We all start the new year with the best of intentions, with losing weight at the top of the resolution list for much of the Western world. But while weight-loss might be an attractive side-effect, our real aim should be to get healthier and fitter, so that we have more energy, better skin, a faster metabolism and a generally more positive outlook on life.
But how many of us have started the year with bold ambitions, only to crumble the first time that someone brings cookies into the office? Rather than swearing off all guilty pleasures, try to make positive changes to your life instead. Here are a few simple ways you can improve your health.
1. Eat more than 5-a-day
The more fruit and vegetables you eat, the lower your risk of serious health issues such as heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure and diabetes. While aiming to eat five portions a day is an excellent starting point, eating more than this only increases the benefits. Try taking a few pieces of fruit to work with you, or chopping up some carrot and cucumber sticks to nibble on while at your desk. Every little extra bit helps, and even frozen, tinned or dried fruit counts towards your goal.
2. Cut your sugar intake
Overindulging in the white stuff can cause weight gain, skin problems and energy lows at best, and serious issues such as diabetes at worst. The trouble is that it is hidden in more foods that you might think, and is not always obvious from the nutrition labels. Look for alias’ such as fructose, glucose and dextrose, and try to avoid it where possible.
3. Start the day with a protein breakfast
Eating a hearty breakfast rich in protein helps to keep us feeling fuller for longer, while boosting our energy levels and helping to maintain weight. Enjoy eggs, yogurts or nutty cereals to keep your body full of vital cell-building nourishment.
4. Try new things
Take some time to learn some new recipes and test out some new foods. Try a new grain, such as rye, barley or maize, or find a dish that requires you to use a spice you’ve never cooked with before. Maybe even try to make more vegetarian meals, in an effort to reduce the amount of meat in your diet. Mixing it up in the kitchen will make mealtime more exciting, and you will be keen to eat healthier foods.
5. Keep your kitchen clean
When you are rushing off to work in the morning, it can be easy to leave the kitchen mess to later. But then when you get home after a tiring day in the office, the last thing you want to do is tidy the kitchen. If you return home to a spotless food preparation area, you will be more likely to cook healthy, delicious meals rather than reach for the nearest take-away menu.
6. Book a wellbeing workshop
Talk to your boss about incorporating nutrition workshops into your working week. The obvious benefits to the company will be healthier employees, with less absences due to sickness and a higher output due to increased energy levels. A one-to-one session with a nutritionist would help you to get the new year off to the very best start.
Make 2017 the year that you really make a change to your life. Making sensible choices will greatly improve your health, so that you can afford to have a naughty slice of cake every now and then without feeling guilty.