5 Healthy Tips to Start Your 2017 Off With a Bang!
Wow, 2017 is here already! Where did the last year go?! I think a lot of people are happy to see 2016 in the rear view mirror. So say so long and get on with the plan for this fresh New Year! A lot of people tend to base their resolutions on healthy eating and weight loss. There are so many diets out there that promise massive weight loss and quick results…but are they healthy? Are they effective? Do they last long term? One of the answers to these questions is yes, these diets are effective but long term they aid in creating bad to worse eating habits and the effects are usually short lived. So…let’s set you up for a win, a triple win. You want a plan that is healthy, effective and creates long term habits to maintain your healthy new lifestyle. The most important thing you want to do is find your motivation. Sometimes making changes are hard so you need to remember why you’re doing this. Is it to better your health, help you feel more energetic, improve your self-confidence, maybe it’s to keep up with your kids. It doesn’t matter. Just remember you set out on this path for a reason, so stay focused on the end goal…a long healthy life!
- Make a plan: Part of being successful is having a plan. It’s hard to stay focused when you aren’t organized with all of the right tools for success. Set aside an hour each week…for most people it’s a Saturday or Sunday afternoon but it could be a Tuesday night, whenever is convenient for you! Make a meal plan for the week and then write up your grocery list to go along with that plan. That way you have all the necessary ingredients for all the food you need and you’re not scrambling during the week to come up with ideas only to realize you don’t have all the ingredients and you end up making 2-3 extra trips to the store. Moral of the story…less time thinking and running around means more time preparing and less chances that you will end up eating take out or something less healthy (not that take out is bad but it should only be a once a week kind of option). Involve the family in the planning too! If everyone gets a say in which meals are prepared than you double your chances of success!
- Clean out your cupboards: Do a little spring cleaning early! Clear out all the chocolate, candies, chips and cookies from Christmas (wow…apparently all the delicious treat foods start with ‘C’!) and make a space for all of your healthy ingredients. Keep your absolute favorites and tuck them away. Make sure you clear out a space for healthy go to snacks which I will get to later. Maybe a shelf in your cupboard or a crisper in your fridge.
- Start small. Making too many big changes at once can be intimidating. When making your plan, keep some of your regular dishes the same, make sure you include your favorite foods! Maybe your plan includes trying 1 new recipe a week. Maybe it includes trying 1 new fruit or veggie a week. Remember every change no matter how small or large makes an impact and sets you in the right direction.
- Create your own healthy snacks on the run. Wash, cut and organize fresh fruits and veggies so they are readily available for snacking. Get out a ¼ cup measure and measure out any kind of nuts you like (unsalted) or make your own granola bars (http://www.newfoundbalance.com/recipes/healthy-snacks/chocolate-peanut-butter-granola-bites/). Make sure you have zip lock baggies or lots of tuperware containers handy. Again, it’s all about setting yourself up for a win. If you set aside an hour for prep every week then when you are pressed for time you will have healthy food to grab on the run!
- Don’t skip breakfast! Feeling tired around 11 or 2 is about more than lack of caffeine or sleep. Food is fuel and after all night fasting your body needs energy first thing in the morning. Try a high fibre option like oatmeal because it will keep you full longer and spreads out your energy. Fibre also aides in weight loss and can keep blood sugar and cholesterol stable. Try this delicious recipe here.
Hopefully these 5 tips will start you on your way! AND, remember when I mentioned keeping your favorite treats? Enjoy those too, set aside a day of the week where you sit down and enjoy your treats with the family. You can’t maintain your new healthy life without being able to enjoy your favorite snacks! Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions. Reading this article is definitely the first step!
Adrianna Smallwood, Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Expert