We all know that healthy eating and getting plenty of exercise is the best way to keep in shape, ward off chronic diseases, such as Type 2 diabetes and cancer, while keeping well in mind, body and soul.

But sometimes, our hectic lives and persistent sweet tooth means the call of something that little bit naughty or quick and easy to cook.

When time is of the essence, many of us might turn to a microwave ready meal or food that is high in sugar, salt or trans fats to offer a quick fix to the hunger problem. And in doing so make a sacrifice on the good stuff.

But, by incorporating a few healthy habits into our daily lives, we can get a good dose of healthy food, (and therefore all the right vitamins and minerals our body needs), without really having to think about it. Here are a few helpful eating habits to get into:

When you shop, buy ingredients, instead of ready made meals

Choosing fresh food to fill your cupboards, rather than food that is pre packaged, means your meals will not only be more nutritionally dense, but it will also help you to cut down on any hidden nasties, such as trans fats, too much sugar and salt.

Save time with quick, healthy recipes

When you haven’t much time at meal time, being able to cook something quickly means more chance to actually get to sit down and enjoy it. But healthy food can be whipped up just as quick as waiting for the microwave to go ding. Take, for instance a stir fry, such as our Stir Fried Kalettes with Tahini, Chilli and Garlic – just one example of a healthy stir fry which can be made in minutes and gorgeous with fish or noodles!

Practise portion control

Ever heard the phrase about eyes being too big for tummies? More often than not, we can be tempted to fill our plates with amounts of food that our body just doesn’t need. And this can lead to weight gain that we don’t want either. Use smaller plates and portions and if it’s not enough to satisfy your hunger, load up on healthy veggies first, instead of meat or carbs.

Aim for good fat rather than bad

Do you know the difference between your saturated fats and unsaturated fats? One (unsaturated fatty acids) is vital for a healthy body and the other (saturated fat) can be really harmful, increasing the risk of heart disease and raised cholesterol. Try to aim for foods which contain good sources of omega 3 and omega 6 fats, such as oily fish, avocados, nuts and seeds, instead of food laden with saturated or trans fats.

Try a range of different fruit and vegetables

The only time it’s OK to say you don’t like fruit or vegetables in general is when you’ve tried every single type – and there’s an awful lot of them out there.

Bring diversity to your breakfast, lunch or dinner table by featuring a range of colours and textures. Discover and include only the ones you like and be prepared to experiment with a variety of simple recipes to make your fruit or vegetables taste amazing.