Executive chef Emily Herbert at Ultra Brasserie shares her top ten tips on how to eat healthy in 2014.
Choose locally sourced food Buy local fresh fruit and vegetables that haven’t been sitting in a box on a boat for four days. Most supermarkets now label where the food has come from.
Poach and steam Most people think of these cooking methods as producing bland results, but using different flavours and liquids to poach with or by adding a tea bag or spices to steaming baskets can add fresh flavours without the oils and fats.
Milk it Try switching your full cream or low fat milk to almond, soy or quinoa milk. Don’t ditch cow milk altogether though. It also has advantages, but mixing it up can be very beneficial for you.
Go raw Why eat something that’s been amended when you can eat it the way nature intended? Items such as nuts, seeds and fruits are always better untouched. Snack on raw almonds or walnuts, eat raw carrots instead of cooking them, and fruit, eat as much fruit as you can.
Eat breakfast Start your day by feeding your body. Eating breakfast not only starts the metabolism but also gives you more energy. Start with lean proteins, whole grains and plenty of fruit and vegetables. This will also help keep you fuller for longer and prevent energy lulls.
Know your food Educate yourself on the food you are eating. Learn about the origins of items you buy, what’s in season and where to get it from. Read food labels and nutritional facts.
Go organic when you can Try and buy food that has not been touched by chemicals, hormones or pesticides. When available, use items such as organic pastas and dairy products. It’s good for you and the environment.
Get good fat Foods such as avocado, nuts and olive oil all contain good fats that your body welcomes. For example, choose an olive oil-based salad dressing instead of a mayonnaise-based one.
Reduce salt intake Studies say salt leads to high blood pressure. However, there are ways to reduce your intake of salt. Try adding spices to food instead of salt to increase the taste, or stay away from pre-packaged or processed foods where you have no control over the salt intake. For example, make your own pasta sauces from fresh ingredients rather than a stir-in sauce.
Plan your protein Studies say our bodies can only absorb 30 grams of this macronutrient. Planning meals in advance and thinking about what else you will eat that day helps to make sure we don’t put our bodies under any pressure.
TEN FOODS WE SHOULD EAT MORE OF IN 2014
01. Pomegranate. It’s said to have antibacterial properties that help fight cancer.
02. Nuts. Almonds and walnuts are high in energy and fibre.
03. Freekeh. A grain that is a cousin of bulgur, it’s higher in protein and fibre than quinoa and has a amazing chewy texture.
04. Beans. Any type of bean is high in fibre and protein and good for the heart.
05. Brown rice. Switch risotto and white rice for this grain that fills you up without the calories. It helps lower blood pressure too.
06. Salmon. It’s high in Omega 3 and good for the brain.
07. Berries. Amazing for the memory and high in antioxidants.
08. Brussels sprouts. They contain compounds that help with things such as prostate and breast cancer.
09. Dark chocolate. Rich in antioxidants, it helps reduce blood pressure.
10. Lentils. Easy to cook, very high in fibre and iron – and pretty friendly on your wallet.
Ultra Brasserie, Building 4, Emaar Square, Downtown, Dubai, daily 7am to 7pm. Tel: (04) 4204572. Metro: Burj Khalifa/Dubai Mall. ultra.ae