6 Ways to Eat Healthier in the New Year

6 ways healthy
It’s a new year, and, as always, many people are making (and breaking) resolutions.

Eat right. Exercise more. Lose weight.

By January 15th, the majority of these…pledged in blood by the typical resolutioneers…have already fallen by the wayside. But, sticking with your resolutions doesn’t have to be such an arduous challenge. The key to maintaining focus on resolutions revolves around setting realistic, attainable goals. Our family’s primary resolution each year is to eat better than we have in the prior year.

Here are some tips on how we’ve achieved our goals.

1. Blend It

Smoothies offer the most versatile way to start the day on the right foot. A few months ago, my family surprised me with a Ninja blender for my birthday, and it was love at first site. Every morning, I mix up a new blend of smoothie using whatever fruits and vegetables we have on hand. It pulverizes carrots, celery, spinach…you name it. The beauty of it is that if you mix in some fruit along with the veggies, the rest of the family is none the wiser, and they happily power it down. For a power-packed combo, try blending up a handful of fruit, a handful of veggies, a scoop of plain yogurt, and a splash of orange juice. Flax seed or a handful of raw almonds are also great additions.

2. Cook It

Pass up the frozen food section at the supermarket and vow to try making a few dishes from scratch. Don’t be intimidated. We are just talking about baby steps here. Instead of frozen pizza, try making a homemade pizza…dough is SO easy…just four simple ingredients…flour, water, yeast, and salt. We started making pizza from scratch a few years ago, and we haven’t bought a frozen pizza in years. Our kids love it. We love it. We control what goes into our pizza, and it’s just as delicious without all the extra preservatives and junk.

3. Pack It

There’s nothing that derails the resolution train more than the desire to eat out. Restaurant food is packed with fat and calories…that’s why it tastes so good! Strive to eat better by packing your lunch each day. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Cook a whole chicken in a crockpot on Sunday (or a package of boneless skinless breasts, if the whole chicken thing scares you), and then use the leftovers for quick, homemade lunches for the week. Spinach salad with shredded chicken and homemade vinaigrette or chicken and rice wraps are some of our favorites.

4. Prep It

Shop on the weekends and load up the cart with colorful fruits and vegetables from the outer aisles of the store. Avoid the inner aisles where the heavily processed and packaged “foods” dwell. When you get home from the store: chop, package, and label the fruits and vegetables so that they lend themselves to “grab and go.” The best way to avoid takeout is to have attractive, appealing options at your fingertips prepped and ready to serve.

5. Bake It

Make the time to bake from scratch. If you need motivation, look at the label on virtually any baked good in a conventional grocery store and see if you can identify…or pronounce…all the various ingredients. Count up the numerous ingredients. It does take time to bake from scratch but the results are worth it. At the same time, we are far from perfect. We still buy a loaf of bread at the store each week. We still buy packaged cookies from time to time. Yet, we appreciate the homemade versions so much more, and we feel healthier when we know what goes into the foods we bake from scratch.

6. Try It

Make an effort to try new foods. Recently, our family decided there were three foods we should try: brussel sprouts, eggplant, and bok choy. None of these three had ever made it to our truly Midwestern meat and potatoes dinner table in the past. However, we pushed forward as a family and persevered. Lessons learned: 1) nobody in our family likes brussel sprouts…yuck, 2) eggplant wasn’t as bad as we had always thought it was, and 3) bok choy was delicious and has become a new staple in our diet.

bananas

Making the move toward healthier eating does take time and effort but it’s a sacrifice that pays off in living a healthier lifestyle and is a resolution anyone can keep.

Your Turn:
What steps are you taking to eat healthier in 2014? Leave a comment and share your ideas!

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One thought on “6 Ways to Eat Healthier in the New Year

  1. […] particularly difficult since we’ve vowed to up the ante further this new year by focusing on eating even healthier than last year….but, as they say all things in moderation. Fortunately, the opportunity presented itself to […]

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