Healthy eating can feel complicated.
Celebrities like Halle Berry boast the Keto diet keeps them trim, while supermodel Miranda Kerr reportedly starts each day with celery juice on an empty stomach.
“Achieving a healthy balanced diet doesn’t need to be complicated or cost the earth despite what you read or see on Instagram,” Rob Hobson, registered nutritionist for Healthspan, told Yahoo UK.
“We are all different in the way we live our lives, but the basic principles remain the same.”
These include getting your five-a-day, opting for whole grains over refined carbohydrates, choosing healthy fats like olive oil and limiting sugar to treat time.
While it may sound simple on principal, less than a third (28%) of adults in England managed five portions of fruit and vegetables a day in 2018.
Planning meals in advance, made with whole foods available from the local supermarket, could help you on your way.
What does a healthy ‘food day’ look like?
The “most important meal of the day”, Hobson recommends kicking things off with low-fat probiotic yoghurt topped with berries, chopped nuts and seeds.
“This dish is rich in protein and is a good source of probiotic bacteria that help to promote a healthy gut,” he said.
“Berries are rich in vitamin C as well as phytonutrients such as anthocyanins, which have been shown to help reduce the risk of disease by way of reducing inflammation.
“Nuts and seeds offer healthy monounsaturated fats that help to protect heart health.”
Read more: 10 surprising foods full of hidden sugar
If you prefer something warming, try porridge with skimmed or plant-based milk.
“Pair it with a banana, a handful of berries and a spoonful of nuts or seeds, and you’ve got a well-balanced breakfast to fuel your morning,” registered dietitian Juliette Kellow told Yahoo UK.
“As well as providing protein, fibre and energy, adding berries and banana will help you reach your five-a-day quota.”
Rather than popping out for a sandwich, bag of crips and fizzy drink, Hobson suggests making a grilled chicken and salad wholemeal wrap.
“This dish is rich in protein and contains plenty of vegetables, which can include peppers, lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes,” he said.
“The wholemeal wrap is a good source of complex carbohydrate as it is rich in fibre.
“The high protein and fibre content of this wrap will keep you feeling full between meals, and has less impact on blood sugar levels.”
The chicken filling could be swapped for tuna, egg or hummus and salad, with the whole lot piled on a jacket potato, if you prefer.
“Team the sandwich or jacket potato with a bag of carrot sticks, some cherry tomatoes or a piece of fruit, a pot of low-fat yogurt and a handful of nuts for a complete meal that includes foods from all of the four main food groups – starchy foods, fruit and veg, low-fat dairy and protein-packed foods,” said Kellow.
“Plus, crunchy foods like nuts are especially great, as chewing sends messages to our brain that help us to recognise when we’re starting to feel satisfied so we stop eating.”
The mid-afternoon slump could be combated by snacking on guacamole with pepper crudités.
“Avocados are hugely rich in healthy fats, folate and the antioxidant vitamin E,” said Hobson.
“Red peppers are the richest source of vitamin C making the perfect accompaniment to really boost the overall nutritional content of this dish.”
If guacamole sounds tricky to transport, almonds make an “ideal snack” on-the-go.
“The combination of protein, healthy fats, fibre and an array of vitamins and minerals, including calcium, iron, zinc and vitamin E, makes them a nutritious choice for a busy day,” said Kellow.
With more people cutting back on meat, try Quorn mince chilli with brown rice.
“Quorn is a great plant-based source of protein as are beans, if included in this dish,” said Hobson.
“Beans and brown rice are also loaded with fibre, which has been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and bowel cancer.
“These whole foods are also brimming with key nutrients including B vitamins, iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.”
Chilli could be swapped for an Italian classic.
“For a healthy dinner all the family will love, you can’t go wrong with a spaghetti Bolognese made with turkey or meat-free mince, onions, carrots, mushrooms, canned tomatoes, tomato puree, mixed herbs and black pepper,” said Kellow.
“Serve it with wholewheat spaghetti, a side salad and a sprinkling of reduced-fat grated cheese for a meal that includes foods from each of the four main food groups.”