5 tips to help you on your healthy journey this new year - Greenspoon
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5 tips to help you on your healthy journey this new year

5 tips to help you on your healthy journey this new year!

Ok, we get it! You are busy, working hard, exercising, meeting people, traffic jams, mall fees…are all good reasons to order from your favorite fast food. Or is it? Who does not get bloated after ordering a pizza or fried chicken? Or have been dissatisfied with sloppy fries rather than the golden, crunchy ones?

Here are our 5 tips to get you choosing healthy this new year.

1. Be aware of what you are consuming

It is super easy to order from different outlets delivering energy-dense and nutrient-poor foods in minutes. Junk food provides the body with lots of calories and energy but lacks nutrients that fill you with protein, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. One large delivery pizza contains close to 2000 calories, enough for 100% of the daily calorie intake for a woman. A 3-piece fried chicken with fries has 800 calories (40% of daily intake), excluding soda (186 calories).

In Kenya, most ingredients are imported (potatoes from Egypt and chicken from South Africa), making it impossible to know how they have been processed. Most junk food contains higher levels of sugar, salt, and trans fats. The peak in blood sugar makes you hungry soon after and can lead to poor sleep.

The age-old question remains. Why does everyone crave junk food? Part of it is due to dopamine, the happy hormone, released when eating junk food. Dopamine is addictive (a similar mechanism to smoking), and the human mind is trained to want that feeling again: craving more and more junk food. Fast food brands know this and spend tons of marketing to make you get that craving again.
Here’s a challenge: Try counting the number of junk food billboards in Nairobi on a single trip!

Does junk food lead to obesity? It is difficult to establish a one-on-one relationship, but some figures point toward it. Did you know that obesity prevalence is 44% in urban areas versus 26% in rural areas? Now you know! When you crave junk food, we recommend cooking yourself a homemade burger or pizza. Or purchasing from a local restaurant and staying away from large chains.

2. Remove the food app-challenge

Delivery apps have made it so easy to reorder that you can have your order on the way in seconds. These apps store your payment details, so there are minimal barriers to reordering. Delivery apps are generous with coupons or 30% deals off the entire menu of all restaurants. Throw free delivery in the mix, and the offer is too irresistible!

The international companies behind the delivery apps are not the best for the local food communities. Picture this, restaurants pay a fee of up to 30% of the revenue they do through a delivery app! If you want to support your favorite restaurants: order there directly (WhatsApp or call: it is okay to interact with a human being sometimes). In Nairobi, there are no shortages of motorbike delivery guys, and the restaurant can arrange delivery themselves. You will also get better service as the restaurant will remember you.

3. Better Meal Prepping

Sometimes, you want a home-cooked meal but don’t know what to cook. Sounds familiar? Better planning can help. Different ways work for people, but often it is good to draw out on Sunday what you will eat during the week (Monday to Friday) at least). That way, you can shop for your groceries once and be ready for the next. Ask your friends for some of their favorite weekday recipes. Go on YouTube for some 15-minute meals that will change your lives. Stock vegetables with a long shelf life, like pumpkins, butternut, carrots, or canned veggies (chopped tomatoes, lentils, peas), combined with some frozen stuff (chapatis, naans), and you can make a delicious meal easily.
For other veggies: find ways to keep them fresh longer. For instance, put your capsicums in a stasher bag and store them in a fridge. Some other veggies, like eggplants, stay best in a paper bag (in the refrigerator) if they can breathe.

As a rule of thumb, always know what you will eat before you leave the house in the morning. That means you can still place your Greenspoon order and have a delicious dinner in the evening. Some people also do meal prepping: cook (& freeze) some meals you love on Sunday. You will only need to remove the Tupperware from your freezer in the morning, which will stay fresh for ~3 days. Also, when you cook, you can cook for multiple days at once, reducing the temptation of placing a junk food order.

4. Have Alternatives

Not everybody is into cooking. We get that! Luckily there are many ways to get an easy and healthy meal. The Food Fairy, Sous Chef, and the Fat Italian have great ready-to-eat dishes that you can warm up from your fridge or freezer. On Instagram, several fitness chefs or home cooks do the meal prepping for you. At Greenspoon, we work with Eat Clean Achara, who has very healthy meals prepared for you that can come with your regular Greenspoon order. Coming home when hungry is a typical risk factor: carry an apple with you on the road home to have more mental clarity when making your food decisions! If you have a blender, it is great to learn some smoothie recipes as alternatives for milkshakes. Make your own (or order) power bars that are even easier than the junk food you are craving. As junk food is some sort of addiction, your dopamine levels will typically go down after six weeks of detox 🙂

5. Choose your Cheats

If you have reached this article up to this point and you are thinking: Greenspoon, just let me have my burger! We feel you. Sometimes it is just great to eat something fatty and salty.

What if you can still have that? Pick a day when you make your junk food to deal with cravings. Get a fully loaded burger, roast potatoes, and indulge in ice cream. If you cook, you can better control the number of sauces, salt, and fats, so you will typically turn up with a more balanced meal! If you are ready, Greenspoon has all the ingredients to make your cheat day unforgettable!

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