Here’s a little extra advice to help you get the most out of our Summer Diet Plan, plus tips for eating healthily beyond the 7 days...
1. Can I still eat out while eating clean?
Yes you can. Do a little research about the restaurant before you go – check out sample menus online and call ahead if possible to see how accommodating they can be. When you’re researching ask about their suppliers and where they source fresh produce from, as well as hidden ingredients, cooking fats and preparation methods. When you're ordering, ask for veg to be steamed, grilled or baked rather than fried. Replace dressings and sauces with olive oil and lemon juice or a freshly-made tomato salsa. Most restaurants are happy to make changes to their dishes as long as the requests are practical and reasonable.
Is it OK to make a smoothie the day before or should I drink it straight away?
It's fine if you want to whizz up a smoothie for breakfast the next day, when time is short. A squeeze of lemon or lime juice will help prevent oxidation, and if you cover or store it in a sealed jar in the fridge that will further help to preserve nutrients. Flavours can change (depending on the ingredients you’ve used), but many people actually prefer the slightly earthier taste. Another option is to prepare all veg and fruit for your smoothie in advance and freeze immediately in portion-sized bags. When you’re ready, tip the frozen produce into the blender with your chosen fluid and whizz. Making a smoothie and enjoying it immediately is always going to be the better option, but a smoothie prepped and ready is a far better choice than a muffin or croissant grabbed on the way to work.
Can I buy pre-cut veg or have they lost all their goodness?
As a general rule, fresh veg are best prepared, cooked and eaten within the shortest space of time. The finer or smaller the veg is chopped the quicker it should be eaten. However, there are some exceptions. If you're marinating the vegetables as coleslaw or fermenting as a kimchi or sauerkraut, hydration levels are maintained, which helps to preserve some of the nutritional value. So rather than buying fresh, pre-cut vegetables, prepare your own at home and freeze them immediately in portions - that way you’ll help preserve more of their natural goodness and have ready-to-use, prepped veg when time is short.
Is a veg soup as good as eating all the veg raw?
Cooking your vegetables helps to break down and soften the cellulose they’re made up of – this helps release the nutrients they contain making it easier for your body to absorb. However, cooking at high temperatures is likely to cause the loss of some heat-sensitive nutrients like vitamin C, so lightly cook veg such as broccoli and asparagus – adding towards the end of the soup-making process. Soup is a great way of eating vegetables because any water-soluble nutrients like the B group of vitamins are retained in the cooking liquid.
Is there a better time of day to eat fruit?
Many people find eating fruit on its own or with other fruits, either first thing in the morning or as a mid-morning snack, works best for them. This is because eating fruit on an empty stomach reduces the likelihood of fermentation and its associated bloating. Some of our salads in our 7-day Summer Diet Plan, like the Chicken and avocado salad with blueberry balsamic dressing include fruit. If you find eating fruit a problem enjoy these recipes earlier in the day for lunch. Always make sure the fruit you eat is ripe, because ripe fruit is easier for your body to break down.
What's the best thing to eat first thing in the morning and last thing at night?
Protein at breakfast is crucial, because it keeps energy levels steady, prevents the peaks and troughs of blood sugar fluctuations and really does set you up for a good day. We’ve made sure our breakfasts are balanced, with good levels of protein and plenty of slow-releasing carbs.
At night, don’t forget the carbohydrates. They help promote restful sleep because eating whole-grains at night helps to stabilise blood sugar, which means you won’t be waking unnecessarily. Eat a balanced evening meal with protein, healthy fats and whole-grain carbs. Some people even find a small snack before bed helps them sleep more restfully.
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