Starting a New Year is often prime time for us to make unrealistic resolutions that we rarely stick to. Does the phrase: “new year, new me” ring a bell?
So rather than starting a dramatic diet or setting an unattainable goal without any real plan on how to follow through, try starting with some of the following more practical health habits that will serve you well in long run. These work for everyone!
1. Cook at home more
How often do you have takeaway? Once a week? Every other night?
If you’re eating out more often than eating in, the New Year might be a good time to set a goal around cooking at home more. Perhaps you could start with aiming to cook a meal every second night, or each weeknight, and gradually build up to eating from home most of the time.
Takeaway meals are notorious for their high sodium content and amount of fat. One of the main benefits of cooking at home is that you control the amount of salt that goes into your cooking, as well as the amount of fat that you cook with. Plus you’ll be able to include more veg and keep your portions in check, too.
Simple changes like making homemade pizza, grabbing some fresh quality veggies from Your Local Greengrocer instead of the chain-bought varieties instantly provides you a lot more nutrition (and you’ll save money in the long run, too!)
Of course, enjoying a meal out with friends and family is one of the many joys of life – and I’m certainly not asking you to say ‘no’ to enjoyable social occasions. But at those times where you could cook a meal at home instead of grabbing fast-food (like a random Tuesday on the way home from work), choose to.
2. Eat vegetables at every meal
That’s right. Every meal. Breakfast, lunch and dinner. Capiche?
In 2014-15, only 7% of men and women meet the recommended number of serves of fruit and vegetables. The World Health Organisation estimated that in 2013, 5.2 million deaths worldwide were due to inadequate fruit and veg intake. Mind blown.
Sneaking in a few veggies at each meal will help you to reach your recommended intake, which is important for a range of vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants. Plus, spreading them over the day means you won’t need a big pile of veggies at dinner to make up for it.
So, how do you actually have a range of veggies throughout the day?
A favourite way to add these nutritional superstars at breakfast are to have a veggie-filled omelette (grated zucchini in the egg mixture + cherry tomatoes, asparagus and spinach as a filling) or to have a stir-fry with similar veggies as a side to eggs on toast.
At lunch it’s a little easier – throwing some left-over roasted veg in a container with salad ingredients and half a tin of chickpeas is a perfect go-to.
Snacking on veggie sticks such as cucumber, celery or carrot with a yummy dip (think hummus or tzatziki) is a sure-fire way to bump up your veggie count, too.
3. Swap your snacks
Don’t tell yourself “you can’t eat this” or “you can’t eat that”. Instead of placing restrictions on food (because there really isn’t a single ‘good’ or ‘bad’ food), just try to swap your go-to ‘sometimes’ foods (like the 3pm chocolate bar from the vending machine) for healthier everyday foods.
Feeling like those salty chips? Why not try grabbing some sweet potatoes from Your Local Greengrocer and baking your own chips in the oven!
What about a couple of those lollies that are tucked in your desk drawer? How about some sweet and juicy seasonal fruit instead.
Choosing everyday fruit and vegetables for everyday snacks is a great way to boost your nutrition and minimise your usual intake of sodium, sugar and fat – all of which can increase your risk of certain diseases when consumed in excess.
Leave the ‘sometimes’ foods for exactly that – sometimes on special occasions, when you can really enjoy a few squares of chocolate with friends or a sweet biscuit with mum over a cup of tea, not shoved in your mouth at your desk.
4. Drink more water
It’s seems really simple, but we’re made up of a lot of water – so giving our bodies enough water is pretty important.
Drinks like soft drink, juice, sports drinks and iced tea come loaded with sugar. Most people forget, but calories can come in liquid form, too. That means you could easily drink away a day’s worth of calories without even putting any food in your mouth.
If you are craving something sweet to drink, why not try picking up some fresh fruit from Your Local Greengrocer and doing up a delicious juices, combining a one or more of your favourite fruits!
A simple trick to having more water each day is to buy a big water bottle and leave it nearby whilst you’re working. If you’re not a fan of water, try adding some citrus or berries to give it a little flavour.
It’ll help to prevent tooth decay, too.
5. Be more mindful
If you haven’t really thought about how to be more ‘mindful’, next time you’re about to eat why not take a few minutes to ask yourself if you’re actually feeling hungry? Think about signs like a growling stomach, or fullness in your tummy.
If you’re about to treat yo’ self with a slice of cake or a few squares of chocolate, ask yourself if you really feel like eating it – or are you just doing it out of habit or because it’s there?
When you are eating, focus on what’s going to nourish your body rather than simply restricting certain foods. Fresh quality fruit and vegetables is always going to be a healthier option over heavily-processed foods from the supermarket, so why not visit Your Local Greengrocer and make the most of what’s on offer for the New Year!
Original article by body+soul