How many of you make New Year food resolutions that only last a couple of weeks? In the UK, nearly half of our new year’s resolutions focus on food, health and fitness, but the vast majority of us don’t stick to our new eating regimes.
In fact, most of our resolutions only last for about a month!
As a nutritional therapist, I see so many people going through intense detoxes in the New Year, in an attempt to lose weight and feel better in their bodies. But most of them fall off the wagon with a huge bump and end up bingeing on all the wrong foods they were craving.
In my opinion, it’s better to focus on your long term health, and choose simple to follow eating strategies that empower optimal wellness year on year. After all, a detox is not just for Christmas… our liver needs help 365 days of the year!
So rather than go on a strict detox this year that’s full of yucky green shakes and nothing much else, here are my three New Year Food Resolutions that I’m going to stick to most of the time, for a lifetime of good health.
1. Avoid sugary snacks when you’re hungry
In a fast-paced world packed with convenience snacks, it’s all too easy to grab the first thing you see and shove it in your mouth when you’re hungry. Whether it’s a chocolate bar, a piece of cake or a pastry, these items shouldn’t be seen as foods. Avoid them when you’re hungry and instead pick nourishing, protein-rich snacks, like a piece of fresh fruit, small pot of plain yoghurt or a handful of dried fruit or nuts that are going to fuel your body, not just promote your next sugar crash.
This way, you’ll be able to enjoy a little bit of what you fancy every now and again – which might be a small piece of your favourite chocolate or a slice of cake or a pastry – but always eaten mindfully and after a good meal.
2. Add vegetables or fruit to every meal and snack
People who eat more fruit and vegetables live longer. In fact, eating at least 7 portions of fruit and veg per day may cut your risk of death from all causes by over 40%. That’s quite an astounding figure, but if you’re not much of a fruit or veg eater, this may sound daunting.
Get into the habit of finding ways to add fruit and veg to every meal you eat. How about some frozen berries in your porridge, extra salad in your sandwich for lunch or half a tin of chickpeas in your spag bol? Already that’s three more!
3. Don’t forget to breathe!
Less focus here on food, but more on our lifestyle. Our lives are super busy, and we just don’t have the downtime we need. Stress is one of the leading causes of disease in the body, we’re seeing more and more stress-related illnesses in our modern world, in children as well as adults.
If you want to maintain optimal health, it’s so vital to find moments when you can properly focus on your breathing and focus inwards. What’s the first thing you do in the morning? For so many it’s checking social media or your email. How about sitting up, putting your feet flat on the floor, stretching up and taking 3 deep breaths?
Everyone can make time to do this, and it’s amazing how this small moment of mindfulness can make you feel so much more grounded.
More articles from Nutritional Therapist Catherine Jeans: How to cut sugar from your children’s diet (without them knowing)
Catherine Jeans is a nutritionist based in Norfolk. She is known as The Family Nutrition Expert and has featured as nutritional expert in numerous publications including the Sunday Telegraph. Catherine is author of the 30 Day Sugar Detox Programme.