|Hit reset on your food habits|
By Cara Rosenbloom, RD
Posted: January 2014
After holiday excess, make a fresh start on healthier eating with these 10 tips
With the New Year comes a clean slate and a fresh perspective. Whether your lifestyle goals are to make heart healthy food choices, lose weight or eat more leafy greens, it’s important to determine your plan now so you can stick with it this year. Here are 10 tips that will set you up for success.
- Set a goal. Behaviour change is a commitment, and it’s easier to achieve when you set a goal to work towards. Ensure it’s realistic and measurable, and set a time frame. For more on goal setting, click here.
- Partner up. Whether you team up with a friend, family member, Facebook buddy or online support group, it’s easier to stay on track when you are accountable to someone. Bonus: it will help them too!
- Take it slowly. There’s no need to make large changes at once. Break your goal into smaller, manageable steps. For example, try having a handful of nuts instead of chips, or putting less sugar in your coffee. Once you can stick with that new healthy habit, put another one on your plate.
- Move more. Remember that eating well and being physically active go hand-in-hand. Whether your goal includes weight loss, disease prevention or heart disease management, the cornerstones are both food AND fitness.
- Shop well. Fill your cart with vegetables and fruit, whole grains, nutritious protein-rich foods (legumes, fish, chicken) and healthy fats like olive oil, nuts and avocado. Pay attention to Nutrition Facts panels and choose foods that are higher in fibre, protein and vitamins, but lower in sodium and saturated and trans fat.
- Build a healthy pantry. Keep your kitchen stocked with a variety of nutritious foods instead of packaged and processed items, so the easiest snack to reach for is an apple, not a chocolate bar. If junk is not there, you won’t be tempted! Get more tips on stocking a healthy kitchen.
- Cook more. Take control of what you eat by preparing it yourself from the nutritious staples in your kitchen. Here are some inspiring recipes to get you started.
- Try something new. Buy a new fruit or vegetable! If you are really daring, order a farm-fresh produce box for home delivery each week, and make use of whatever is sent your way (you can search online for recipes when your box comes filled with kohlrabi, chard and garlic scapes!).
- Embrace the pleasure of food. From shared family dinners to baking with your kids, food is more than nutrients. It brings people together and holds treasured memories. Learn to love food again.
- Celebrate success. If your blood pressure is lower, you lost five pounds or you tried your first yoga class, be sure to reward yourself. Share your success with your family, buy a new cookbook, enjoy a luxurious bath or do anything else that makes you feel terrific.
And here’s one last thing to remember: Don’t give up. It’s normal to have a bad day. Use it to recognize that you got sidetracked, but not as an excuse to quit your new healthy lifestyle. Every day is a new chance to start over!