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Six Simple Suggestions to Improve Your Diet

Updated: Sep 5, 2022

How many times have you told yourself that you’re going to “eat healthier?”

You’re not going to eat any 'carbs' or 'treats'. You’re going to do nothing but drink water and kale and spinach smoothies for the next month?

And how often have you been successful following that “all or nothing” mentality?

My guess is never. Maybe that’s because it’s never worked for me personally, however studies prove that when you make sudden huge changes, denying yourself entire food groups, you will likely significantly increase your weight loss failure rate.

Small steps. That's my secret to success. I’m living proof that small changes can add up to a whole new lifestyle, so much so I have a totally different lifestyle and eating habits these days. I barely noticed the effort in changing as I did it bit by bit, like stepping stones, and did things that were realistic for me. Add to that some good, solid goals on the way and it worked really well. In the end I changed not by 'going on a diet' but by gradually and fundementally changing my diet.

Starting can be as simple as looking at your favorite foods and choosing a healthy substitute. I am NOT suggesting that you give up everything you like to eat. I’m saying 80% of the time, aim to make the healthy choice and that other 20% won’t kill you. It's the 80/20 rule.

Also, don't start with every meal, just focus on breakfast to begin with, or lunch...whatever mealtime is easiest to change to start with, and make sure you're eating to sustain you until the next meal. If you have a condition like diabetes, digestive type issues or other medical conditions, speak to your GP/doctor/dietician/nutritionist before making changes to your diet.

Let’s begin with Six Simple Suggestions to improve your diet by making some food swaps. Here are a few possible suggestions. Don't think this means you can't eat any of the foods in the left column, just maybe opt for more of the ones on the right if you think you'll get on with them (make sure you're aware of your food allergies or intolerances beforehand). Also, when it comes to the fruit and vegetables (especially vegetables), I don't recommend cutting any out per-se, just maybe aim to eat more of the ones on the right than the left when eating fruit and veg. At the end of the day it's down to personal choice, and sometimes you have to give a few things a try and preparing them in different ways before you get your new additions to your diet.


Starting with the good old carbs because who doesn’t love carbs? Ok, not everyone, but I personally love good carbs. The issue here is that many carbs will spike your blood sugar, increase your appetite, provide little nutrition, and derail your good efforts to eat better.

Why do you think restaurants bring you that basket of bread before dinner? Because they like you and want to give you free food? Sadly, no. It’s marketing 101: bump the blood sugar and increase the sales. If you want to try some carb swaps then take a look at the list below and see what would possibly work for you.


Protein can be really helpful when you're trying to get to a healthy weight, especially as you get older. It fills you up, sustains energy levels, helps build and maintain muscle, and will keep you on track. The problem with some proteins is that they are too high in fat, carbohydrates, and sodium. Make sure you are eating enough protein and choose the leanest options to help you on your healthy weight journey. Also, as an aside, more processed meats like sausages, bacon and deli meats have been linked to adverse health outcomes like cancers, so aiming to reduce these in your diet may be really beneficial to long-term health.


Fruit truly is “nature’s candy” and it lives up to to the title with all the pros and cons you might expect. It’s sweet, delicious, succulent, and packed full of natural sugars and calories. So enjoy fruit in moderation and try to choose lower sugar options eight times out of ten. (The 80/20 rule again.) Also, aim to eat your fruit whole rather than as juices so you're reducing the amount of free sugars you're consuming, which can have more of an impact on your blood sugar levels. Whole fruits are also way more filling because they have all of the fibre and pulp that is removed in juices and by juicing.


Vegetables are the superheroes of better nutrition. Almost every vegetable is worth eating, although not all vegetables are created equally. Some, like the first couple on my 'consider swapping this' list, are often heavy on the pesticides. The 'Dirty Dozen' list is quite useful to identify those veggies (and fruits) that tend to be higher in pesticides and may be worth considering to buy organic if possible and affordable for you.

The next few on my list below are members of the nightshade family and may be quite inflammatory for some people. And the last two are carbs masquerading as vegetables, so although they're on the swap list here, maybe consider adding them in to your carb portion, and add plenty of other veggies to your 'vegetable' portion (which should be the biggest part of your plate by the way). Load up on (organic where possible) dark leafy greens, nutrient dense, and cruciferous veggies to get the most out of your plant food!


Fats are your friend. We have trained ourselves to fear fat but it’s essential to a healthy diet. When you see the words “fat free” you’ll usually see a whole list of chemicals plus higher sugar and salt to compensate for the missing fat. I've been down this road, I subscribed to the 'fat free' (or at least minimal fat) way of eating for a good few years many years ago and it didn't serve me well, neither in body nor in mind. On that note, if you're interested in the impact of diet on mental health, consider reading the book 'Brain Changer' by Felice Jacka. It's really interesting.

Stop trying to avoid fat! Fat isn’t what makes you fat (within reason). Choose small portions of healthy fats that add nutrition to your diet, improve flavour, and keep your skin and hair supple and moist. As a rule, your best bets are fats that are liquid at room temperature and / or found in a single ingredient food.

Dessert Swaps

Life without dessert is not a life I want to live, I just don't have it every day. That's why my dietary philosophy includes the “Planned Indulgence” concept and I truly believe that the best diets incorporate desserts. How about we choose treats that contribute to better eating rather than sabotage it? I'm not saying that you can't eat any of the things you really love if they fall in the list on the left, just keep them for planned times e.g. if you're going out for a meal, or if you are going to a friend's house for dinner. Personally, I love cheesecake, I just only eat it on the odd occasion and I REALLY enjoy it! I eat it slowly, really taste it, savour it and feel good about it.

The truth is that if you want to improve your diet and eat better, you’re probably going to need to make some changes. The good news is that if you weren’t ready to do that, you wouldn't be reading this. Does change have to be painful? NO!

Start simple. Make it easy on yourself. Just substitute a few items from the 'To this instead' column and pass on (eight times out of ten) the foods in the 'Consider swapping this' column.

You've got this!

If you want to work through these changes and/or work on your healthy weight and lifestyle goals with a qualified professional, then get in touch with me to find out how we could work together. You can either email me at or book a FREE Discovery Session.

Please note: This article is intended to be for educational purposes only, and does not constitute medical advice or replace professional assessment or personalised advice.

I do not hold responsibility for the information on any links to external websites within this article and information within these links/websites may change at any time or no longer be accessible. Any website pages/links added are also for education purposes only.

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