My top five healthy eating hacks

Having taken a blogging hiatus to prioritise other things (namely the final year of my degree and finishing book four), I’m pleased to be back and bursting with brand new life experiences to share.

Totally separate to writing books and studying, although highly beneficial to general wellness, I’ve transformed my diet in a way that I’ve found to be life changing (and more than a little bit surprising!).

It all started when I went to a new trial class at my local gym and heard (for the very first time) about the ‘paleo diet’ from some of the most healthy-looking, strong and naturally glowy people I’ve ever met.

At first I was dubious.

A diet that cuts out virtually all processed food sounded a little extreme, and actually like sheer hell to me. Plus, some Googling revealed a fair bit of dislike towards the idea of this lifestyle choice as a whole, and even serious concerns about the welfare of those religiously following this ‘new fad’.

But somehow, I was increasingly curious to give it a go. I think it was a mixture between always loving a personal challenge, and feeling horribly sluggish, that made me want to rehaul the way I was eating. Paleo, whatever it really was, seemed like an interesting place to start and it involved a lot of vegetables (which can’t be bad, surely?).

My partner and I had discussed it at length. Unsurprisingly, he wasn’t over the moon. We decided to give it a try for a month, and if we didn’t like it then we’d just move on from the idea. I half expected that we’d crumble four days in anyway, only to find ourselves binge-eating pudding at our local pub, breathlessly vowing ‘never again’ between mouthfuls of chocolate and ice cream.

But much to my surprise, elements of this change in lifestyle went amazingly well (bar some initial processed-sugar withdrawals, which saw us arguing enthusiastically over the best place to hang a pillowcase to dry).

It’s gone so well in fact, that although we don’t stick to a purely ‘paleo diet’, a year later we are eating totally differently to how we used to. We are reaping the benefits of elements we have found to be personally beneficial, adapting it to best suit our lifestyles.

Regardless of whether or not you want to ‘go paleo’ and without broaching some of the many debates about the diet’s nutritional and historical suitabilities (because I’m neither a historian or a nutritionist), I’ve learned some incredible healthy eating hacks along the way that I’m excited to share with you.

They can benefit everyone and anyone looking to adopt a healthier diet. Benefits I’ve experienced include feeling more energetic, having stronger hair, nails and skin, as well as increasing general wellness.

Since making these changes alongside drinking lots of water, and eating freshly prepared meals packed with vegetables, I’ve stopped getting the horrible mouth ulcers I used to suffer from whenever I was slightly tired or run down, haven’t had a single throat or chest infection. I sleep so much better.

While none of this stuff is particularly original (and I can’t claim to have invented these!), I wish I’d known these things when I started out taking better care of my diet. It would have made the whole process much easier.

Here’s my selection of top healthy eating/wellness hacks! *Warning, some of these are quite fun in a geeky ‘I’ve hit my late twenties kind of way’*

  1. Banana ice cream

I heard about banana ice cream by chance one day, and was astounded by how good this healthy alternative actually is in real life.

What to do?

Just slice up a few ripe bananas and freeze them. A couple of days later, take your banana out of the freezer and stick it in a blender. Blend until your frozen banana looks a bit like oatmeal and then add some flavour magic to your mixture – pistachio nuts, cinnamon, coconut flakes and honey all work beautifully (although not all at the same time). Then, keep blending and suddenly (as if by magic) your frozen banana will look and taste like ice cream. AMAZING.

A photo of the process of making banana ice cream

Banana ice cream being made

2. Cauliflower rice

A picture of a bowl of cauliflower rice

If you’re looking for a nutritious rice substitute then this is a great thing to try.

It’s easy too. Just wash a load of cauliflower and blend it until it resembles little flecks (a lot like rice). Pour the mixture into a pan and cook with a little coconut oil. Sometimes I add spices to it too.

3. Courgette pasta

I was very doubtful that this was going to be OK (as I’m sure you may be too if this is the first time you’ve heard of it!), but it’s really nice.

Simply get your mitts on a ‘spiralizer’ and run some courgette through it. You’ll get a load of beautifully curled veg come out the other side, which doesn’t take long to cook (again, coconut oil works well with this). It’s delicious with all sorts of stuff, including meatballs, and chicken with homemade pesto.

4. Sweet potato chips

A picture of sweet potato chips baking in the oven

Arguably nicer than standard potato chips and SO good for you.

SP chips go with virtually anything. Bake them coated in coconut oil and lashings of smoked paprika for about 40 mins (and add sunflower seeds later on) for ultimate levels of yum.

5. Homemade snack bars, and other treats…

A photo of a batch of cashew butter chocolate fudge

Cashew butter chocolate fudge

One of the trickiest things about eating healthily is the snacking side of things. With so many of us working all hours, and juggling multiple pressing responsibilities, the vending machine can be a tempting place.

But make a batch of these on a Sunday afternoon, plus grab some mixed nuts and bananas and you’ll be more than prepared for the week ahead’s snacking requirements. They are GORGEOUS and fantastic work out fuel.

Additionally, you can make beautiful paleo fudge (pictured), using cashew butter, coconut flakes and coco powder…

These are my top five healthy eating hacks.

I’d love to hear yours!