Hello 2017! It’s the start of a shiny new year, and now is the perfect time for a fresh start. If you’re reading this, then chances are you’ve already committed to making some positive, healthy changes to your lifestyle.
Ideally, your journey journey towards a healthy lifestyle should nourish your mind, body and your soul – the aim is to feel good from the inside out.
Before you set any health goals, have a look at your attitude to food. Does it need changing? Do you need to adjust your perception of healthy eating by letting go of calorie restriction and food deprivation? Eating more nutrient rich whole food and less refined options is the right way toward a more balanced and healthy approach to eating.
And you don’t need to adhere to just one set diet or food ‘movement’. Goals always work best when they’re personalized to the individual who is setting them, and food choices are about finding what works for you.
Your health goal could be something as simple as deciding to drink more water. And actually, there’s nothing simple about the beneficial effects of proper hydration – it impacts your energy, your hunger levels and your ability to concentrate.
Another fab food-related health goal is to find out where your food is actually coming from. Making a conscious decision to source your food from local farmers markets or wholefood/organic stores can open you up to a whole new world, where you can support small business, meet the growers and get inspired about fresh produce.
Alternatively, challenge yourself and set a number of new recipes to try each week. Even if it’s just one recipe a week, that’s over 50 new recipes you’ll have added to your repertoire by the end of the year! Imagine the possibilities this opens up, and the exciting ways this conscious eating will nourish your body.
If you’re looking to implement some really focused health goals, I recommend that you follow the SMART goal setting technique: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timeframe.
Specific: For example, “eat better” is too broad and can be vague. Narrow it down… what do you want to achieve, and why?
Measurable: ‘Eat better’ can’t be measured, whereas ‘Eat four serves of vegetables and/or fruit every day’, is easy to measure. Tracking your progress will help build momentum to ensure your goal becomes a part of your lifestyle.
Achievable: Do whatever you can to help yourself achieve this goal – a key way of doing this is to plan ahead; organisation is essential when committing to clean eating.
Things I always have on hand:
In the pantry – quinoa, chia seeds, coconut, dates, nuts and seed butters.
In the fridge – rice milk, coconut yogurt, fresh fruits, and a whole lot of veggies.
I’ll often whip up healthy dips like hummus or pesto to make veg sticks more appealing. I usually cut up carrot, capsicum and cucumber at the beginning of the week and have them in the fridge so it’s ready to go. It’s just taking that extra time to plan and prep your meals that makes all the difference in effectively reaching you goals.
Realistic: Make sure your goals are challenging without being overwhelming. Committing to go cold turkey on refined sugar or meat may not work so well if you haven’t done your proper research, are not adequately prepared or if you’re cooking for several different family members. Be ambitious but practical.
Timeframe: Giving yourself a set time to achieve your goal will keep you on track and motivated.
I think most importantly the key to success with healthy eating is making it fun. Here are some of my quick, easy and delicious tips to making healthy fun:
- Roast pumpkin with cinnamon to make it more appealing.
- Make oven chips out of potato and yams and then sprinkle the chips with some coconut flour to make them super crispy.
- Spiralize zucchinis, carrots and beetroot like spaghetti and toss them into stir-fry.
- Pan fry tofu with tamari and toss through your salad – taste bomb!
- Have fun with fruit – Make shapes with cookie cutters, decorate your bowl and take snaps!
Whatever you do, don’t be too hard on yourself. On your journey, you will facechallenges and difficulties, and some days your goal will be the last thing on you mind. Take each day at a time and reward yourself – you deserve it!