Modern nutritional approaches are much more about embracing GOOD nutrition than cutting out BAD nutrition. There are excellent reasons for this: in simple terms a positive approach is more effective & motivational than a negative one. That said, it is a fact that most of us have some really bad habits when it comes to food: we do eat rubbish. Some more than others of course, but the generalisation holds. This is an opportunity area because small changes can produce big results when it comes to reducing the rubbish!

There is real value in deliberately identifying our “Rubbish Foods” and then making a conscious effort to avoid or minimise these. Here are some examples of approaches you might try:

Take-aways or fast-foods Choose the healthier options from the menu
Potato crisps & other deep fried snacks Popcorn (air-popped is best)

Lean biltong / jerky

Rice crackers (check labels carefully; not all are healthy)

Chocolate & sweets Choose dark chocolate (small amounts only)

Fruit or dried fruit (small amounts; fruit can be high-sugar too)

Fizzy sugary soft drinks Plain water

Sugar-free versions (caution: newer research suggests some health concerns here)

Alcohol Limit to 1-2 drinks per day maximum

Avoid sugary mixers and alco-pops etc.

Desserts Just skip them!

Fruit or dried fruit (small amounts; fruit can be high-sugar too)

This is absolutely NOT a complete or exhaustive list, deliberately so. Each of us needs to compile our own list, so please consider yours.

A little of what you like is fine, so a balanced realistic approach is what you want here. Don’t eliminate everything on your list, just aim to reduce and to replace with better choices at least most of the time.

The thing is this: it can be counter-productive to focus on diets that just exclude foods – the result can nutritionally unbalanced and personally demotivating – but taking a very conscious honest look at the real rubbish in your diet can be very helpful indeed.

Time for Action? If you’d like to start using REDUCE-THE-RUBBISH we suggest you consider starting with a list of the “rubbish” you ate in the last 7 days. Now choose three items that you are going to limit or avoid in the coming week. Repeat this for 6 weeks or so and you’ll find that you have improved your diet quite a bit. Just by removing (or reducing) the rubbish!