5 Ways to Start the New Year On a Healthy Foot

January 7, 2016

Welcome 2016 with 5 easy changes you can make to stay healthy throughout the year – no resolutions required!

Start the New Year on a healthy foot with 5 easy changes you can make to stay healthy throughout the year – no resolutions required! @jlevinsonRD

Disclaimer: I am a paid consultant with Meta and was compensated for this post. Opinions are my own.

I’m not afraid to say it and I’ve said it before, New Year’s resolutions are overrated. I’m all for setting goals and taking steps to improve your health and lifestyle – in fact I encourage it! I just think the emphasis placed on resolutions at the start of a new year puts too much pressure on everyone and can sabotage our good intentions.

Instead of making resolutions, I implore you to look at your daily habits, your current lifestyle, and the time and energy you have in your day to determine what you can actively change or improve over the course of the next couple of weeks – not months or the whole year.

There are some changes everyone can make that don’t take a lot of time and for the most part require minimal effort. Some of these things you may already be doing, which is great – don’t stop. If they’re new to you, give them a try and if they work, great; if they don’t, cross it off the list and move on.

  1. Plan your meals for the week. It should come as no surprise this tops my list – after all, I share my Menu Plan Monday posts on a weekly basis, partly to keep myself organized and partly to inspire you to do the same. Set aside 15 to 20 minutes on your day off or once the kids are asleep and plan your menu based on what you already have on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer, what’s on sale at the supermarket, and what’s in season for produce. And be sure to include one or two nights off from cooking – you need a break to keep the momentum going!
  1. Improve your digestive health. Gut health is a hot topic these days thanks to up and coming research showing the impact of a healthy gut microbiome on weight and health conditions. Getting enough fiber is one way to ensure good digestive health and also has benefits for heart health and weight loss. If you don’t think you’re getting enough fiber from your diet, use a fiber supplement like Metamucil, which is made with from psyllium fiber and helps promote digestive health while also helping to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Other ways to keep your gut healthy are to consume probiotic-rich foods like yogurt, kefir, and fermented foods like kimchi, sauerkraut, and miso paste. (For some recipe inspiration, try these Miso-Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Root Veggies, which are made with miso paste and are absolutely delicious!)
  1. Focus on produce. Fruit and vegetables should make up half your plate, so why not put them in the center and build the rest of your meal around them. Having a hard time getting your daily servings in? Here are 7 Ways to Improve Your Fruit and Vegetable Intake.
  1. Forget about the diet of the week. Losing weight is the number one New Year’s resolution, so there’s no doubt you’ll see tweets and ads about the latest fad diet everywhere you look. But fad diets don’t work. Remember, diet doesn’t have to be a 4-letter word!
  1. Get back on track. If you decide to make resolutions, don’t be surprised if you break them here and there. After all, Super Bowl is only a few weeks away, followed by Valentine’s Day, and numerous holidays, birthdays, and other opportunities to celebrate throughout the year. Rather than having an all or nothing attitude, be prepared to get back on track with these 5 Ways to Handle Broken Resolutions.

What’s your opinion about New Year’s Resolutions?

How do you start the year on a healthy foot?

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  1. Oh my gosh! I love all of these tips! Yes to every one of them 🙂 I’m NOT about dieting… but I do love to fill up on produce! Thanks for the great tips! Here’s to a happy, healthy 2016!

  2. I’m with you on the resolutions. I stopped making official ones a couple years ago when I realized I was being unrealistic and trying to change things overnight that should’ve been long-term goals.
    I love that you suggest giving yourself a night or two off from cooking. I know if I try to cook something different every night of the week I get burned out pretty fast.

    1. Glad to know I’m in such good company Melanie! Making changes is hard – people need to give themselves time and space to make them. And yes, a night or two off from the kitchen is so important to maintaining the energy to keep up with home cooked meals on a regular basis!

  3. At my house we set realistic goals all the time, not just January 1st, and we stick to them by meal planning, allowing for some splurges and trying new things to make it interesting!

    1. So with you on setting goals all year long, not just the start of the new year! great to hear what works well for your family, Regan!

  4. Great tips, especially about NOT having an “all or nothing attitude” which I see with so many people-both friends & clients. I promote starting new healthy habits at any time of the year, and focusing on only 1 or 2 at a time. Right now, I am focusing on weight training 2-3 times a week (something I used to to, but put on the back burner last year), and, a new one for me, meditating 5+ minutes, 5 or more times a week. It’s too early to tell if my meditation habit will stick or not, but, believe it or not, I think I already feel a little less stressed, just from my first week-positive reinforcement 🙂

    1. Thanks EA! I’m with you about people setting goals throughout the year! Your goals sound great and I’m happy things are already going well! Keep up the good work!