New Year, New you! Most of us like to set goals at the New Year to improve our health and happiness. Whether your goals are spending more time with family, eating healthier or saving money, it’s all too easy to fall back into your old routine and abandon your new goals. According to U.S. News, 80% of New Year’s resolutions are abandoned by the second week of February. The most common resolutions are focused on eating healthier and exercising. We have a few tips to help you stay on track with your goals all year round.
If you search the internet for healthy recipes there’s no shortage of decadent and mouthwatering inspiration. It can be intimidating to imagine recreating these recipes, and daunting to imagine the time it would take to shop and prep for them. You can end up with a pantry full of spices and ingredients you will barely use. Sticking with the basics can make a new way of eating less intimidating and easier to maintain. Depending on the focus of your diet, try to stick to simply cooked and seasoned vegetables, proteins and grains.
Experiment slowly by adding more spices and sauces, and then eventually take on a more complex recipe once you feel confident that you don’t need to be eating picture perfect food to have wholesome and delicious meals. You will be surprised at how good simple food tastes and how quick it can be to make!
There are dozens of local and nationwide meal delivery services that send pre- portioned, ready-to-cook, healthy meals to your front door. Included are easy to follow instruction cards and most meals are ready in 30 minutes or less. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh and Sun Basket are a few of companies who offer this great service. You can choose a specific diet like vegetarian, gluten free, or classic depending on which site you go with.
These services can be very helpful when you are beginning a new healthy eating regimen, if you’re new to cooking, or if you have fallen out of routine and need help getting back to it. You get introduced to how food can be both healthy and flavorful while minimizing shopping and meal planning. The best part is that you keep the recipe card so you can recreate your favorites again and again.
You can elect to use this service weekly, monthly, bi-weekly or just sporadically. Use it when you know you will be having a stressful week but you still want to be eating your best. Use them to introduce your kids to cooking. These services are a great tool that require minimal effort.
There are so many recipes available for the Instant Pot or a good old fashioned crock pot that free up your time and make cooking quick and simple. You can make more than soups in these one-pot wonders. From mashed potatoes and whole chickens to oats, noodles and more. Check out this amazing guide that shows the versatility of the Instant Pot.
Take temptation out of the equation by keeping healthy snack options close by. Taking an extra snack to work or school gives you the freedom to snack healthy and keep your body and mind fueled to accomplish whatever your day throws at you. This will also help you avoid the late afternoon hunger when you’re most susceptible to over eating and giving in to your cravings. Our favorite to-go snacks are fruit, hard boiled eggs, nuts like almonds or pistachios, Oloves Snack Packs, Erin Baker’s Breakfast Cookies (of course!) and chopped veggies with hummus. These are all easy to prepare in under 10 minutes and offer great health benefits and a lot of room for variety.
Not everyone can make time to go to a gym but that doesn’t mean you can’t make time to exercise. Walking is one of the best exercises and can be easily incorporated in to your lunch break or your morning routine. Take more time to walk with your furry friends, your family or join a walking group around town. If you prefer to workout indoors you still have options. Free videos on YouTube and other websites offer a variety of exercise from 15 minute yoga videos to full-body 6 week programs. Check out this free Yoga video for beginners
Working out in a class can be more fun than working out alone. Explore yoga, barre, Zumba or boxing classes that offer variety and a community that help you to stay accountable to your goals. Another way to make exercise more enjoyable is to pick some entertainment that you only listen to while exercising. Find a new podcast, eBook, or build a music playlist that you only listen to during workouts. Even if you have a day when you’re not looking forward to the exercise, you will still look forward to getting to hear your favorite podcast or favorite tunes.
Take before and after photos and track your progress weekly or biweekly to see how you are doing. As your body gets stronger the physical changes can help motivate you to keep going. If eating better is your goal use an App like MyFitnessPal to track what you’re eating. This keeps you mindful about the quantity and type of food you are eating. Journaling can be a great way to track your progress as well. You can summarize how you’re feeling, what your goals are and what you’ve accomplished. These notes are great to look back at when you feel unmotivated because it’s a personal record of how the changes are improving your life.
A vision board is a great way to remind yourself why you’re putting in the effort every day. You will have a visual of goals you want to accomplish, vacations you hope you take, memories you want to create and encouraging words to keep you going. Fueling your body with nutrient dense foods and incorporating exercise can add value to your life in so many ways. It can help you to save money on groceries, create new friendships, build self-efficacy and find new hobbies. These changes can have lasting effects on your overall motivation and happiness in every area of your life. Remember this when creating your dream board; a healthy lifestyle reaches far beyond food and the gym and can improve your life mentally as well as physically.
Congratulations on taking step to improve YOU this year. We hope these tips can inspire you to stick with your goals and to lead a more wholesome life, whatever those goals may be.
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