The New Year often times serves as a concrete time to help people focus goals on health and wellness. If you find yourself looking for structure to help build healthy habits, read on for my top 5 tips to help you in the New Year. Choose any or all five of these tips to help you start the New Year off celebrating YOU!
Form a routine
Routines are essential for creating healthy habits, such as eating, movement, and sleep, etc. When stress is high the set routine will allow you to stay on track with your habits. Pro tip: When I struggle with time (my kids have been trading illnesses recently and I am on Mom mode overload), a 10-15 minute home workout is my plan first thing in the morning rather than my 45-60 min typical gym routine. Here the habit of continuing the workout is the most important thing for consistency. Remember, doing something is always better than nothing!
From the grocery list and beyond, planning is so helpful when it comes to setting up breakfast, packing a balanced lunch and whipping up a fast dinner. Pro tip: Use a menu board in the kitchen to plan 2-3 days worth of meals. A chalk or white board works great, is highly visible, and will help you mentally organize the next few days of meals.
Fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables
Produce is important for multiple reasons – fiber, fluid, vitamin/mineral/antioxidant content, and color on the plate which improves the pleasure of eating. Pro tip: Save time and snag the pre-washed and cut items from the store to make roasting or creating a salad a breeze. Even easier, eat raw with a fun dip!
Consume whole grains
Grains are divided into 2 categories, whole grains, and refined grains. Refined grains have undergone a process that removes the bran and germ, thus reducing the fiber content. Whole grains contain the entire grain kernel. Many whole grain products are a good source of dietary fiber, supporting GI health and increasing satiety at meals. Pro tip: Look for products that state “100% whole grain/whole wheat/whole oat” on the ingredient label. My fave swap is using faro in place of rice in any dish!
Drink plenty of water
Consuming plenty of water allows for better digestion of food, healthier skin, and is essential for our bodies to function properly. Carry water with you wherever you go as a reminder to stay hydrated throughout the day. Pro tip: I am able to increase my water intake by telling myself no morning coffee until I drink 8-12 ounces of water first.
Content submitted by Jessica Roy MS, RD, LDN, and Rebecca Littman, Dietetic Intern