Making New Year’s resolutions is easy, but it’s much more difficult to stick to them once the excitement of the holiday festivities has worn off. Here to help are some smart tips to seamlessly incorporate healthful eating in 2016.
Stock a Smart Pantry
The first step to eating healthfully is having good-for-you ingredients in your pantry. With a well-stocked pantry, you’ll have healthful ingredients on hand to anchor a meal or flavor a dish at the last minute. For example, pick up quinoa and lentils from the bulk bin; both cook in under 30 minutes (which can happen while a chicken roasts in the oven). Nuts and dried fruits make great salad toppers, small snacks, or hot cereal stir-ins. Boxed low-sodium stocks plus canned no-salt-added beans and tomatoes are worth the pantry real estate for their convenience to pull off wholesome soups or homemade marinara. If you’re just starting, check out this video, which gives ideas to healthfully overhaul your pantry staples.
Now that your pantry is stocked, you can get cooking. Having a few easy, good-for-you, good-tasting recipes in your arsenal is also key to sticking to those resolutions. Whether your goal is to start each day with breakfast (such as an easy smoothie or overnight oats) or to incorporate a vegetable at each meal, start with fuss-free recipes that will fit your lifestyle and your goal. (Save the more ambitious recipes for the weekend, if you like.) A pita sandwich can use veggies and hummus for an on-the-go-lunch while dinner can be simple sautéed chicken with a zesty broccoli salad and whole-grain roll on the side. Need more ideas? Check out these healthy recipes for meal options all through the day, including snacks and sides.
Add Flavor Naturally
Take your cooking to the next level when you rely on smart flavor boosters that minimize fat and sodium. Seasonings can be applied before, during or after cooking to amp up flavor. Stir together ground spices to make your own sodium-free spice blends for salmon or flank steak. A simple marinade infuses meats and poultry with flavor without going overboard on calories and sodium. Mix grated citrus zest, fresh herbs, and black pepper and spread on meat about 30 minutes to an hour before cooking to up the flavor ante. And after cooking, try a little acid in the form of lemon juice or red wine vinegar to add zip to whole grains or sautéed greens. A good garnish, such as a sprinkling of chives, parsley, or basil or lemon zest delivers bright flavor without any salt, sugar or fat.
Make and Follow a Meal Plan
You’ve resolved to eat better, so you probably need a game plan for success. That’s when a meal plan can help avoid take-out dinners or lunches that can pile on unsatisfying calories or sodium. With meal and snack ideas included, a meal plan, such as this healthy comfort food one, does all the thinking for you to go from resolution to reality. Check out our six healthy eating meal plans and kick start your planning today!
Watch a Video to Cook Better
Maybe your goal is to cook more healthy recipes at home, but your kitchen skills are a little rusty. Want to learn how to steam fry onions or how to press tofu? We’ve got a video for that! Watching a quick video can give you the confidence you need to step in the kitchen and conquer those good-for-you recipes.
Other Wellness Words of Advice
Healthful eating is just one part of feeling good and being well. Meditate or carve out some sensory-free time daily (i.e. turn off your phone), sit up straight, stretch, get some fresh air, read a good book, take a bath or engage in a hobby for some other easy feel-good activities.
What are your resolutions, and what’s your plan to achieve them?