It’s been said that New Year’s resolutions don’t work – in fact, one statistic indicates that 80% of us won’t be able to keep our resolutions past the second week of February.
And since most resolutions are health-related, that’s not boding so well for our bodies. Instead of creating lofty resolutions this year that you’ll likely toss aside (i.e. no more sweets), experts suggest setting smaller, more manageable goals to ensure success. If better nutrition is on your mind for the new year, take a look at these food-related resolutions you should actually be keeping.
1. Add a Serving of Veggies at Dinner
Too many resolutions focus on “eating less of this” or “cutting out that.” Additions are more exciting than takeaways, so make it your goal to dole out an additional serving of vegetables every night. Toss a salad, use your spiralizer, and don’t be afraid of frozen veggies, which are just as nutritious as their fresh counterparts.
2. Drink More Water
Create a habit of drinking more water throughout the day, and you’ll likely notice more energy, better digestion, and clearer skin. Keep a refillable bottle on your desk at work, and order water when eating out.
3. Pack Your Lunch
Want to save money this year while working on your health? Then bring your midday meal from home. You get control over what you eat, and it will likely be healthier. Use up leftovers from the night before for an effortless lunch on the go.
4. Eat the Rainbow
The more color on your plate, the more vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants you’re consuming. Incorporating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables in your diet is an easy way to make sure you’re getting the nutrients you need. Plus, it’s fun to create meals that use every color!
5. Eat More Slowly
This one is for the fast and furious eaters. You might gulp down breakfast in the car or shovel in your lunch as quickly as possible. Just remember that slow, intentional eating has its advantages; it can keep you from overeating and improve your digestion. Try chewing more thoroughly and putting down your utensil between bites – whatever works!
6. Try Meatless Monday.
Reducing your meat consumption, even just one day a week, improves your health and lessens your carbon footprint. Benefits of a plant-based diet include lower cholesterol levels and fewer risk factors for heart disease and diabetes. Worried about your protein intake? Beans, nuts, quinoa, and lentils are some of the best animal-free alternatives.
7. Ditch the Artificial Sweetners
If you’ve been reaching for Splenda and Sweet ’N Low in an effort to cut back on calories, know that you may be doing more harm than good. These artificial sweeteners are much sweeter than regular sugar, and they’ve been linked to an increased appetite (although the evidence is mixed). Play it safe, and opt for moderate amounts of real sugar, like honey and 100% maple syrup.
8. Master Make-Ahead Breakfasts
Overnight oats, mini frittatas, breakfast quesadillas – the possibilities are endless. With proper planning, you can begin your day with a nutritious meal that restores your glycogen stores and keeps your energy level up throughout the morning.
9. Read Your Food Labels
Not only do these labels reveal a food’s nutritional profile (fiber, protein, sugar content), they also tell you exactly what’s inside the package – just look at the listed ingredients. Packaged foods with lengthy ingredient lists and hard-to-pronounce ingredients should be limited as much as possible.
10. Serve Up Fish at Least Twice a Week
And no, fried fish doesn’t count! To reap the most heart-healthy benefits, choose from oily varieties like wild salmon, albacore tuna, and sardines, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids.