Food tips, myths and facts, Managing weight

Start 2017 with the best diet

Image credit: iStock/gpointstudio

After the excesses of Christmas, you might be thinking about what you can do to ensure you start the year off right. While heading to the gym more is a great way to improve your fitness levels, altering your diet is one of the biggest changes you can make this New Year.

This doesn’t mean living off salad or totally giving up everything you love, though. Instead, you need to think about what changes you can make to your routine and how to balance healthy foods with the treats you enjoy.

To help you start off the new year on the foot, here are some ways you can ensure you have the best diet possible in 2017, whether you want to lose weight or just be healthier:

Three square meals

One of the most important things you need to do is ensure you get three square meals a day, as well as snacks. A healthy diet doesn’t necessarily mean eating less, so ensure you’re not skipping meals, no matter how busy you are.

Many of us end up not having a proper breakfast, instead opting for a larger lunch or dinner. However, your breakfast sets you up for the rest of the day, enables you to concentrate better and stops you grabbing unhealthy snacks when you start to get hungry.

Get yourself into a good routine with you meals, ensuring you have time for a good breakfast and eat lunch and dinner at similar times every day.

Eat more vegetables

Not only do vegetables provide you with nutrients and healthy energy, they can also be used instead of unhealthy ingredients. This allows you to eat the meals you love but with fewer calories.

Try making pasta and noodles with vegetables like courgettes or sweet potato and rice with cauliflower. This will result in delicious and healthy meals with fewer carbs that are also easier to cook.

You can also use veggies to make desserts, helping satisfy your sweet tooth. Rich chocolate mousse can be made with avocado, sweet potatoes make great brownies and courgettes can be used in cake. This will help you avoid slipping and eating unhealthy puddings.

It is also a good idea to use vegetables as meal fillers, which will help bulk out recipes, add more flavour and ensure you get your five a day. Try cubing different vegetables and adding them to curries, casseroles and pasta dishes, which will also make each meal go further.

Plan your meals

Planning your meals can mean the difference between a healthy dinner and calling your local takeaway. If you know what you’re going to cook each day, it means you can ensure you have all the ingredients you need and that you are prepared to cook after a day at work.

This is a good habit to get into and can help you reduce the cost of your weekly grocery shop, as well as allow you to stick to a healthy diet. Balance the meals you plan with your exercise routine to make sure your body is getting all the nutrients it needs, as well as with your daily schedule so you aren’t cooking something complicated when you are getting home late.

Make ahead food

One thing that can make it really hard to stick to a healthy diet is time. We often don’t get enough time in the day to whip up three healthy meals, which can mean we end up eating on the go. However, cooking things ahead of time can make a huge difference.

Try preparing full meals for the week ahead or getting the ingredients ready so you can simply throw them into a pan or onto a baking tray. Spending your Sunday cooking things up can make a huge difference to the rest of your week.

Try making a week’s worth of muffin omelettes, which can be frozen and defrosted the night before so you have one ready for breakfast each day. You can also make ahead your lunches so they can be grabbed out of the fridge and batch cook meals for dinner so your freezer is chock full of healthy food that can be prepared in minutes.

Check menus before booking

You don’t need to skip going out for dinner just to stay healthy. We all love having a break from the kitchen and enjoy being social, so you can still have a meal out every now and then.

However, restaurant meals aren’t always the best options as they are made with rich ingredients like butter and cream, which soon make the calories add up. This is why it is a good idea to have a look at restaurant menus before you book a table or decide where you’re going.

This will allow you to check there is something that fits with your healthy eating plan – or isn’t too far removed from it – so you can have a fun dinner out that isn’t too bad for you. Just remember that some meals have hidden calories, so allow for this.

Each of these tips could help you start eating healthier, as well as maintain a good diet for the entire year.


Related posts:

Foods to help boost your immune system

When should you be eating fruit?

Superfoods you need to add to your diet