It is hardly surprising that the most common New Years Resolution is to ‘Lose Weight/ Eat Healthier’. According to statistic brain, a whopping 21.3% of people set their hearts on this goal for the New Year.
Considering the Christmas holidays are known as the season for great feasts, delicious chocolate treats and plentiful alcohol, it makes sense why our bodies are begging, after the period has come to a close, that we want to whip ourselves into shape and get into a healthier routine.
Though there are plenty of humorous memes regarding the influx of new-found healthy eaters, there is no reason as to why this should be seen in a negative light.
The fad-trends of ‘Dry January’ and ‘Flexitarian’ have fantastic health benefits: they can allow you to still enjoy enticing dishes, without leaving you feeling starving, as well as curbing the unnecessary binges that you found yourself all to frequently doing in the Christmas break.
Personally, I always set one of my New Years Resolution’s as ‘get fitter’- as I recognize there is no ceiling to how fit and healthy your body can be. Getting fitter includes a combination of exercise and a balanced diet. When I exercise harder, I must eat more in order to allow my muscles to recover and my increasing metabolism to be met.
Eating more doesn’t mean buying an extra pack of doughnuts to pack on the saturated fats and excess calories; it means eating more delicious and nutritious fuel to get my body and brain feeling optimized.
Getting fit and eating healthier can feel difficult in the January months. It is exam season, which always drains our energy levels and leaves us craving sugary treats.
The weather is cold, so all we want to do is grab a bag of cheesy chips on our late-night stroll from the library. Our bodies have also come so accustomed to consuming sugar in excess, so we seem to want it more than ever.
But don’t fear. It’s hard for everyone! Even the fittest, healthiest people have the cravings to have the tempting options that attract each and every one of us.
Here’s my top 5 tips on how to keep up the New Years Resolution: ‘Keep Healthy and Fit in 2017.’
1. Don’t expect it to be easy
If you have always had a sweet tooth, there’s no point in saying ‘I’ll never consume chocolate again’. It’s not going to happen- you need to be realistic.
Instead of making yourself forget about the very creation of chocolate, instead set a more achievable goal. Perhaps it will be ‘I will not buy chocolate bars for snacks’- and intend to swap these for a healthy cereal bar or (my favourite) carrot and hummus as a healthier choice of snack.
This means that you won’t negate the possibility of ever consuming chocolate again, which will leave you falling at the first hurdle, but will push you to see it as a ‘treat’ rather than a snack to munch on every day. Ultimately, though, who wants to live in a world without these sweet treats to brighten up your day, every now and again?
2. Plan your Meals
Planning your meals may seem like a hassle, but it is undoubtedly one of the best ways to cut your spending and make you eating healthier.
You’re able to plan out your week so you can plan your recipes around similar ingredients (so if you need to buy ingredients in bulk, they can be interchanged between recipes). Also, you put more thought into the food you consume, and so can plan your meals to fit your meals to a healthier lifestyle!
It may seem daunting at first, but if you plan your weekly meals, and even get your flatmates in on it, you’ll find yourself trying so many new flavours and keeping on track with healthy eating. No need to get home and shove in a pizza for dinner after a long day at uni!
A great trick is making large portions- for example below was a kedgeree I made, which was supposed to be for 2 people. Just tuppaware it up and voila- healthy meals for 2 dinner’s in a row!
3. Make your snacks healthy
Snacking is addictive. It can be so easy to find yourself gorging on a high sugar, high fat snack which leaves you feeling no fuller.
Snacking can be really good for you, despite the negative connotations that are associated due to the influx of sugary goods in shops. You just need to trade in the vending machine Kit-Kat for more nutritious snacks instead!
Tailor your snacks to your own specific needs. If your intention is to put on muscle, focus more on the protein content, however if your goal in mind is curbing the cals, maybe try and lower the carb count. Just make sure that you curb these cravings into more healthy nibbles that calorific treats.
If you’ve got a sweet tooth, grab a yoghurt (not too high in sugar) or your favourite piece of fruit! You can get creative with these, either go for your raw fave, or get exciting and make your own frozen grapes. If you’re craving crisps, try go for some nuts, nut butter packets, or carrots with hummus! Below is the homemade granola I made: full of healthy fats, carbs and reduced sugar content as I used agave nectar instead of sugar, and coconut oil.
4. Purchase a cookbook
There’s nothing more tempting than opening up a gorgeous new cookbook and exploring a plethora of recipes to dip in to and try your hand at making. And there are so many around: we really are spoiled for choice!
Purchasing a cookbook will allow you to take in to account what is going in to your meals, and allow you to assess how much you should be eating.
If you want some inspiration for low carb meals, the Lean in 15 book has some fantastic recipes that are super easy and cheap to make. Not to mention Clean Eating Alice, Deliciously Ella and India by Meera Sodha.
5. Try your local fruit and veg store
Try some unusual vegetables, get creative- whether that means having your own creative license or following an enticing recipe. The more you experiment with cooking, the more fun you have with it! And you might just find your niche: whether that’s cavolo nero or celeriac soup!
The more fun you make healthy cooking and healthy eating- the easier it will be to keep it up!