How to Start Eating Healthy in the New Year
New year new lifestyle! So you want to start eating healthy in the new year, but you aren’t sure where to start. Let me start by saying you don’t have to wait until the new year to start! It’ll take about 21 days to develop a new lifestyle habit of focusing on healthy foods and eating a healthy diet full of real food.
Eating healthy in the new year will be easy if you follow these simple tips.
Don’t think of it as a diet. Think of it as a lifestyle. If you think of your new venture as a diet, you are setting yourself up for failure. Diets by design are meant to be temporary and have an endpoint. What you want to do is incorporate new positive habits into a lifestyle. You want this to make a healthier you for the rest of your life and hopefully extend it and add life to your years (and years to your life). Lifestyle changes set you up for long term success, creating new positive habits and make them second nature. There are certain things you do every day, you brush your teeth every day to maintain oral hygiene and health; ingesting healthier foods can give your body a better source of fuel.
Read the labels. Look for hidden ingredients. You will want to do an inventory of each label. It may take you longer in the grocery store, but that’s okay! You can’t trust the marketing on the front of anything. That’s why it’s much easier if you buy foods that are still raw or frozen with limited or no added ingredients.
A good rule of thumb is when you look at the ingredients and can’t pronounce them, stay away. Also, if you see things such as red or yellow dye number 5 or partially-hydrogenated oil, stay away from them. They aren’t found in nature so your body doesn’t recognize them as an appropriate fuel source. Instead, your body sees them as foreign invaders. So instead of digesting them, the body starts to attack them which causes inflammation. Inflammation causes several problems in the body. If you’re looking for a meal plan with anti-inflammatory foods, check out this one here- 21-Day Anti-Inflammatory Meal Plan.
Avoid processed foods that are typically found in the center of the grocery store. Some foods may be considered processed if they’re chopped up nicely for you, like onions, or broccoli in a bag, etc. We would not consider these processed foods. They are still in their original raw or frozen form and have not been laced with extra ingredients. Typically shopping around the perimeter aisles of the grocery store is the best option. That’s where you find the least processed foods. The foods on the inside aisles are more processed and refined, some might not even classify those as real food.
Explore new foods. Try new recipes and learn how to cook with different flavors. It will help with staying on track. You can even use new tools and methods in the kitchen, like a pressure cooker, air fryer, roasting in the oven, and others.
Don’t go to the grocery store hungry. This is a real no-no. You want to eat before you go to the grocery store so you’re not hungry. You can avoid all the temptation much easier when you’re not starving.
Clean out your pantry and refrigerator. Clean your pantry and refrigerator before you begin this journey. You want all the junk food gone so you aren’t tempted in any way. Get your family on board too, don’t keep snacks just for the kids or your partner. Even if they aren’t trying to lose weight, they can still benefit from eating a healthy diet.
Start cooking. Find those new recipes and new foods. Cooking for yourself and your family is much healthier. It is even easier once you meal plan. Check out our tips for meal planning here -7 Tips to Make Meal Planning Easy. Remember, if you want to start eating healthy, you want to make a lifestyle that you will stick to, and cooking can help, especially if you make it fun! You can even take cooking classes and make it a new hobby.
Keep it simple. Don’t overwhelm yourself in the kitchen with too many new recipes at the beginning. Pick 1 or 2 new recipes per week to try. Stick to your staple recipes for the rest of the week. Another tip to keep it simple is to create three columns of foods- vegetables, healthy proteins, and healthy starches (unless you’re following a ketogenic diet or low carb diet). Then, pick one from each column and pick a way to cook it! Easy as that!
Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Water is so beneficial for your body and will help you feel more satisfied and full for longer. Sometimes when you think you’re hungry, you’re really just thirsty. You can drink one glass 15 minutes before you eat your meals to help with satiety. We wrote a full post on the tips of water which you can read more about here-Ten Reasons Why Water is Important for Your Body.
A healthy lifestyle includes what foods you put into your body. You want to fuel your body with all the key nutrients it needs to best function. If you’re not feeling well, tired all the time, or experiencing brain fog, you may want to evaluate what foods you are eating. You are likely fueling your body with the wrong type of “food.”
What tips do you have for how to start eating healthy? Share them with us in the comments below!