As a New Year dawns upon us, resolutions will abound! And, like every year, topping the list of many will be a steadfast determination that they will use the months ahead to be healthier, fitter, drop a few pounds, build a few muscles, and just go down the track of an improved lifestyle.
Well… Cheers! Your intention to live healthier in 2021 (and beyond) can earn you success if you break down your goal into smaller bite-sized mini ends. Well-intentioned dietary promises can often come to naught if you set yourself hard-to-define goals that are easier ‘made’ than ‘done’.
To get you started, begin with a weekly health and fitness plan. Give yourself 3 weeks to adjust to small changes you have decided to make to your schedule. Remember – it takes 21 days to make a fad a habit! So stick it out for three weeks – all guns blazing – till you’ve got it right!
Here are five tips that you could cut out and paste prominently in your home.
- Reduce your sugar intake: Cutting back on sugar is a gradual process and will not happen overnight. But once you start to cut back on it, you will realize you don’t need as much of it as you once thought. Begin by bringing down the amount of sugar you use in your coffee or tea from 2 tsp. to 1.5 tsp. over a 3 week period. Then go lower, and very soon your palate will need no sugar in any beverage!
- Cut down on your oil use: Whatever is the oil of your choice, make sure that you do not use more than 10 g of added oil to your cooking (per person) per day. Also experiment with healthier methods of cooking such as sautéing, stir-frying, steaming, broiling, baking, and grilling.
- Include veggies at each meal: Begin with breakfast – throw in some carrots in your poha, beans in your upma, grated beetroot in your idli-dosa batter, broccoli in your omelet, cucumbers and lettuce to your sandwich, tomatoes to your chapatti, or a glass of freshly squeezed vegetable juice with your breakfast cereal. Make salads and steamed vegetables a part of both lunch and dinner.
- Make prebiotics and probiotics a part of your daily diet: Prebiotics are non-digestible food components that promote the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, while probiotics are live cultures that boost immunity and improve gut health. Get into the habit of consuming at least one serving of curds or yogurt, 3 servings of whole grains, and 2 servings each of vegetables and fruits with edible peels throughout the day.
- Eat out less often. Choose home-cooked food over restaurant eating, and keep the latter as a treat only once a month. Celebrations like birthdays, feasts, and festivals are other reasons why eating habits go haywire. Remind yourself about your New Year resolution at these times, and remember that even if you do fall off the bandwagon, it does not signal the end of your healthy eating plan. Just get back up, and start over from where you left off.
Five more tricks to make your new year healthy… coming up next week! Stay tuned… and until then … enjoy the festivities that ring in the New Year! Happy New Year 2021! Choose wisely …. Stay healthy.