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Your diet makeover


Be ahead of the curve with these top diet trends

From maple syrup-based lemon detox fasts to the protein-heavy Dukan diet, the slimming world has seen some pretty outrageous food fads of late.

Thankfully, this year getting healthy is all about taking a sensible approach to food – and there are some pretty amazing trends lurking on the horizon. ‘The new year represents a time of change and life improvements. Many people sign up to the gym, buy a new health appliance such as
a juicer, or just vow to eat more fruit and vegetables. Any positive lifestyle change during January is going to be beneficial,’ says nutritionist Ella Allred. To make
sure you’re one step ahead of the crowd, we’ve rounded up the top health-food trends to watch out for in 2016.

1 Pulses are set to pimp up meals

Legumes are a good substitute for tofu, which is often heavily processed and best consumed in small quantities. So put pulses firmly on your foodie radar for 2016. Our favourite vegan protein source is getting a makeover, with the UN declaring 2016 as the International Year of Pulses in an effort to help slash levels of obesity and chronic disease. From lentils to split peas, amping up meals with these protein-filled gems also provides a fibre boost, so you feel fuller for longer and naturally snack less. ‘We are expecting a boom in the
sale of pulses in 2016. Experiment with dhal, an Indian dish made from lentils, and use chickpea flour in baking and sauces. Also, 100g of chickpeas contains more than your recommended daily amount of folate, which is impressive,’ adds Ella.

Exotic grains are here to stay

Do you know your freekeh from your farro? Exotic grains are hot, hot, HOT for 2016 with global offerings like Middle Eastern freekeh (a variety of young durum wheat that contains more fibre than brown rice and a good amount of protein) and farro – an Italian wheat-based grain often used in salads and stews – making waves in culinary circles. While we’re fans of pasta, it often leaves us feeling a bit bloated and lethargic. These exotic grains however, will fill you up without filling you out. ‘Plus they are very easy to cook with,’ says Ella.

Flexitarians will be ‘a thing’

One of the easiest ways to get healthier is to eat less meat. A study by scientists at Oxford University found that eating meat no more than three times
a week could prevent 31,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease, 9,000 deaths from cancer and 5,000 deaths from stroke, as well as save the NHS £1.2 billion in costs each year. Wow! Flexitarianism – eating
a mainly plant-based diet with occasional meat consumption – is set to rise in 2016, so get started by substituting meat for healthy protein sources like quinoa, nuts and lentils. ‘You’ll see a massive change in your health, the planet and your bank balance! Start by halving your meat consumption and doubling your vegetarian protein consumption,’ advises Ella.

4 Eating in is the new dining out

Dining out is sooo last year! But
don’t worry: 2016 is the year of home-delivery meals. We’re not talking about
ordering a greasy Chinese from your smartphone, but more about high-class restaurants that cater to the needs of foodies by providing home-delivery. Check out deliveroo.co.uk for more information.

5 Fat is back

We’re finally cottoning on to the fact that fat is as tasty as it is good for us, so you can tuck into that juicy steak guilt-free. A wealth of emerging research is starting to show that this nutrient is an important part of a balanced diet. Consumed in moderation, saturated fat in meat, monounsaturated fats in avocado, medium triglycerides in coconut oil and omega-3 fat in oily fish can help to improve skin and brain health. ‘Fats have had such bad press and stigma over the last few decades. The advice on fat consumption is starting to finally change. It is not fat that makes us fat, but sugar – which also contributes to many diseases including cardiovascular disease. Including
fat with a meal helps you to feel satisfied,’ reveals Ella. It’s that simple!

Food porn is the norm

From meticulously cropping photos of your breakfast to creating filtered photos of your dinner, food-boasting has become a massive part of our lives. We’re obsessed with seeing what our friends are chowing down on as much as we love sharing perfectly composed shots of our own meals. But posting the foodie equivalent of a selfie on social media isn’t merely a narcissistic pursuit – it can actually help you stick to a healthy diet. ‘Posting pictures of healthy meals on social media may be a great way to encourage yourself on your health journey. It is a good way to share knowledge, recipes and hold yourself accountable,’ says Ella.

7 Breakfast is a global affair

Toast and jam doesn’t quite cut it in the breakfast stakes anymore. The most important meal of the day is getting a makeover for 2016, with Mexican and Middle Eastern specialities reigning supreme. Most Mexican breakfasts, such as huevos rancheros (a burrito with chilli, eggs, tomatoes and peppers), are high in protein, while Middle Eastern morning favourites of olives, cheese, salad and flatbread offer a nutrient-dense start to the day. ‘In Mexican breakfasts, eggs are incredibly nutritious and may help sustain energy levels and keep hunger pangs at bay. Middle Eastern-style breakfasts are also good news for your waistline. They often include salads and cheese which provide essential nutrients and protein to help your body repair and balance your blood sugar levels,’ says Ella

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