Julia Stephan

Senior Food Editor at Kitchen Stories

What was your New Year's resolution this year? More excercise, less plastic consumption, more reading, healthier eating? Our goals are often ambitious and it happens that after a few weeks into the new year, we return to our old habits. But why is that? We often aim for a complete restart, the opportunity to change our lifestyle, a complete turnaround. We don't just want to make things better, we want to make them perfect - and it's precisely this aspiration that quickly leads to failure.

It can be much more fulfilling to set realistic intermediate goals. So instead of eliminating sugar, carbohydrates and fats from one day to the next from your diet, we recommend that you take a step-by-step approach and get to grips with the issue of healthy eating - carbohydrates, fats and sugar may not be banned at all.

We'll tell you a few tips to help you get through this year and prepared recipes from breakfast to dinner to help you eat healthier every day.

A healthy diet - the basics

The old and new food pyramid

What do we actually mean by a healthy diet? Some people only think of it as salad, others swear by low-carb or keto diets. In fact, a healthy diet is primarily based on balance. As devilish as they may be, fats and carbohydrates are actually important for the body, in moderation and in the right source of nourishment.

Maybe you remember the classic food pyramid you were shown at school. You would find the carbohydrates at the bottom and above the "forbidden" fats, in between fruits, vegetables and dairy products. Almost 10 years ago, the nutrition experts at the Harvard School of Public Health re-sorted them. The nutrition experts have therefore taken a close look at the pyramid and sorted it around a bit.

3 important findings:

- Focus on the food, not the calories: The pyramid indicates in what proportion different foods should be incorporated into your diet. Below are the ingredients you should eat several times a day, while above are the exceptions you should not consume every day (read correctly, they are exceptions, not bans).

- Eat plantbased food more often: Even if you don't eat vegetarian or vegan food reguarly, it´s worth cutting down your meat intake at some days of the week for fresh veggies, fruits, beans, lentils, whole grains, and nuts. Experimenting with vegetarian recipes can have huge positive implications for your health, and the planet’s health as well.

- Not all fats are the same: The old food pyramid has grouped together larger food groups such as fats, but various products also perform differently when it comes to healthy nutrition: you can use vegetable fats more often, while butter should be an exception. The same is true for carbohydrates, where wholegrain products always have priority over white bread.

Get into meal prep - preparation is half the battle

Anyone who comes home tired after a long working day knows the temptation all too well to order something for dinner quickly or to grab convenience food. To avoid this situation, you should deal with the topic "Meal Prep". It's not rocket science, it's a time-saving plan to prepare food for several days and it's best to do at the weekend. Those who already have the food plan for the coming week in mind, can shop for the recipes on Saturdays and pre-cut ingredients on Sundays. Pre-cooking individual components or whole dishes will save a lot of time and stress during the week.

Essential kitchen tools

Not for nothing one says "A cook is only as good as his tools". Healthy cooking requires not only the right ingredients but also the best possible utensils. Your kitchen should be thoroughly equipped - besides the cutting board, the right pans and pots, as well as small utensils such as a spatula, rubber spatula and sharp knives are especially important.

For fruit, vegetables, meat, fish and bread, there are special knives that fit exactly to your cut due to their blade shape and length. The Nakiri knives from the ZWILLING Pro and ZWILLING Gourmet series, for example, are perfect for chopping vegetables and herbs.

Healthy food for the whole day

Porridge for breakfast

At breakfast the spirits divide - for some coffee is enough on the way to work, while others do not leave the house without a proper meal. However, it is important to pay attention to what you eat. Behind most ready-to-eat mueslis there are real calorie and sugar bombs that are anything but healthy. Even fast snacks like the croissant from the baker next door only saturate for a short time. It is much better to make your own breakfast. This honey-coconut porridge is prepared in only 25 minutes and can be stored for several days in the fridge.

Honey-coconut porridge

Honey-coconut porridge

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The porridge is based on oat flakes, a whole grain product with many ballast and mineral substances. The added coconut milk scores with medium-chain fatty acids, which are quickly digested and converted into energy by the body. Finally, cocoa nibs are sprinkled on the porridge as a healthier alternative to chocolate. By processing them from raw cocoa, they contain even more nutrients, valuable magnesium and calcium.

Lentil salad for lunch

During the week, most of us eat lunch at the office and who wants to spend the lunch break cooking? But instead of walking to the next snack bar, it's worth precooking the evening before - it's even easier if you recombine the leftovers of the dinner and, for example, put together a balanced salad.

Lentil salad with roasted vegetables and feta cheese

Lentil salad with roasted vegetables and feta cheese

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This lentil salad with roasted winter vegetables can be prepared in a relaxed way and keeps in the fridge for a few days. Especially practical: The vinaigrette will not soften the vegetables, so you can store and transport the salad very easily.

Lentils are not only inexpensive, but also very nutritious and varied. They have virtually no fat and have the highest protein content, making them the stars among legumes. Thanks to their high content of complex carbohydrates and in particular fiber, they also ensure that the blood sugar level remains stable and that a longer feeling of satiety is created. Combined with spelt and many different seasonal vegetables, this salad ensures a balanced, healthy lunch for several days that will make your colleagues jealous.

Energy bars as a snack

Mastering the art of snacking is an extremely important factor. We are all familiar with the infamous afternoon low, which particularly overwhelms us with fatigue. All we wish for then is a little snack that brings us energy, but sugar traps in the form of chocolate bars are waiting right here. The sugar, however, only pushes up the blood sugar level, which drops again just as quickly. The next cravings attack follows only a few minutes later. Instead, a glass of cold water, a little exercise in the fresh air and the right, homemade power snacks help much better.

No-bake quinoa energy bars

No-bake quinoa energy bars

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You can prepare this No Bake Quinoa energy bar for the weekend and take it with you to work, or store it at home. Quinoa contains many nutrients compared to other cereals, including fiber and protein. The complex carbohydrates cause blood sugar levels to rise gently and you stay full longer. Almonds contribute unsaturated fatty acids, oatmeal provides important fiber, and dates bring a natural sweetness. Just a single energy bar is enough to keep you satiated until the end of the day.

Salmon with roasted vegetables for dinner

Dinner is perhaps the best meal of the day, because you take more time for it and spend it with family or friends. The best time for this is between 5 p.m. and 7 p.m., because then the metabolism has enough time for digestion before it switches to sleep mode, so to speak. Turn the TV off and concentrate on eating.

In addition, it helps your body if you consume less carbohydrates and fat in the evening and eat smaller portions. Otherwise, your body won't be able to process large amounts in time, which can lead to uncomfortable sleep and a sluggish feeling in many people the next morning. Instead, you should eat a lot of fibers and vitamins. Balance is the key to success, because when the small salad does not give you enough, the temptation is great to grab sweets and salty snacks a few hours later.

Our tip: It's best if you use your time for cooking in the evening to cook an extra portion you can take for lunch the next day.

Salmon with roasted vegetables and yogurt dressing

Salmon with roasted vegetables and yogurt dressing

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Roasted salmon with roasted vegetables is just the thing for dinner. Salmon scores with healthy, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids that have anti-inflammatory properties. The tasty yoghurt dressing is light and seasoned with turmeric, which is also said to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. The vitamin-rich, low-calorie cauliflower is well digestible for the stomach and intestines and the chickpeas full of protein and fibers. Especially practical: you can use the remains of the roasted vegetables directly as lunch the next day.

What are your tips for eating a little healthier every day? Do you find it easy or difficult to maintain a balanced diet? Tell us in the comments!

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