With all the new ‘clean eating’ trends, elaborate gym equipment and a seemingly never ending list of superfoods to choose from – making the right healthy choices can sometimes feel daunting.
But it doesn’t have to be complicated, so to mark World Health Day, which takes place on Saturday, April 7, we are looking at the small, simple changes that can be made to lead a healthier lifestyle.
From trying a new gym class to simply going for a walk or picking a healthier choice on the menu, making changes to your diet and habits doesn’t have to be difficult and no matter how busy life may be, there’s something in Sunderland for everyone.
Sharon Appleby, Head of Business Operations at Sunderland BID, believes the resources that are available in the city centre make it easy for everyone to make healthy choices.
“We are really lucky to have such a diverse range of businesses in Sunderland and even more activities going on throughout the year to encourage residents to keep fit and lead a healthy lifestyle,” said Sharon.
“Many people make health-related New Year’s resolutions that don’t always last so World Health Day is the perfect time to reflect on the year so far and look at how you’ve been doing.
“Whether a change comes in the way of trying somewhere new to eat or investing your time in an outdoor activity now that we’re coming into better weather, we can all make a commitment to making healthier choices.”
And because everyone loves going out to eat, next time you’re dining in the city centre, why not make the effort to pick a healthier option from the menu?
With the popularity of initiatives like Veganuary growing each year, it’s becoming increasingly easier to find vegan and vegetarian options when looking for a place to eat – and these plates often turn out to be less calorific than meat dishes.
For a completely meat-free menu, try the Good Apple Café at Derwent Street, which serves a range of breakfast dishes, wraps, toasted sandwiches and light bites – as well as an ever-changing list of daily specials.
From toasted bagels piled high with roasted veggies and hummus to veggie sausage sandwiches and that superfood favourite – avocado on toast, there are plenty of filling and healthy dishes on the menu.
Or, if vegan eating is a step too far out of the comfort zone, then Arabesque’s commitment to clean eating might be a little more appealing.
The Egyptian restaurant at High Street West prepares all of its food fresh on the premises and everything is cooked on a BBQ charcoal grill to make sure they are serving healthy food to their customers without minimising on flavour.
And healthy living can start from home, without having to go to too much effort.
During the next food shop, take a look at what’s on offer at Holland and Barrett at the Bridges.
With healthy food options in their in-store fridges, shelves full of vitamins and bags containing everything from crackers to nuts and dried fruit, it’s a great place to grab some healthy snacks and meal ideas.
Aside from clean eating, regular exercise is an important way to maintain a healthy body and mind.
So as the weather improves in the next few weeks, it’s a great excuse to make the most of Mowbray Park in the city centre.
Whether it’s getting out of the house to go for a family walk at the weekend or going for a mid-week run after work in the evenings, enjoy a beautiful view and keep fit at the same time.
For those looking for a more organised event for their exercise inspiration, then the Siglion Sunderland City 10k and Half Marathon are excellent motivators to get in shape for.
Taking place on Sunday 13 May at Keel Square for a third year, the run is a fantastic opportunity to get some training in and raise money for charity at the same time.
With coastal views along the route and a supportive atmosphere at the side-lines, all skill levels can take part and every runner also receives a t-shirt, medal and goody bag.
And for women who are looking to improve their fitness in a more private setting, then Olympia Beauty and Fitness might be the answer. The ladies-only gym is home to a range of different machines and equipment for all areas of fitness and those who would rather be motivated in a group setting can make the most of the many classes on offer.
So whatever style of health and fitness you prefer, Sunderland has something to suit everyone and there’s no better time to start making healthy choices than right now.