Mid-Year Food Resolutions
Hands up who at the chime of midnight on 31st December vowed to not eat chocolate for 12 months? Then, two weeks later they found themselves eating chocolate ice cream…swearing to their friends they just didn’t think that ice cream counted as chocolate. Sounds a little too specific to be a general thing, doesn’t it? Moving on…
New Year is not the only time to make resolutions, you can make them at any time of the year! There are so many simple changes that you can make to your food and eating habits that will drastically change the calories that you’re consuming and most importantly, improve your health.
Ten Mid-Year Resolutions
It is much better to make smaller, more manageable changes that will keep you motivated and reshape the way that you approach food. Here are some top tips.
- Eat more Dark Greens
Let’s start with an easy one. Eating more dark greens isn’t something that will drastically alter what you’re eating – just add them to what you’re already having. For example, swap your iceberg lettuce for spinach or add kale as a side dish to your grilled chicken. Easy!
I recently read that a celebrity favourite is to swap pasta for spinach. You still cook your favourite pasta dish, but with one difference, there is no actual pasta. It is thought to still satisfy your need for carbs in the sense that it still makes you feel full but without all the calories. While still being a bit sceptical about how you wouldn’t miss the fact that the pasta isn’t there, some of you may want to try it!
- Avoid Trans fats and Saturated Fats
This is a very important tip for managing your cholesterol levels. Wherever possible avoid trans fats and saturated fats.
Foods are high in saturated fats – bacon, meat, lard, oils, sour cream, butter, cream, coconut, dairy products.
Foods are high in trans fats – packaged foods, fast food, baked goods (like doughnuts), crisps and breakfast cereals.
Look for the more helpful monounsaturated fats found in canola oil, olive oil, avocados, nuts and seeds. These are much healthier options for you!
- Eat more Yoghurt
Summer is approaching and I can almost hear the distant sound of the ice cream van now. Instead of a heavy and fatty ice cream why don’t you opt for frozen yoghurt instead? It is lower in calories and full of natural probiotics, making it a much healthier option.
- Plan your Meals
It’s time to get organised! Plan your meals. Write out a menu for several days at a time, and then get all the relevant food that you need from the supermarket. Put this plan on the fridge door and hey presto…now all you have to do is wear blinkers on your way home from work to avoid any temptation! If you know you are going to be busy one evening then make double off a healthy meal and freeze it so there’s no stress (and no excuses)!
- Start Reading Food Labels
Having a glance at a food label on any type of prepared or processed food will help you realise what you are putting in your body. When you know exactly just how much-saturated fat is in your favourite ready-meal for example, you may all of a sudden feel it’s not a great option for dinner.
- Consider your drinks a bit more carefully
Who’s a sucker for a strawberry Ribena? Aren’t we all! There are some changes you can make to what you drink that will make a surprising difference to the calories that you’re consuming.
Even by just swapping a few of your sugary drinks for a glass of water you will be cutting your sugar intake down. Swap your usual coffee made with whole milk to a ‘skinny’ coffee made with skimmed milk. And if you HAVE to have that Hot Chocolate (we all have days when it’s a necessity) just say no to the whipped cream on top…and don’t have one with breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Enjoy a Good Breakfast
Some people just aren’t ‘breakfast people’ but it is so essential for your energy levels and for boosting your metabolism. By swapping your morning routine around a little bit you can learn to prioritise breakfast a little bit more. Setting your alarm for ten minutes earlier than normal may make you won’t burst into tears on hearing the first few seconds of it, but if it means fitting a healthy breakfast it is definitely a sacrifice worth making.
- Swap White for Brown
Replace white bread and pasta with whole-grain versions. When we consume white carbs they give us a quick burst of energy and then what is not used ends up being stored as fat. However, when we consume brown or wholegrain carbs they are much slower burning and give us longer-lasting fuel to keep us going for longer periods of time. Whole-grains are also packed with fibre.
It is, of course, important to watch our portion control on any carbs and is best to consume them after exercise so that they can refuel the body after our energy stores have been depleted.
- Think more about the QUALITY of the calories you’re consuming
We are hoping that it won’t come as too much of a shock to you when we say that 2,000 calories worth of chocolate cake won’t fuel your body in the same way at 2,000 calories of meat, vegetables and fruit would. Your body digests certain types of nutrients differently, using them for all sorts of bodily functions: building muscle, transporting nutrients, fuelling various organs or muscles, or storing energy as fat for later use.
- Alcohol in Moderation
Decreasing the amount of alcohol that you drink will do wonders for your health and make you feel a lot better! Anything beyond the recommended daily allowance of alcohol a day (3-4 units for men and 2-3 units for women) can have harmful effects.
Good luck with your resolutions! You don’t have to take on all of these but they are just ideas to get you thinking more about what you are eating. By changing some of your eating habits you will be contributing more towards a healthy and balanced diet.