Are you making massive, overreaching resolutions year after year, only to fall off the wagon after a month? Maybe that’s not the best approach. Here are five things you can change and really impact your health.
- This New Year’s, don’t bite off more than you can chew — literally! Most resolutions fail because they involve too many big changes at once. Take it one step, or bite, at a time. Make one manageable change, keep it up for a month or so until it’s become a habit, then start working on your next positive change the following month. You will have instilled at least a dozen new habits and be a whole new you by this time next year!
- Eat a minimum of 5 servings of fruit & veggies a day. This may seem like a small commitment, but for most of us it’s a huge change, and I believe it’s the single most effective healthy habit. Log your intake for a few days to determine your starting point, and then focus on increasing it by 1-2 servings a day. Easiest way to get to 5? If you eat 3 meals and two snacks a day, make it a rule that you never eat unless there is a fruit or veggie serving included. That’s 5 servings a day right there!
- Don’t forget your dark leafy greens! This notoriously neglected veggie group is so good for you, just including it in your diet once a day is hugely beneficial. Spinach in a smoothie or omelet, kale or collards in a soup, or swiss chard in a stir fry – greens are easy to include if you just make a conscious effort. For loads of great recipes, many of which include dark leafy greens, check out the recipes on this blog (at www.simple-balance.ca)
- Avoid refined carbs, and don’t eat complex carbs alone! Refined carbs, found in “white” foods like white breads, cakes, cookies, crackers and pastas are like giving yourself a shot in the arm of sugar, because of their high sugar/low fibre (and often nutrient) content. Make whole grains and veggies your carbs of choice and pair them with some protein and a little healthy fat to moderate the release of sugar into your blood and give your snacks and meals some staying power!
- Move your body! Remember, everything counts, including walking, dancing, toboganning, or taking the stairs. It doesn’t have to be a 10k run for you to reap the benefits. Get your daily move on for 30 minutes and you will help manage your weight & stress levels, support heart health and reduce your risk of developing many chronic diseases!
Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!
WENDY McCALLUM, LLB, RHN, is a food coach and educator who followed her passion for real food by leaving her career as a lawyer and returning to college to learn more about nutrition and food. She now operates Simple Balance Consulting, through which she helps her clients reach their wellness, weight and nutrition goals, in part by supporting them in the move from processed food to healthier, real food alternatives. Her cookbook, Real Food for Real Families (out in the Spring of 2013) features the most popular recipes her clients love and tips for how to introduce a family to new approaches to food.