Close to the veg

Forget cosmetic surgery and make-up because the humble sprout might hold the secret to looking good. Check out our simple beauty guide

Elisa Zied, registered dietitian and the co-author of Feed Your Family Right! and So What Can I Eat?! gives Time Out her fail-safe guide to looking hot.

No grain, no gain
Choose fibre-rich whole grains at least three times a day. Fibre is filling, steadies blood sugar levels and promotes good gastrointestinal health, while whole grains stave off heart disease. Look for wholewheat or whole oat listed first on the ingredients. Choose breads with at least three grams of fibre per slice and cereals with at least four or five grams per cup. Some examples: a half cup of oatmeal, one slice of wholewheat bread, one cup of oat-bran flakes and one wholewheat English muffin.

Milk your diet
Choose milk or milk products two to three times a day; they provide calcium, vitamin D, potassium and protein to keep your bones strong. Choose an eight-ounce cup of low-fat or skimmed milk or low-fat or fat-free yoghurt, or one ounce of full-fat cheese or two ounces of low-fat cheese. If you can’t or don’t consume dairy products, try soy foods and beverages fortified with calcium, fish with bones, beans and leafy greens.

High five
Aim for half to one cup of colourful fruits and vegetables at each meal or snack (aim for four cups per day). They’re packed with vitamins, minerals and fibre to keep you healthy and satisfied. They’re also loaded with water and are relatively low in calories. Choose fruit and veg over dried options or juices to bump up fibre and nutrient intake and save on calories. Some nutrient-rich fruit options include mangoes, oranges, grapefruit, papayas, strawberries and blueberries; top vegetables include broccoli, kale, asparagus, spinach, romaine, carrots, tomatoes, squash and sweet potatoes.

Think before you drink
To stay hydrated get most of your daily fluids from calorie-free options such as plain water, seltzer or club soda, and unsweetened coffee or tea. Try to get most of your liquid calories from low-fat or skimmed milk, and 100 per cent fruit or vegetable juice (up to one cup a day). Limit calories from coffee beverages, energy drinks, sugary sodas and other beverages to 150 per day. Liquid calories are far too easy to overconsume and they don’t fill you up in the way that calories from solid foods do. For more information, go to

The experts weigh in

On diet…
‘Fruit and vegetables are low in calories, fibre rich, and you get filled up quickly,’ says Elisa Zied. ‘Fish is a great source of protein, but also of omega-3s, which are very important for neurological function and heart health.’ Zied is a fan of wholegrains, but thinks that refined grains (white bread and pasta) don’t have to be eliminated entirely. ‘If you like to eat sugar cereal in the morning, mix in a wholegrain, high-fibre cereal. Small substitutions can make a big difference.’

On regimen…
‘You don’t want to do the same thing over and over again,’ says Jason Machowsky, a personal trainer. ‘If you use the same movements and devices, you will stop improving.’ Assigning a day to each body part works if you spend five days a week in the gym. For the rest of us, Machowsky suggests a full-body exercise only (only!) three days a week. ‘These don’t necessarily have to be in the gym,’ he adds. ‘Swimming is also a great full-body workout.’

Case study

Philip Alberti, 33, epidemiologist

What is your diet?
I eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, especially brussel sprouts, Swiss chard, spinach and broccoli. I also eat lean protein and not many carbs.

What is your exercise regimen?
I lift weights five days a week for 45 minutes and switch off days. I like to do a lot of pull-ups, sit-ups, push-ups and dips, and I mix machines with barbells and dumbbells. And I’ll usually do about 30 minutes of cardio on the elliptical machine, too, or take a bike ride around the park.

What is your fitness philosophy?
I think that people now would benefit from adopting a lifestyle like early man, who ate fruits, vegetables, nuts, meat when he was lucky, very little grains and no processed foods.

How do you balance work and exercise?
I work pretty early days, so I have time in the afternoon. I’m not one of those people who loves going to the gym, but I love feeling healthy, so it’s a means to an end. It’s a struggle getting there half the time, but once I’m there I usually get into it. Besides feeling better and looking better, it makes me feel less guilty about all the time I spend watching crappy TV.

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