January is finally here – and even though the pandemic is going strong and there is no end in sight for lockdown – it is a new year full of opportunity and we should take it. Starting fresh in January is always difficult after December filled with snacks, alcohol and fatty foods. Quitting bad habits and moving towards a healthy diet will always be a challenge but it is one that it worth the time and effort you put into it.
This January we want to help you overhaul your diet in some easy ways to make the most of the new year and the fresh start it brings with it.
One of the easiest changed you can make in January to up your health game is to switch from potatoes to sweet potatoes as you main source of carbs. When thinking about digestive health and digestion; sweet potatoes offer a helping hand to your gut without putting strain on them by having complex carbs. Making the switch and trying cottage pie with a sweet potato crust; or a sweet potato topped with your favourite fillings is a brilliant way to overhaul your diet.
Eat more ginger
Ginger is a brilliant spice and one which sadly often goes unnoticed and underrated in our diets. If you want to make a positive change to your diet it is time to make more meals with ginger. Ginger is an antibacterial agent as well as an anti inflammatory and a circulation booster. For the kick you need in your step this morning start the day with water infused with ginger and a little lemon, and kickstart your body for a happy and healthy time. Consider keeping some ginger paste in the fridge so that you can add this to the base of curry, soup, and stir fry.
Lower your sugar intake
Sugar is a devil ingredient for many of us because it is so addictive and tastes amazing – but too much of it can really hurt our diet. If you have spent the last few weeks enjoying lots of chocolate and sweet treats now is the time to make a change and instead consider cutting out refined sugar for a few weeks and instead focus on eating only foods with natural sugars such as fruit and vegetables. When we eat too much sugar our blood sugar spikes – and often we have too much for our body to digest. What will normally happen after this is that our body will store sugar as fat. To avoid this and allow your body to be lean and healthy for longer consider lowering your intake this week.
Hydrate with infused water
Infused water can be the mother of all detoxes after a long month of eating and drinking whatever you like. In January consider starting the year off with a different infused water each morning to start the day right and keep you healthy. For example here are some great combinations:
- Wake up – lemon, ginger, cayenne pepper
- Great skin – blueberry, raspberry, mint
- Focus – lime, strawberry, mint
- Sweet treat – orange, strawberry, lime
There are many great combinations you can try and it will hopefully encourage you to stay healthy and keep your body hydrated every day.
Reduce dairy consumption
Dairy is one of those things that most of us eat in some capacity but it is something we should reduce consumption of when we start a new year. In January consider reducing your dairy consumption a little every day and start to see the benefits of eating less cheese and drinking less milk. You will likely notice healthier skin that isn’t clogged up, better sleep, and less bloating. You don’t have to cut out cheese completely but reducing the amount you have is a great idea for your health.
Start the day with grapefruit
Grapefruit can sometimes be an acquired taste however it is a powerhouse of health and you should consider eating one every day for a healthier body. Eating half or a full grapefruit every morning for breakfast will do several good things for you: it will boost metabolism; aid digestion; and will provide you with essential vitamins you need.
Add salad to every meal
Salad is something a lot of us turn our noses up at and it is no surprise because many salads are simply boring. However, if you want to stay healthy and lean in January and moving forward it is important to consider having a small amount of salad with every dinner, while reducing your portion size. For example, a pasta dish could be served with a side salad made of mixed leaves like rocket with a balsamic drizzle. This will reduce the amount of pasta on your plate as well as get those essential greens into your diet. Salad doesn’t always have to be the only component of a meal and often it is a great side dish for a healthier diet.
Cut out fast food
Fast food is easy to want. When you are at home during lockdown especially, the convenience of a takeaway of pizza or a curry is almost too hard to resist. In January though, it is time to save money and your stomach and take the chance to cut out the takeaways- opting instead for healthy meals cooked at home. Start having fun in the kitchen and try out foods you have never had before and see what a difference it will make to your health and your happiness! Cooking is fun and once you start to learn about cooking you might find that it is a great new hobby while you are stuck at home.
Eat fruit each morning
Fruit is important for our bodies and if you want to get a quick health kick every day you should add a piece of fruit to your breakfast. Apples are a great source of vitamin C and aid in cognitive function; bananas are full of potassium for your immune system; and berries are packed with antioxidants to fight the signs of aging. Eating some fruit every morning will set you up for a good day and is also a tasty treat with natural sugar.
Choose black coffee
You might be a latte kind of person naturally, but black coffee could be your new best friend in January. Black coffee lacks the sugar and milk of other coffees so right away is healthier for your body. It also helps to boost the immune system and metabolism and will get you up and ready for the day. Drinking a black coffee with your breakfast can aid digestion and will make a positive difference to your day.
Use a calorie counting app
If you always struggle with healthy eating and need some help, try downloading MyFitnessPal and track your calories. Calorie counting can be a helpful way to reach your healthy eating goals in a synch and will keep you on track even when you are unsure. By counting calories you can control portions and meals and eat less overall. Once you know what is in your food you will start to view it differently and it will make a big difference to you.
Prep fruit and veg
If you are a little lazy and you always reach for the most convenient snack in your house even when you have healthy food in the fridge; this tip is for you. When you do your big grocery shop, come back and dedicate 30 minutes to unwrapping your fruit and veg, chopping it into edible chunks, and putting it into Tupperware containers. When you take the time to prepare fruit and vegetables like this, it will encourage you during the week to eat more healthily and avoid the junk food.
Keep sweet treats out of sight
It is so easy after Christmas to see the mountain of chocolate and treats in your kitchen and to think “let’s just get rid of this”
However, you don’t need to eat everything you have right away. Start January the right way by packing away boxes of chocolates and treats and leaving them until you really want them. Once they are out of sight they will be out of mind and you will be more likely to be able to focus on eating healthy foods instead.
Dress up boring salads
Salad is boring – we all know that. But salad doesn’t have to be simply a mixture of leaves with the odd cherry tomato thrown in for good measure. Salad can be a nutritious and exciting meal as long as you learn how to dress them up. Consider adding a protein source to your salad such as lentils; add nuts for crunch; add some roasted vegetables; and top it off with a healthy vinaigrette. Salad can come in many shapes and sizes and you can experiment with the things you have in your fridge.
Overhauling your diet for the new year is a challenge but it is worth the effort and you’ll feel healthier and happier for it!