Very common around this time of the year are New Years diet resolutions – that a lot of people break even before the sun rises on the 1st of January. Certainly, a healthy diet has been shown to improve physical, mental and social well being but if it’s so good for us, why is it so damn hard? It’s difficult because we often set unrealistic expectations of what ‘eating better’ actually means and what we can achieve within our lifestyle, family, social and emotional world.
New Year’s resolutions also tend to be very large goals. For example, “this year I want to run a marathon” or “this year I want to lose 20kg before Easter”. While resolutions are often made with the best of intentions they’re almost always set up to fail. Why? Because they focus on the outcome rather than the strategies required to achieve the outcome. It’s always better to focus on the HOW, rather than the WHY. So with that in mind, here are 16 New Years resolutions you can ACTUALLY achieve…
- Make sure I eat 2 pieces of fruit every day
That’s 14 pieces per week (only 10% of us Aussies actually do this!)
- Take lunch to work at least 4 days each week
This is better for your wallet AND better for your body.
- Drink only water, coffee, tea or milk
Cut out the sweet beverages, soft drinks, juices, cordial, flavoured milks or iced coffees
- Reduce my alcohol intake
We find many people are surprised by how difficult this can be. Try lemon juice and soda in a wine glass with ice as a good alternative.
- Walk to and from the station (or work if possible) rather than driving
Pop in your headphones and bop away or listen to a podcast for some well-deserved “me time”. If you work from home, consider walking to the shops and back for small errands.
- Choose high-fibre grain products
We recommend looking for more than 6 grams of fibre per serve in breads and cereals
- Eat only whole food as snacks
Not only do these foods involve less processing, more nutrition and more convenience, but they’re also way better for the environment because there’s less packaging. Some suggestions include eggs, yoghurt, milk, nuts, cheese and crackers fruit, or dried fruit.
- Ignore fad diets
Fat diets are popular for a short time, similar to ‘fashion fads’; they’re transient, not based on scientific evidence, are unlikely to be successful and are very likely to overly restrict key foods, leaving you at risk of a nutritional deficiency.
- Stop over restricting
Whether you’re skipping meals or over-restricting carbohydrates at meals, both are grossly unbalanced and typically lead to excessive snacking (typically on ultra-processed, instant food). This is one of the most common diet mistakes we see people make. It doesn’t work and isn’t sustainable.
- Check my milk choices
With so many different kinds of milk on the market, there has been a notable drop in calcium intake across the Australian population. Check your milk provides 8 grams of protein and more than 300 mg of calcium per serve.
- Choose a whole-food diet as much as possible
It’s better for you, the planet and your wallet! Typically, the best-balanced meal is what your grandmother (or great-grandmother) would have eaten – more whole fresh produce, less processing and packaging. Let’s see if we can make #WholeFoodDiet trend on socials!
- Watch my mindless eating
The most common place people overeat is on the couch, at night, watching TV, particularly when they’re feeling overwhelmed, alone, stressed or anxious. If you think about it, hunger is not one of those feelings.
- Stop counting calories
Aside from the fact that calorie databases are nearly always highly inaccurate, it’s crazy time-consuming to track this stuff. Surely, you have better things to do with your time! Instead, try eating a balanced meal regularly. Your body is built to be refuelled every 3 to 4 hours. It will thank you for it.
- Never skip breakfast
It’s much better to enjoy a high-fibre, balanced breakfast with protein and a serving of fruit or vegetables than to skip breakfast and end up grabbing a banana bread with your morning coffee at 10:30. People who skip breakfast, typically end up snacking more and, more often, their choices are less nutritious.
- Eat fish and seafood meals more frequently
On average, Australians eat 1 fish meal per week. The national guidelines suggest 3 to 4 fish or seafood meals each week. In other words, you should be spending more time with your fishmonger than your butcher! Check out recipes in this blog for some inspiration.
- Cook a new meal from a recipe at least once a week
Often we get into a rut or routine with our meal preparation, cooking the same meals week in and week out. This is bound to get boring. An excellent strategy to challenge yourself is to try a completely new recipe or new cuisine weekly. You could try recipes from our collection or maybe a tried and true recipe from a friend, family member or colleague.