Dieting, weight loss, regular exercise, and workouts are common New Year’s resolutions. Unfortunately, most people fail in keeping them. Why is that?
One of the primary reasons is the drastic change to their normal lifestyle. Suddenly completely cutting off a whole food group or getting started with rigorous daily workouts when you’ve been mostly inactive is a surefire way to easily get exhausted and unmotivated.
It’s crucial to remember that good weight loss results don’t happen quickly. The key to sustainable weight loss is to create a new healthy lifestyle based on what you are currently doing. Instead of switching up everything, do one thing at a time to adjust your mind and body.
Healthy Shopping for Healthy Eating
In our bid to make 2022 our year of better health and weight loss, let’s start slow and tackle our eating habits first. As the saying goes — we are what we eat!
Before we develop better eating habits, though, we must first improve our grocery shopping. It helps to take a list to ensure we fill our carts or baskets with all-natural, good-for-us foods.
It’s good to swap out the contents of your fridge and pantry for better foods but do it slowly. Let yourself and the people you live with slowly adjust to the new food and ingredients.
Here’s our quick guide for healthy essential food you should be on the lookout for next time you go shopping.
Proteins: More than Just Meat
Proteins are necessary to build and maintain muscles and support various body functions. Red meat, poultry, and seafood are the go-to protein sources. Aside from that, there are also plenty of plant-based protein-rich foods.
Not all protein-rich foods are equal, though. If you’re serious about improving your nutrition and eating better, it’s best to go for lean proteins. Lean proteins contain less fat and calories.
The next time you go grocery shopping, add some of the following healthy, lean proteins instead of reaching for bacon or sausage.
- Beef, including cow, bison, and buffalo
- Poultry, such as chicken and turkey
- Dairy, such as cheese, cottage cheese, Greek yogurt
- Beans, lentils, and legumes
- Soybeans and soy-based food, like tempeh, tofu, or edamame
- Protein powder, such as whey, beef isolate, pea protein, or hemp protein.
Whole Grains and Other Healthy Carbs
Carbohydrates may have a bad reputation thanks to their sugar and calorie content but that’s exactly what your body needs. We need carbs for glucose, which supplies our body with the energy it needs.
Go for whole grains and other healthy carbs to help cut down on the sugar content. Whole grains have a milder effect on our blood sugar. When you make your shopping list, leave out the white rice and white bread in favor of the following whole grains and sources of healthy carbs.
- Whole intact grains such as brown rice, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, millet, quinoa, and steel-cut or sprouted oats
- Sweet potatoes
- Fresh fruit
- Frozen fruit
- Dried fruit (unsweetened)
Healthy Fats vs. Saturated or Trans Fats
Improving nutrition and adopting a healthier diet does not mean completely removing fats from our daily meals. This stays true even if our goal is weight loss.
Instead of removing fats and oils from our diet, we can switch them out for healthy or good ones. Unlike saturated or trans fats, healthy fats are good for our cholesterol, heart, blood pressure, and more.
Grab the following items to add healthy, minimally processed fats to your meals:
- Avocado and avocado oil
- Cold-pressed nut and seed oils
- Fresh coconut and coconut oil
- Nuts and seeds
- Nut and seed butter (no sugar added)
- Olives and extra virgin olive oil, aged cheese
- Higher-fat dairy
- Egg yolks
- Fattier cuts of beef and pork
- Fattier cuts of lamb
- Fattier cuts of poultry, or dark meat from the thighs and legs
- Fattier fish, such as salmon or herring
Pro-tip: When buying aged cheese, butter, cream, dairy, and eggs, try to get ones that come from grass-fed or pasture-raised animals as much as possible. Meanwhile, for fattier cuts of meat, your best option is to buy meat from wild-caught animals.
Fruits and Vegetables
All fruits and vegetables are good for your body. Our advice is to try for variety when picking your fruits and veggies so you get a wide range of vitamins and nutrients.
It’s also best to choose fruits with more color. Dark leafy greens, colorful spicy vegetables, and fresh berries are some must-buys when grocery shopping.
Building a Balanced and Healthy Plate
Once you’ve got your pantry stocked with healthy food, you can start building a balanced plate. Following a balanced diet plan is the key to living a healthier life. Aside from improving your nutrition intake, a balanced plate can positively affect your stress levels and sleep quality.
Here’s a simple guide to balancing the food you eat daily without resorting to measuring cups or scales. Make sure you also adjust the plate size based on your body size and daily activity.
Fill Half the Plate with Vegetables
What we need the most in our diet are vegetables. These are where our body gets its required vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients. When planning your meal for the week and portioning veggies, try to get a wide variety of colorful, non-starchy vegetables.
A Quarter Full of Proteins
A quarter or 1/4 of your plate is for protein-rich foods. This means meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. For vegetarian or vegan options, beans and soy-based foods like tofu or tempeh will ensure you get your required daily protein.
A Small Amount of Starch
Reserve 1/8 of your plate for starches or carbohydrates. This is where the whole grains, beans, and lentils you bought come in. Starchy foods also include vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and corn.
And a Portion of Healthy Fats
Another 1/8 of your plate is for healthy or unsaturated fats. This doesn’t mean simply pouring oil or fats into your meal. You can get your necessary healthy fats and oils by incorporating them into the dishes. Instead of using canola oil, you can use olive or avocado oil for frying and cooking.
Fruits, Beverages, and More
Make sure to also include fruits in your daily meals. Although not on your main plate, fresh or frozen fruits can be eaten as a dessert. Moreover, make sure you drink enough water each day. It’s also best to avoid sugary and high-calorie drinks as much as possible.
Start the Year Right with a Healthy Diet
When building a better, healthier diet plan, go slowly and try to enjoy each new change to your diet. Approach the endeavor with positivity! For this, it’s important to remove the words “cheat day” or “cheat meals” from your vocabulary.
With the right ingredients and better meal planning, you can easily create a filling and yummy meal that won’t leave you feeling cheated out of delicious, regular meals.
The start of a new year is the perfect time to kick off a new and healthier lifestyle. With the pandemic still ongoing, switching to a healthy lifestyle can not only strengthen our immune system but also provide us with a little more peace of mind.