New year healthy eating made easy

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Simone Austin is an advanced
sports dietitian, keynote
speaker and author.

The New Year has arrived and what a great time to celebrate all the things that went well with your health and wellbeing and reflect on aspects that you may like to and have control over to change. With this comes a word of warning- stay clear of the diet hype and pressure to be transforming your body into a ‘new you’ with unrealistic new year’s resolutions!

With the excess of Christmas for another year now just a memory it’s the perfect time to turn your attention to the year ahead and start thinking about tweaking the food you eat. Small dietary changes to improve health are welcome, complete overhauls are often a fast road to disappointment and generally without scientific backing. Let’s take a look at a few strategies that can stick around for the long haul that may be of benefit to nourish your body this year.

Small steps are the key to making big changes and we’re more likely to stick to them

1: First, look at all the great things you already do that are awesome for your health. Give yourself a pat on the back! Think about why these work for and see if there is a pattern that may help with the other changes you would like to make.

2: Forget dieting! If fad diets for example worked, there wouldn’t need to be new ones constantly created. Focus on what to eat rather than what not. If you have satisfied your taste buds and appetite you are less likely to be scouring the fridge and pantry looking for more.

For example eating to meet the daily recommendation of the Australian Guide to Healthy Eating; two pieces of fruit, 5 serves of vegetables, a handful of nuts (almonds of course!), some quality wholegrain carbs, dairy or an alternative, lean meat, fish and/or some legumes there isn’t a lot of room for much more!

3: Set some time aside to shop, prepare and importantly enjoy eating you food. If the food you would like to eat isn’t there it ain’t going to happen. By crowing your fridge and pantry with the food you would like to eat it is more likely to happen.

  • A fruit bowl on the bench
  • A fruit platter cut up in the morning
  • A fridge with some fresh vegetables and a freezer with some frozen
  • A basic pantry stocked with canned tomatoes, legumes and other veg, brown rice, oats and wholegrain pasta
  • Eggs, milk and yoghurt ready to go in the fridge
  • Fresh roasted almonds ready for a snack and slivered almonds ready to throw in yoghurt, a salad or breakfast cereal
  • A trip to the fish shop or butcher for quality over quantity

4: Write down a few health focused goals.

  • e.g. I want to feel more energetic in the afternoon
  • I will stay well hydrated and drink more water with a jug on my desk
  • I will have a snack on hand for mid afternoon of almonds, a slice of cheese and a piece of fruit (restock at the shop twice a week)
  • I will get up from my desk and move more (set an alarm on my phone)

5. To make the whole food experience more fun.

  • Set a shopping time to go fruit and vegetable shopping and look around enjoying what is in season
  • Visit fresh food markets with family and friends
  • Grow some herbs and vegetables at home
  • Cook with the household and share the load
  • Prepare vegetables in advance for snacks and lunches
  • cook extra one night for the next to save time
  • choose the menu for the week together
  • Add extra vegetables to dishes e.g. barbeques, soups, curries, frittata, with your eggs, in stir-fries, meatless Monday.

Final thoughts, enjoying what you do, and planning are key to success in most areas of life. Give your diet some time and attention for planning and you are then more likely to enjoy it and keep going for the long haul. It wont be a chore it will be a pleasure in your life!