With spring in full effect, everyone seems to have woken from their winter slumbers. Suddenly everyone is out and about, making plans and brushing the dust off those summer clothes. The breeze is warm, the blossom is bright and it’s a good time of year for a bit of a shake-up. So try these tips for making your life that little bit healthier. It’s not about dieting or weight loss; it’s about feeling good and enjoying yourself!

Cooking from Scratch

I love cooking from scratch — when I get the time, that is! Sometimes I’m surprised at what can be achieved in just an hour (let’s be honest: Jamie’s 30-minute meals always take longer than he claims…). We all tell ourselves we should do this more often. Well, you should!

We all remember the news story about how much sugar there is in off-the-shelf pasta sauce, right? If you make your own, you’re reducing the amount of fat, sugar and salt that you consume. Why not just make a bigger batch and freeze most of it? Or you can keep tomato sauce in the fridge for a couple of weeks if it’s in an airtight container. When heating it back through, maybe throw in some capers, basil, or cheese and you’ve got a quick and easy meal for the kids.

P.S: Cook the onions for your tomato sauce for as long as possible before you add the tins of tomatoes. This makes the sauce sweeter and tastier…

Vitamin D

This next one comes straight from the horse’s mouth. The NHS recommends vitamin D, as it is “needed to keep bones, teeth and muscles healthy”. While you can acquire vitamin D from some foods, it’s most commonly absorbed through sunlight, so get out in the sun as much as possible this summer and keep your bones and bodies healthy. Don’t forget your suncream!

Some people even suggest that vitamin D is “a natural way to make you shine”. If you’re feeling down in the winter months, maybe it’s due to a lack of it. Try and be outdoors as much as possible while it’s still light. You could even get some vitamin D tablets from the pharmacy — some people swear by them.

Eliminate Vices — Cigarettes and Alcohol

I know, I know: it’s the same story as always here. We all know these vices are bad for your health and, in excess, could be life-threatening, but they really do have a negative impact on your body. While drinking alcohol responsibly can help you live a little longer (my dentist even suggested drinking ale to keep my teeth healthy), the sugary drinks you mix it with add to its high-calorie content. This can cause all kinds of damage to your teeth and body.

Cigarettes are a given; I won’t lecture you on them. However, unlike alcohol, cigarettes have a healthier alternative. You’ll have no doubt heard of the electronic cigarette: the NHS  actually recommends electronic cigarettes for people trying to quit smoking. There are plenty of studies that show how electronic cigarettes are healthier than traditional cigarettes. Here’s a list of some of the best e-liquids of 2017 to get you started.

Smiling

Perhaps the simplest piece of health advice ever given: just smile! While it might sound like an old wives tale, there are many reasons why smiling is good for you. You know what endorphins are, right? Not only do they reduce stress levels, but they are what’s responsible for making you feel happy. Well, movements in your facial muscles help release them.

Not only this, but it is thought that smiling can help develop your brain to think more positively and allow it to remain positive for longer periods of time. It can even affect the way your cells work, making them less rigid, helping us to relax. After all, I’ve never met someone who thinks being happy is unhealthy. So, keep smiling and embrace your healthier life!