It’s a new day, a new year, and you’re still eating the same old unhealthy foods. But you’re ready for a change. Like yesterday. Good news! You can pick up healthier eating habits without the stress of fad diets, restrictive eating habits, and weight loss pills.
Start today with this realistic guide to create a healthy eating plan for 2022 that feels good and tastes delicious.
1. Don’t wait for the new year to eat better
January 1st isn’t the only time to start choosing healthy food options to eat. Remember this when you find yourself staring at the calendar in May wondering where the year went.
It’s easier to feel motivated when everyone else around you is starting fresh around the holidays, but don’t forget that the best time to start is today.
2. Start small to gain momentum
Like any goal you want to reach or habit you want to build, it’s best to start small. Don’t bite off more than you can chew by subjecting yourself to an abrupt change in your diet or minimizing portion sizes by half right off the bat.
What can you do instead? We have an idea for you.
3. Create a weekly meal plan full of healthy foods
The key to goal setting is to keep it simple. What better way to do this with your “Eat Healthy In The New Year” goal than prepping your weekly lunches and/or dinners ahead of time?
It’s tempting to order takeout (or scoop peanut butter straight from the jar) instead of make a homecooked meal, but if you’re prepped and ready when hunger strike then the choice is easy.
Another easy swap you can make to improve your eating habits?
4. Use the “crowd it out” method
Crowding out involves focusing your attention on eating healthy foods, instead of avoiding unhealthy foods. This approach to healthy eating focuses on adding in nutritious foods rather than cutting back on foods you enjoy.
Let’s see this in action.
Don’t swap all your favorite treats for grilled chicken and kale salads! Crowd out your plate with fresh veggies and protein instead. You’ll fill up on a balanced meal before you reach for that cookie you’ve been eyeing. Maybe you’ll want three, but you’ll likely be stuffed and satisfied by the second.
Want to know the difference between real, fresh foods and what you might consider unhealthy?
5. Remember that there is no such thing as “healthy” and “unhealthy” food
Yes, there are less than desirable ingredients in much of what you eat, but the food itself isn’t inherently bad.
Carbs are a great example. They aren’t your enemy! In fact, your body uses carbohydrates for energy and you need them as part of a balanced diet. Work to incorporate the appropriate amount of each nutrient – protein, fat, fiber, etc. – into your healthy eating plan rather than cut out an entire food group.
Intentional choices, especially if you have a specific goal in mind for the new year like eating healthy to lose weight, will get you closer to your goals than labeling foods as “good” or “bad.”
6. Snack mindfully
If you’ve tried to lose weight in the past, you might have heard advice such as “cut out snacks” or “skip the sweets.” Here’s a different approach.
Healthy snacks don’t have to be boring (or bad for you). There are plenty of good-for-you treats that leave you feeling satisfied and keep you mentally sharp. There are even snacks designed to bring your body back into balance, reduce stress, and help you sleep better.
Also, don’t beat yourself up if you grab a piece of candy over a stick of celery. Just get back on track the next day.
7. Opt for a high protein breakfast if weight loss is your goal
Sometimes it’s easier to start fresh when you feel refreshed, like when you first wake up. Need some healthy recipe ideas to get your day going? Here’s one for each day of the workweek:
- Greek yogurt with granola
- Black bean omelet
- Toast with nut butter
- Cottage cheese with fresh fruit
- Eggs and turkey bacon
Don’t want to bother with an intricate breakfast routine? Opt for a healthy protein bar that keeps you full and energized all morning. It’s a great clean snack to eat on the go or on the couch (we don’t judge!).
8. Choose healthy, real foods to eat guilt-free
You are your own worst enemy when it comes to guilt about the food you eat. Opt for real foods like dried fruits and nuts (or packaged foods with ingredients you can pronounce) to wisk away the shame and feel good about sticking to your New Year’s plan to eat healthy.
Remember: food is fuel. Consume it intentionally and leave the stress of diets and restrictions behind. 2022 is the year of feeling and eating well!