After the indulgence of Christmas, January is often a time that we turn our thoughts to being healthy- whether it be food, exercise or mental health. It’s great if you can approach this in a positive way, rather than seeing it as a punishment or a chore.
When it comes to food, in particular, I think it’s so important to make sure that we are still cooking food that we are going to thoroughly enjoy.
I’ve listed below my top tips for a healthy start to 2021, along with some of my favourite recipes to enjoy this month.
Join a support group:
I’m a Slimming World member, and not only does it provide a supportive community with which to share your struggles and successes, nothing gives you will-power like knowing that you will soon be stepping on the scales! Slimming World consultants are working harder than ever to still keep the support going despite the challenges of tiers and lockdowns- often groups will take place via zoom if necessary, and hopefully it won’t be too long before we can all meet face-to-face (or mask-to-mask!) again.
Don’t dramatically change your diet!
I think this is SO important if you are trying to adapt to a healthier way of eating. Healthy food certainly doesn’t have to be boring or punishing. Think about the things that you like to eat, and adapt them to make them more healthy- I still eat the meals I love but I have learnt how to tweak them to be healthier. Also, cook from scratch as much as possible!
Start small, just walking when you might normally drive, and consciously making sure you have a good period of activity every day will make a difference. You can work your way up to running, cycling or exercise classes. With all of the challenges of lockdown, online exercise classes have become much more readily available, so if you aren’t comfortable yet exercising in front of others, you can take a whole host of classes in the comfort of your own home.
Preparation is key:
Planning out meals and snacks will help you to keep on track and stop those emergency trips to the biscuit barrel! I try to always have quiche, cold meats or my favourite fruits in the fridge so I am not tempted by higher-calorie or sugary snacks. I try to make a batch of soup on a Sunday so that I have lunch ready and prepared for Monday.
Don’t feel guilty about the occasional treat!
Sometimes you have to treat yourself- it’s all about moderation. I eat out so rarely that when I do, I just choose what I really want rather than the healthiest thing on the menu- that’s a real treat for me. If you completely deny yourself everything you love it’s more likely to lead to a binge further down the line!
Drink lots of water:
It’s easy to confuse thirst with hunger, and keeping yourself hydrated can help to stave off the urge to snack, as well as being beneficial to your health in a whole host of other ways.
Identify your will-power weaknesses and limit the temptations available to you:
I love to bake with my children, but I cannot resist a freshly baked cake or cookie! I can’t stand bananas, so if I’m baking with the girls I will often make banana bread so that I am not tempted to tuck-in.
Eat more vegetables:
If you aren’t a huge fan it’s so easy to incorporate them into meals, you can mix courgetti in with spaghetti if you are having bolognese, make sauces that contain hidden vegetables. Veggies are full of fibre, and have great filling power, helping you to cut down on the portion sizes of the less healthy parts of a meal.
Beware of ‘low fat’ products:
Many products labelled as ‘low fat’ are actually stuffed full of sugar to make them taste better! it’s not always the healthier choice, and if you are able to prepare your own snacks and meals you know exactly what’s gone into it.
Be kind to yourself:
I think that this is the most important thing- don’t compare yourself to others, everyone’s bodies and metabolisms are different and for some it will be easier than others. Just making these small changes means that you are taking hugely positive steps, and you should be proud of yourself!
Now onto some fantastic recipes, that taste great and won’t leave you feeling that you’re missing out!
You can find lots more lovely recipes on the blog- have a browse!