The health habits to focus on in 2020
It may come as a surprise to hear that it is not the one off treats and extras that undermine your diet. Rather building a strong diet platform comes down to establishing a strong set of food habits that become part of your day to day life without you even noticing.
Here are some of the key health habits to commit to in 2020 to help you not only keep your weight under control, but to give yourself a strong nutrition platform.
Plan your dinners
Planning is the key to dietary success – it comes down to having the foods on hand you need to eat well most of the time. It is when we find ourselves busy, and without healthy foods on hand that we revert to takeaway and fast foods that contain significantly more calories than foods we prepare at home.
The simple habit of scheduling time to plan your evening meal for at least a couple of nights each week ensures that no matter what happens in your day, you know what you will be eating that night. Even better, commit to preparing an extra meal or two each week to freeze and have later in the week. Other options include ordering a few meals online to keep in the fridge or freezer; having a big cook up once each week to prepare all the meals for the week ahead and cooking a batch of soup each week to add to chicken or grilled fish for a quick and easy dinner that takes just a few minutes to prepare.
Pack your lunch the night before
When we purchase our lunch away from home – at a food court, café or fast food outlet we are going to consume double the number of calories than we would consume if we prepared our lunch at home. A nutritionally balanced lunch that contains some wholegrain carbohydrates for energy; lean protein for fullness and plenty of salad and vegetables will also help to keep you full throughout the afternoon and less likely to be tempted by sugary treats late in the day.
The great thing about packing your lunch the night before it that naturally aligns with using leftovers with dinner as a healthy, filling lunch option for next day. Not only are you likely to eat less at dinner this way, but you will also have a healthy lunch to look forward to without spending any more money on lunch.
Ordering veges online
We all need to eat more salad and vegetables but it can be a chore keeping a stock of fresh foods on hand when you find yourself in and out of the house regularly. The quality and availability of fresh produce can also vary depending on when and where you shop each day. To avoid this hassle one of the easiest things you can do is get into the habit of having fresh produce regularly delivered to your home or workplace. This not only means that you do not need to worry about getting to the shops but it supports meal planning as you work to incorporate the fresh produce into your meals each week.
Be strict for some of the week
Enjoying good food is one of life’s most simple pleasures which at times will mean eating foods that aren’t necessarily healthy or good for us. At times it will also mean that we end up eating too much, especially as it is much easier to overeat than it is to undereat.
The easiest way to achieve dietary balance when it comes to calories in versus calories out is to keep your diet relatively strict and structured for some days of the week so you can have a little more freedom on others. For some people this may mean keeping things strict during the weekdays before relaxing a little on weekends, while for others it may mean being strict during the day and then loosening up a little at night. Every person will be different but finding the balance that works for you will allow you to still enjoy your favourite foods at times, while still remaining in control of you weight.
Focus on movement
In an ideal world we would all exercise regularly but the truth is many of us are struggling to even get a minimum amount of exercise into our already frantic schedules. Primarily the issue for most of us is that we spend much of our lives sitting down, which has dire consequences for our metabolism long term. To help counteract this, one of the simplest things we can do each and every day is just move more – make a concerted effort to get our steps up every single day as part of our regular routine.
Monitoring the number of steps we take is the easiest way to remind ourselves that we do need to walk more; to get out at lunchtime or go for a short walk when time permits. In the absence of exercise, regular movement is the next best thing.