cooking healthy meals as no one in my family will join me but this has really helped! Would love to see more recipes from you xoxo Bhavna

    bittersweet-bhavna.blogspot.co.uk

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  12. Some really really great tips here. I easily eat healthy meals but I'm still working on the healthy snacks, chocolate is my kryptonite x

    www.blondecanvas.blogspot.co.uk

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  13. Amazing post, love the food ideas!!

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  14. I use My Fitness Pal as well and it's so helpful. It does make me feel a bit guilty sometimes though which I'm not sure if I like, but on a day when I know I won't be eating lots of fatty food it's great :) Love this post it's really helpful.

    www.hellomissjordan.blogspot.co.uk

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  15. Just what I needed right now, thank you so helpful :)

    http://magazinesanddreams.blogspot.co.uk/

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  16. great tips - i need to keep all of these in mind! take one day at a time too - don't think about it as one big mountain to climb, just baby steps! one healthy meal after another, not HEALTHY EATING ALWAYS.
    xxx
    http://eleanorcos.blogspot.com/

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  17. Great tips thanks! i really need to cut down on junk food but its just sooooo addictive haha! xx

    http://www.ohsoamelia.com

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  18. These are some amazing tips! Thank you so much for sharing! I definitely agree with treating yourself. I find that it's hard for me to find balance when dieting.

    Frances
    hellofrances.blogspot.com

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  20. Some great inspiring tips! Healthy food can just be as tasty (if not better!) than junk food.

    http://mood-box.blogspot.com/

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  21. amazing post, i'm on a bit of a health kick at the moment so this was perfect for me! great advice too. I'd love to see some recipes on here :) xxx

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  22. really good advice, it really is the little changes that make a big difference and eating sensibly eventually becomes a habit! to curb cravings I recommend making healthier versions of your favourite treats, low fat/sugar cookies/muffins etc so you get the feeling of satisfaction without the guilt! some recipe posts would be lovely also :) x

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  23. Great post Kayleigh, definitely one I'll keep in mind :) I don't want to lose any weight but I'm interested in having a healthier lifestyle so I'll give some of your tips a try! xx

    belle-amiebeauty.blogspot.co.uk

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  24. Great post, really helpful, vodka, soda and lime is such a great drink, nicknamed the skinny bitch! ahah ;)

    Sophie x

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  25. I think this is the best post for helping with food and being healthy that I've seen. I've also cut out soft drinks and switched breads and already noticed a difference! I read on Womens Health that if you remove all drinks but tea/coffee/water (no sugar) from your days - you can almost half your calorie intake! x

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  26. This is really helpful! I always struggle to eat healthily, though I'm fine with exercise!
    Eden from edenroses xx

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  27. Great post, thanks for sharing!!!

    Julia

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  28. A really great post, I struggle with my weight all the time and this really helps put things into perspective. Your meal ideas are fantastic and I love that you speak from experience!! xx

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  30. Great post Kayleigh - some really easy tips to follow!

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  31. Hi you have a really lovely blog! If you'd like to see mine and follow me on bloglovin I always follow back :)

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  32. Thanks for sharing your tips and tricks Kayleigh! It's always great to hear how others keep healthy and I always envy your figure. I actually seem to do a lot of what you're already doing; snacking on veg and fruit, eating homemade stirfrys etc...my only weakness is sugar in my tea, squash instead of water and large portions! Still, it's better than eating ready meals every day!

    I loved this post!

    Jo xx

    She Wears Burgundy

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  33. These are some brilliant tips, I am trying hard to follow a similar routine at the moment. I have found tha tightening my purse strings and getting my shopping home delivered allows me to plan meals and stop piling in heaps of junk that I don't need :-)

    www.pinkpolkadotandpopcorn.com

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  34. I was just browsing and came upon your blog - had to follow! Lovely blog with interesting posts :)

    Best Wishes x
    http://benishkhan.blogspot.com/

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  35. Loved this post. Definitely want to see some recipes on here! X

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  36. Love this post :) Definitely going to try out some of the suggestions!


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