I’ll start on Monday.’ That infamous line is all too familiar, whether we’re looking to lose weight, start an exercise regime or simply develop a healthier lifestyle. For many, however, that magic Monday never comes.
Yet it’s not as difficult as we think to change our attitudes and change our habits. In fact, the best way to develop a healthy eating plan is to start today! And the good news is that a few small changes in our everyday lives can soon add up to big results.
Here are a few simple tips to get you started:
1. Throw out those drinks and foods you know are not good for you – such as soft drinks overflowing with calories and processed foods full of salt and sugar. Drink plenty of water instead, and if you get bored drinking plain water, just chop up some fruit to add a punch to your drink. The liquid will fill you up, while the sweet taste of the fruit will help to satisfy sugar cravings and make you think less about reaching for a can of cola. Plus the added fruit will boost your vitamin intake.
2. Meal preparation. By preparing meals in advance, you’ll have less of an excuse to eat unhealthily. For example, by cooking large batches of pasta sauce and chilli and freezing them in smaller portions, you’ll always have a healthy meal that’s fast and easy to enjoy. Young people still living with their parents might also think of getting more involved in grocery shopping decisions.
3. Practise portion control. A key to maintaining a healthy diet is finding the right balance and portion size. Use a smaller plate to help you avoid over-sized meals, and eat slowly so you can really taste and appreciate your food. As it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to tell your stomach that you have had enough, eating more slowly will prevent overeating.
4. Snack healthily. Stock up on fruits and nuts at the beginning of the week. You’ll soon find yourself reaching for them more often and be less tempted to grab a packet of crisps or a bar of chocolate.
5. Save money by buying foods that can be used in more than one recipe. For example, if you plan on serving a roast chicken during the week, any leftovers can be used in wraps, salads or curries.
6. The easiest meal to change? Breakfast. Instead of sugary, calorie-laden cereals, go for healthier options such as muesli or a bowl of oatmeal. You can even add some fruit to make it tastier.
Options such as these start your day off on the right note, keep you on the healthy straight and narrow, and help you develop good food habits for life. And they’re easy on your wallet, too!