Start Fresh in the New YearIt’s the start of a new year, and that means tackling new habits to improve your health. When it comes to New Year’s commitments, some of us unsurprisingly make the resolution to slim down or maintain a healthy weight. The simple truth is that the best solution for weight management is often a balanced diet with the right nutritionals. Fun, easy and doable, we’ve come up with a few ideas that can help kick start a healthy and happy 2018! They may feel small at first but it won’t take long to start noticing their positive impacts.
- Replace Sweetened Beverages: Would you eat a stack of ten sugar cubes? Drinking sugary sodas is equivalent to eating ten or more cubes of sugar. While our daily intake of added sugar should be 24 grams for women and 32 grams for men, most Americans take in 128 grams per day. Over time, this can lead to an increased risk of diabetes and obesity. Try switching to tea or naturally flavored water for a sweet-tooth fix. If it’s fizz that you’re missing, give seltzer water with lemon a try.
- Incorporate Healthy Snacks: Snacking has become a big part of our eating culture, however it’s easy to reach for the unhealthy ones. Look at snacking as a way to fuel your body between meals. While chips and crackers might offer a nice crunch, they are not healthy fuel for the body. Stay satisfied by munching on low calorie and nutrient-dense foods. Need some healthy snacking inspiration? Take a peek at our favorite snacks.
- Keep a Food Journal: How often do you stop to think about what you’re putting into your body? Keeping a food journal increases your awareness of how much and what you’re eating. This can help you track calorie intake as well as find out what’s missing in your diet. It doesn’t need to be the traditional pen and paper method either. Smartphone apps are an easy and simple way to track calories and to stay balanced.
- Pack a Healthy Lunch: Avoid lunch line temptations with a healthy, balanced lunch that will save you money and unwanted calories. In fact, studies show that going out to lunch can increase your calorie intake up to 30 percent. It’s nice knowing exactly what’s going into your homemade lunch whether it’s using up leftovers or being inspired by these easy lunch recipes. By planning ahead, you can cater your lunch according to the kind of day you’re going to have. If you’re hitting the gym after work, pack a little extra carbs and protein. If you know your day is less active, pack a light salad and fruit.
- Start with a Balanced Breakfast: With a title of “the most important meal of the day,” breakfast is not messing around. In fact, skipping breakfast may lead to overindulging later in the day, thwarting any effort to decrease daily calories. Studies show that those who eat breakfast maintain a healthy weight better than those who don’t. Plus, you’ll feel more energized for the busy day ahead by keeping blood sugar levels stabilized with morning meals consisting of high protein and complex carbs.
- Meatless Monday: Let vegetables and plant-based proteins take center stage for meals! Heart-healthy and fiber-rich, veggie-classics like legumes and whole grains make Meatless Monday a day to look forward to. The best part is being a flexitarian (not a full-fledge vegetarian) can still make a positive impact when it comes to both your health and the environment.
- Keep Your Diet in Balance: A cookie there, a piece of cake here—it’s easy to get out of balance with our food choices. Apps like My Macros, My FitnessPal and Lose It! are great for tracking the ratio of fats and carbs as well as proteins and calories that should be consumed daily. This helps ensure that we don’t go above and beyond our carb and calorie intake, no matter how tempting those cookies might be.
- Increase Your Superfoods & Antioxidants: Most of us have heard the great benefits that superfoods have to offer, but may not have found a favorite way to add them to our diets. While the USDA recommends eating two cups of fruits and two and half cups of veggies a day, it can be hard to fit this into your diet. An easy way can be boosting your juice with superfood add-ins that are packed with antioxidants and nutrients.
Source: Science News. (2015, April 22). Citing BMJ.