Give up on diets
Diets can be so seductive with their promises of weight loss, but the evidence is pretty clear. Diets just don’t work and can negatively affect your relationship with food. Instead of picking a weight-loss resolution, focus on health changes instead. There are lots of ways to put together a healthy diet, and if you’re confused about what to eat or need help transforming your relationship with food, consult a registered nutritionist or dietitian who specialises in these areas.
Try mindful eating
Mindful eating is a practice that can help transform your eating patterns. It’s very common to be on autopilot when you eat and not pay attention to if you’re actually hungry, if the food is satisfying you or to notice when you’re comfortably full. Mindful eating helps us to pay attention to our eating experience so we notice both our hunger/fullness cues and actually enjoy our eating experience rather than rushing through it. It also encourages curiosity over judgement. So instead of thinking ‘I am hopeless and have no self control for eating all that dessert when I didn’t feel like it’, you’d begin to work on changing those thoughts to something like ‘I ate more dessert than I intended today maybe it was due to stress. This feeling of being uncomfortable will pass’. It takes some practice, but it can have huge benefits.
Add variety to your diet
They say variety is the spice of life, and it also has its benefits when it comes to nutrition. Because different foods contain different vitamins, minerals, types of fibre and phytonutrients, eating a wide range of foods will mean you’ll also get a wide range of nutrients to encourage good health. To increase variety, mix up your meals and try new recipes, add different foods to your diet, use different herbs and spices in your cooking and increase the variety and colours of vegetables and fruit you eat.
Include prebiotic fibre for good gut health
When it comes to improving gut health, most people think about probiotics, but prebiotics are also key to a healthy balance of gut bacteria. Prebiotics are a type of fibre that stimulates the growth/activity of a range of ‘good’ bacteria in our large intestine, by providing the bacteria a food source. Diets high in these types of fibre are thought to benefit our digestive system, immunity and absorption of nutrients.
Foods that provide prebiotics include banana, onion, garlic, corn, lentils and other legumes, asparagus, leeks, oats, rye, wheat, cashews and pistachio nuts.
What are your goals for well-being in 2018?
Nicola Jackson is a NZ-registered nutritionist with a passion for helping people to develop a healthier relationship with food. Nicola’s blog Eat Well NZ tells you why you don’t need to quit foods, follow rules, or go to the extreme to be healthy. Her blog showcases a balanced approach to eating well, with plenty of healthy recipes and other tips on nutrition, fitness and wellness. You can also find Nicola on Facebook and Instagram.