Did you indulge a little too much over the holidays? Do you have lofty health resolutions for the new year? Many people put a lot of pressure on themselves with insurmountable goals. If you want to get back on track in 2017, why don’t you try incorporating healthy habits little by little into your daily routine? The small daily habits will eventually add up to big, healthy results!
Here are 17 ways to clean up your diet so you can get off to a good, healthy start in 2017:
1.) Limit processed/packaged foods
Many processed products contain chemicals that don't really count as food, and they are not what your body really wants in order to perform optimally. Instead, buy whole foods like carrots, celery, cucumber, fruits, nuts and seeds, and organic, pastured cheeses for snacks. Try it for a week. You’ll find you can reprogram your body to crave good foods instead of the processed stuff.
2.) Add more fruits and vegetables
See if you can incorporate at least 3 servings of vegetables and 2 servings of fruit per day. Green leafy veggies and berries are excellent choices and they’re packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
3.) Drink enough water
Fatigue and headaches are often a sign of dehydration. Do you drink enough water? A rule of thumb is half your weight in ounces of water per day. Try drinking a glass of water first thing in the morning, to jumpstart your day.
4.) Reduce sugar
Sugar hides everywhere, in cereals, processed foods, sauces, dressings, and of course the sweet snacks. Try to limit these, and don’t add sugar to your foods. Try natural sweeteners like stevia if necessary.
5.) Check food labels
Try to stay away from artificial colorings, flavorings, MSG and any other ingredients you can’t pronounce. Those chemicals aren’t real food. Carbohydrates and sugars put on the pounds so be a savvy shopper and limit processed foods that often are higher in carbs.
6.) Eliminate refined vegetable oils
Try not to use highly refined vegetable oils like corn and canola. These can be rancid and create trans fats which are detrimental to health. Stick to healthier oils such as extra-virgin olive oil, avocado oil and coconut oil.
7.) Add good fats
Avocado, coconut oil, butter and other clean animal fats are back in fashion. Don’t be afraid of adding some to your daily diet. Remember, your brain and neurons are covered in fats, so we need our daily dose to function optimally.
8.) Eat organic
Millions of tons of pesticides and herbicides are doused on our food crops every year. Our bodies are amazing, and can detox much of the toxins we put in ourselves. But scientists tell us that now we are overloading our body to the point where we can’t detox as well, which sets us up for chronic disease. When you can, try to choose organic meats, dairy and veggies.
9.) Include healthy proteins
Good quality protein is necessary for optimal growth and repair in our body. Choosing healthy sources of protein will make us healthy, too. Grass-fed and pasture-raised meats, dairy and eggs, as well as wild-caught fish, are good choices.
10.) Reduce refined carbohydrates
Refined carbohydrates in the form of refined grains, are found in most processed foods and snacks. If you choose grains, choose whole grains such as rice and oatmeal.
11.) Substitute veggies and fruit for processed carbs
Instead of cookies, chips, and other baked products with empty carbs, have fresh vegetables and fruits on hand. Many grocery stores offer veggies and fruits that are pre-cut for convenience. They go great with dips, salsas and nut butters.
12.) Limit alcohol
Alcohol contains carbs, so just be careful. Health professionals recommend no more than two per day for men and one per day for women.
13.) Shop the perimeter of the grocery store
The produce, meat and dairy sections are usually around the perimeter of most grocery stores. Stick to these areas and limit the interior isles that contain the more processed, boxed foods. Foods with no ingredient labels (aka fruits, vegetables, nuts, beans, eggs, meat) are better for you.
14.) Replace high-calorie drinks with tea and flavored water
Most people don’t drink enough water, so see if you can switch out some of the calorie-dense, nutrient-poor drinks for good, clean water. Add a squeeze of lemon, lime or orange for a flavor boost. Herb teas are a healthy alternative to sugary drinks as well. You’ll save some money, to boot!
15.) Have healthy snacks on hand
Vegetables, fruits, cheeses, hummus, avocado, salsa, nuts, nut butters, healthy meats or cold cuts, and hard-boiled eggs are great for munching, and perfect substitutions for the high-carb snacks. If you crave a “carby” crunch, try veggie chips like sweet potato chips.
16.) Prepare breakfast and lunch the night before
If you plan in advance, you’ll be more likely to stick to a healthy regimen. Make your lunch the night before, and try to get your breakfast ingredients ready. Remember, dinner leftovers make great lunches.
17.) Cook more meals at home
Cooking at home guarantees you know exactly what you’re eating. By making it a family affair, it will be more enjoyable and healthy for everyone. If you shop, plan and cook your own meals, you will not only be eating fresher, healthier food, but you will save money!