The new year brings about a renewed excitement to jumpstart new positive changes and habits. Here’s how you can create a nourishing lifestyle that will last you a lifetime.
The New Year often marks a time for bold, lofty goals that are too often never reached, or are reached but unfortunately not maintained. The number one mistake that is made when setting these well-intended goals is that they are tied to a finish line.
Declaring to lose those 10, 20, or 30+ pounds implies that once the scale shows a specific number, the work is done, game over. We fail to maintain these “Finish Line Goals” because the focus becomes all about the milestone, rather than the habits that help us achieve the results in the first place.
This year, set resolutions and goals for your health with no finish line; instead, focus on adopting a nourishing, healthy lifestyle. Kick the New Year off with these 10 resolutions:
1. Celebrate whole, real food.
Don’t get caught up in the quantitative trap of total calories, grams of carbs, and percent of fat; focus on the quality of your foods. When we divert our attention away from the numbers game and focus on the abundance of nutrients, eating suddenly becomes more nourishing and more enjoyable.
2. Go predominantly plant-based.
It’s safe to say that we can all benefit from more veggies, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds. With that being said, there is no one-size-fits all. If you know you need some additional animal protein in your diet to feel good, include it from time-to-time!
3. Eat high-quality carbohydrates.
The carbs in this plan will feature whole grains, root veggies, legumes, fruits, and vegetables – these foods contain carbohydrates packaged with fiber and plenty of micronutrients – the best way to eat a carb for steady blood sugar and longstanding energy all day long!
4. Don’t fear the healthy fats.
Make anti-inflammatory, unsaturated fats such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados as your main sources of fat. These are the heart-healthy fats you can feel good about eating!
5. Boost flavors the right way.
Use herbs, spices, vinegars, and citrus to brighten your food. They pack tons of flavor without relying on sugar, excess saturated fat, and excess salt.
6. A different take on dairy.
To limit the amount of inflammation and saturated fat in our diet, consider non-dairy alternatives and fermented dairy products like yogurt. Foods containing gut-healthy, immune-boosting bacteria (probiotics) help break down some of the hard-to-digest lactose that can be problematic in standard dairy products like milk and cheese.
If the idea of eliminating cheese makes your head spin, choose a bold, high quality cheese (so that a little goes a long way), and be light-handed (think of cheese more like butter, use it as a condiment).
7. Watch the sugar.
While there’s nothing wrong with sweets in moderation, with so much sugar hidden in our food, our taste buds have developed a high demand for it. Use the natural sweetness in fruit, dried fruit, or 100 percent fruit juice to lend a healthy level of sweetness to your dishes. If you still need a little more sweetness to round out recipes, choose honey or grade B maple syrup in small doses. Be sure to say goodbye to artificial sweeteners!
8. Keep healthy staples on hand.
Have the right ingredients in your fridge, pantry, and freezer so you have the versatility to whip up something healthy and delicious on a whim. That means no last minute trip to the grocery store required!
If you don’t already have healthy foods on hand, the first time around may feel like many purchases and a tall grocery bill. The health investment in fundamental ingredients will pay off in huge dividends later.
9. Be flexible, intuitive, and resourceful.
Take any recipes with a grain of salt. If a recipe calls for onion and you only have a leek – use the leek! An onion is an onion is an onion – they are all part of the same family and can easily be interchanged. We are not trying to be Top Chefs here; we are simply striving to eat real food. Relax, and have the confidence to adapt, adjust, and go with the flow.
10. Be prepared to step out of your comfort zone this New Year.
Cozy up to the idea of trying something new. Get into the groove of doing some prep work on the weekend, and always packing breakfast and lunch the night before. These are game-changing habits that can help create healthy opportunities for the entire week. Progress is impossible without change, so stay open-minded and embrace the novelties of your new healthy lifestyle!
Adapted from the original article.
Lindsey Kane, MS, RD, LDN is a San Francisco-based Registered Dietitian helping others live a stress-free, balanced, and thriving life. By getting to know her clients inside and out, Lindsey identifies the opportunities within their everyday lifestyle to integrate subtle changes that create lasting, impactful results. Learn more at Bite For Change!