When it comes to keeping New Year’s Resolutions, the odds are not in your favor. Research shows about 92 percent of resolutions collapse.
Keeping resolutions has even become something of a joke: Nobody even expects to keep them, and some people resolve to forgo resolutions altogether as the end of December encroaches to avoid that mid-January crash.
Rather than an all-or-nothing approach, I have a better idea this year. Let’s create lofty but sustainable goals that you can build on throughout the year. A great place to start is at the end of your fork.
Eating nutrient-rich food that supports a healthy body and brain impacts your mood, energy, confidence, how you think, and so much more. Creating simple, concrete steps to eat healthier this year can create the foundation for a healthier, happier 2019.
But I get it: Making that shift from processed foods to real, whole foods can feel like a challenge. Here are some of my favorite strategies to make the transition easier.
- Create simple swaps. You can do this with nearly any food on the planet. Let’s say you have a hankering for pasta with cream sauce. Easy: Swap it out for spiralized zucchini with tomato sauce. If you love potato chips with cheese dip, try some kale chips or swap out the cheese for guacamole. You’ll get all the crunch and flavor with way more nutrients. Candy cravings? Have some dark chocolate covered almonds. You can read about some of our favorite swaps here
- Get your nutrients from food, not supplements. Falling into the multivitamin-insurance mentality means that it’s not important whether you eat healthily or not. But supplements can’t compare to the power of food. Supplements are helpful to restore nutrient deficiencies, but for long-term health, nothing beats food.
- Make your meals mindful. Mindfulness means being present moment to moment. Before you eat anything, try taking a deep breath. Inhale fully through your nose and then slowly exhale with your mouth, through pursed lips. Then use all of your senses to appreciate your food. Appreciate the colors on your plate and the aroma of the meal. Appreciate your company if you have it. Be completely present.
- Make one meal a week family time. Teaching your kids and other loved ones how to cook gives them a skill they can use throughout life. One of the best ways to do that is with a family dinner. Make it fun and get everyone involved. Young children can wash vegetables and set the table. Adolescents can cut, dice, slice, and even get behind the stove. You’ll get plenty of ideas in Eat Complete to make the kitchen and dinner table a festive, fellowship-filled activity that brings your family closer together. By the way, family doesn’t just mean blood, significant others, friends, community and chosen family all count.
- Shop locally and sustainably. Buying local encourages people to connect to their food supply, eat with a smaller footprint, and eat seasonal food. Farmers markets make a great way to find local produce as well as pasture-raised eggs, grass-fed meats, and other seasonal foods. Make a Saturday morning out of it and invite your family or friends to your excursion. You’ll better understand where your food comes from and meet some of the wonderful people who grow it.
- Make breakfast a smoothie. Because mornings can feel so hectic, a healthy breakfast doesn’t always get the respect it deserves. Upgrade breakfast and simplify your life with a smoothie. You can slip in plenty of clean protein sources, healthy fats including nut butter, and leafy greens. (Smoothies are a great way to sneak kale, spinach, and other leafies into kids’ breakfasts. They’ll never know!) Smoothies are delicious, nutritious, filling, and fast: Exactly what you need to start the day! To get you started, I’ve provided one of my favorite smoothie recipes below from Eat Complete.
With these strategies, eating healthier shifts from being a resolution to a reality. You’ll find when you’re proactive about what you eat and take small steps to eat healthier, you feel better, lose weight and keep it off, and maintain vibrant all-day energy to do the things you love, including keeping other resolutions. Happy New Year!
Kiwi Green Smoothie
MAKES 2 SERVINGS
You might be skeptical about starting your day with four cups of greens, but that will quickly pass. Mixing greens into your smoothies is an easy way to boost nutrient intake. The fiber in the greens plus the protein in the kefir will keep you full longer, and the live cultures in the yogurt or kefir promote overall gut health. To avoid bitterness, be sure your kiwis are ripe, which means they should be soft to the touch. Leave hard kiwis on the countertop for two to three days to ripen.
2 cups raw fresh spinach
2 cups raw kale
2 ripe kiwis, peeled
1 cup plain 2 percent yogurt or plain kefir
¼ cup almonds
¼ cup chia seeds
2 tablespoons honey
4 ice cubes
1 cup cold water, plus more as needed
Place the spinach, kale, kiwis, yogurt or kefir, almonds, chia seeds, and honey in a blender along with the ice cubes and cold water. Blend until smooth, adding a few tablespoons more of cold water to adjust the consistency if necessary. Divide evenly between two glasses and serve immediately.