Sometimes health advice is all about the don’ts. Don’t eat sugar. Don’t eat white bread. It can be helpful to flip the format and think about what you could be adding rather than subtracting to be healthier.
Here’s 16 ways you can make this year a healthier year for you.
1. Move more often. If you’re in a desk job, get up approximately once an hour and walk around the office. It seems, for optimal health, we need more than just a workout, we need to avoid being sedentary for extended periods of time as well.
2. Add an extra serve of vegetables into your daily diet.
3. Experiment with herbs and spices in your cooking. Not only do they add flavour, they provide beneficial phytochemicals which are great for our health. Phytochemicals are beneficial plant based compounds that are one of the reasons why fruit, vegetables and other plant based foods are so good for our health.
4. Learn to eat mindfully.
5. Listen to your hunger and fullness signals. This is your body’s inbuilt way of telling you when to eat and when to stop. Some non hungry eating is normal, but if non hungry eating is making up a significant amount of what you eat, it’s worthwhile looking at the reasons why so you can address them.
6. Add more variety to your diet. Try new recipes. Go for the rainbow with fruits and vegetables, as different colours provide different vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals.
7. Include fermented foods in your diet. These provide beneficial probiotic bacteria which promote a healthy digestive system and immune function.
8. Get quality nutrition advice. Just because you read it on the internet, doesn’t mean it’s correct. Read websites written by appropriately qualified people or, better yet, get some personal advice from a dietitian or registered nutritionist.
9. Learn balance. Ditch diets and food rules.
10. Eat fish twice a week, including at least one serve of oily fish to provide you with omega 3 fats. If you’re not into seafood, you might like to consider a good quality omega 3 supplement. Talk to your GP first if you’re on medications.
11. Add legumes to your diet. They’re high in prebiotic fibre which provides a food source for the good bacteria in your gut.
12. Find your own version of healthy. Diet trends come and go. You’re here to stay for a while yet. No matter what some people say, there IS more than one healthy way to eat.
13. Eat healthy foods you enjoy. There’s no point forcing down a green smoothie you hate as it’s unlikely you’ll keep up this habit. If your smoothie doesn’t contain a vegetable, it’s not a big deal. Get that vegetable serve another time during the day.
14. Be body positive. Self-criticism and hate isn’t conducive to good health. Switch your talk. Be positive about the things you like about your body and yourself.
15. Know a healthy diet has room for the foods you love. Realise a slice of cake or chocolate is completely fine to eat sometimes. Eat these slowly with pleasure, not guilt. Guilt around food isn’t healthy.
16. Try deep belly breathing and take time out from the business of life to do the things you love. This is great for managing stress.