I was also the health and sustainability advisor for Amico Bio. I love spending my free time investigating how to make London healthier and more sustainable. That's why my core motto is “Sustainability and Healthy thinking: Better living''. That's me pictured above at Whole Food Market in Piccadilly.
For me, healthy dining means eating nutritious food in a balanced way, diversifying the food you eat. I'd like to offer you some advice on how to eat healthier when dining out in London.
- Eat more seasonal fruits and vegetables; foods high in fibre, such as wholemeal and wholegrain bread, pulses, potatoes; low-fat dairy products, such as low-fat cheese, semi-skimmed milk; and starchy foods, such as wholemeal rice, pasta and bread.
- Eat less or avoid high-fat foods, such as cream, butter, cakes, pastries, fried foods; processed meat products, such as salami, burgers and sausages; foods high in salt, such as crisps and ready processed meals and sauces; drinks and foods high in sugar, such as fizzy drinks, sweets and biscuits; genetically modified food.
- Eat balanced: You need to eat different foods in a proportionate way to get the right amount of key nutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals) and fibre to stay healthy. The five main food groups where you can get these are: cereals, bread, pasta, rice and potatoes, containing energy in form of carbohydrates; fruit and vegetables, which are a good source of vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fibre; milk, cheese, yogurt and other dairy foods are a good source of protein; meat, fish, eggs, beans, pulses, nuts are good non-dairy sources of protein; olive oil, avocados and other foods containing more unsaturated fats (mono and/or polyunsaturated fats) than saturated fats, and zero grams of trans fat. Make sure you diversify the food you eat, as this helps to stay healthy and to make a positive contribution to the environment's health too.
- Set menus: Choose healthy options: salad starters; wholemeal rice with kale and spinach, or pasta with tomato sauce and basil, instead pasta with cream, eggs and bacon for main; and for dessert, seasonal fruit salad or sorbet instead ice cream or chocolate cake with double cream or caramel filling. Whatever you choose, make sure your main includes at least one portion of vegetables and your starter or dessert at least one portion of fruit.
- Choose wholewheat when eating pasta, rice and bread; healthier snacks like fresh seasonal fruit, raw vegetables, unsalted nuts, instead fried and salty snacks like chips.
- Ask for a thin base with less salty meat and cheese and more seasonal vegetables when ordering a pizza.
- Opt for vegetable toppings/fillings; steamed, baked, boiled or grilled side dishes; and avoid or reduce fried sides, meat or cheese toppings/fillings
- Always use low-fat spreads (e.g. made from sunflower, olive or vegetable oil) for your sandwiches, sides and mains; and chilli/garlic flakes or fresh chilli/garlic instead flavoured oils like chilli and garlic.
- Reduce salty ingredients like mustard, ketchup, and soy sauce. Instead use fresh herbs and other ingredients like ginger and garlic to add flavour; taste your food before adding salt automatically.
- Avoid fizzy drinks with added sugar and instead ask for still drinks such as water and freshly made juices.
There are a number of supermarkets, and an increasing number of good bars and restaurants in London where you can go to buy healthy foods and drinks. Here are a few of my favourites: Planet Organic; Whole Food Market; Juice Tonic Organic Juicery (Soho); Grain Store; Vantra; Saf; Inspiral Lounge.
If you have any healthy tips or suggestions to offer, use the comments box below to share your thoughts.
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