What are your new year’s resolutions? Most people start the year with the same resolutions they made the year before: exercising more, going on a diet, losing weight, being healthier. Somewhere along the line, our new habits aren’t sticking. This year, why not go beyond the usual restrictive resolutions and instead set intentions that make being healthy easy? Here are our top 6 tips to make 2018 your happiest, healthiest year yet.
Tip 1: Cleanse Your Kitchen
New year, new start. Use the opportunity of a new beginning to set the scene for your new healthy diet. If it isn’t in your cupboards, then you won’t eat it. It’s much easier to resist late night snacking when there aren’t biscuits and crisps in the kitchen. Empty all your cupboards and sort through each ingredient. Ask yourself these questions to decide whether or not to keep it: Is it processed? Does it contain sugar? Is the expiry date last year? Does this ingredient fit in with your new lifestyle? With all the new space you create, you can stock up on natural foods like gluten-free whole grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, and superfoods.
Tip 2: Plan for Snacks
The times we’re most likely to fall off the wagon when it comes to our diets is snacking. Those mid-morning or mid-afternoon hunger pangs that so easily take us to the nearest bakery or fast food outlet. Be prepared for these moments by making healthy snacks you can easily take on the go with you. A wholegrain pitta bread filled with hummus and vegetables, a handful of nuts with a banana, coconut energy balls are all good options.
Energy Ball Recipe
1 cup cashew nuts
1 cup medjool dates
¾ cup shredded coconut
¼ cup cacao powder
¼ cup coconut oil (melted)
(optional: ½ tablespoon maca powder)
- Put the cashews in your food processor and pulse until chopped.
- Add the dates, cacao and ½ cup coconut and process until well mixed.
- Add the coconut oil and process until the mixture begins to form a dough.
- Roll the mixture into balls, and roll each ball into the remaining coconut.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
Tip 3: Keep a Health Diary
When you know which moments of the day you feel tired, bloated, or irritated, you can discover which foods are to blame. This means you can get rid of the foods or habits that weight you down and replace them with something that supports your health. For example, you might notice that you blow your nose a lot certain afternoons after you’ve had bread for lunch. This could point to an intolerance to gluten, and you could replace this with a gluten-free whole grain alternative such as kamut sourdough, buckwheat or sprouted quinoa bread, which are also higher in protein and fiber than traditional white bread.
Tip 4: Re-think Your Workout
Exercise intentions tend to fizzle out by the end of January. And yet for some, exercise seems to be effortless. Why? The trick is how you view fitness. If you look at exercise as a permanent lifestyle change, rather than something you put yourself through until you reach a number on the scales, you’re much more likely to incorporate workouts into your day to day, and not see it as a chore.
Tip 5: Make Time For You
With today’s hectic schedules, chances are you put yourself last on your to-do list. And yet without some much-needed time to relax and recharge your batteries, you end up feeling drained, resenting your diary, being stressed, and not fully enjoying even free time with family. Each week, draw up your weekly schedule and pencil in some time for yourself, whether that’s to take a long bath, to get your nails done, to meditate in total tranquillity, to go for a long walk in nature, or simply to spend quality time with loved ones.
This January, why not try a different approach to new year’s resolutions? Instead of rigid goals, pledge to prepare the terrain for a healthier lifestyle. By replacing the junk foods in your environment with whole foods, changing your perception of exercise, getting to know your body, and setting aside time to recharge your batteries, you can create the perfect setting for a healthier, happier 2018.