The New Year has arrived and with that comes new goals. For many people, their goals include eating healthier, but either they don’t know how, or they find the idea of changing their eating behaviors to be daunting. Want to jumpstart 2023 in the right direction? Check out these five obtainable behavioral habits to implement this year to not only help you eat better, but also help you feel your best in the new year!
- Eat Mindfully – Eating mindfully is an ideal habit to start in 2023. This means being present while you are eating. When you’re present while eating, you are actually able to enjoy the flavor, texture, and aroma of the food you are eating. I know it can be hard but take that 20-minute break from work to enjoy your lunch and be present while you are eating. Another great tip for mindful eating is to slow down and enjoy your food. Taking a moment to slow down and properly chew your food can greatly improve your digestion and help you tune into your hunger cues so you don’t overeat and feel bloated or sluggish after your meal.
- Fuel Up with a Complete Breakfast – Breakfast is key to jumpstart your energy for the day! Common breakfast foods like bagels or donuts may be convenient, but they are not a well-balanced breakfast. Bagels are a great source of carbohydrates, but eating a plain bagel alone for breakfast will leave you feeling hungry not too long after. To create a more satiating and balanced breakfast, try incorporating complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, and a high-quality protein. Consuming adequate protein at breakfast is important to help you feel satiated and maintain a stable blood sugar. If you really enjoy bagels, no need to nix them completely, just make some additions to make it more balanced. This could look like adding avocado and two eggs. The avocado provides a great source of monounsaturated fats, while the eggs provide a good source of complete protein.
- Incorporate Different Colors Into Your Meals/Snacks – By incorporating more colors into your meals and snacks, you are ensuring you are getting a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. Green foods like spinach and broccoli are high in vitamin K, fiber, and potassium. Orange foods like sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin B6, and manganese. Each color of produce has its own unique combination of vitamins and minerals, so make your goal to eat the colors of the rainbow. Instead of just eating a plain simple lasagna, add sautéed spinach, mushrooms, or zucchini. This not only adds color, vitamins, and minerals, but also fiber which can help you feel fuller longer.
- Meal Prep – Imagine you just had a long day at work and its 5:30 pm and you are on your way back home. You have absolutely nothing ready to eat at home and next thing you know you find yourself in the drive-thru lane. Or its 3 pm and you are starving for a snack, and you look in the fridge to find nothing, so you just grab that bag of potato chips. Everyone is busy, but meal prepping a few things one day a week can be a huge game changer. You don’t need to meal prep full meals if you don’t want to, but try to meal prep one or two proteins, grains, and veggies for the week. This could look like baking chicken breasts and/or ground beef, roasting up a batch of sweet potatoes and a pot of rice, and roasting some broccoli and cauliflower. Now you have some basic ingredients prepped and you can mix and match to make yummy nutritious meals in no time. You can also meal prep overnight oats or chia seed pudding for breakfast, so that is just one less thing you need to worry about on a busy morning.
- Stay Hydrated – Don’t underestimate the power of water. Water has so many important functions like regulating body temperature, helping with digestion, ridding excess waste through urination, carrying nutrients and oxygen throughout the body, and so much more. Staying hydrated can even help make your skin look better. A great tip is to pour a glass a glass of water first thing in the morning, before you reach for your cup of coffee then aim to drink at least 8 ounces of fluid every few hours. Consider keeping a 16-ounce bottle at your desk and sip on it throughout the day. By staying hydrated, you will have more energy and it may even prevent you from overeating.