You are ready to kick off the New Year with new health goals. The first thing you are going to tackle is your eating. Maybe your healthy eating plans have gone by the wayside, so you are ready to start feeling better and get back on track. To help you out, here are our favorite healthy eating tips to get you started in 2021.
- Eat at home.
Eating at restaurants is convenient and fun. But regularly eating out is setting you up for a less than ideal diet. Yes, some restaurants have healthier options. But for the most part, the portions are too big and the calorie counts are through the roof.
Most restaurants serve 2-3x what would be considered a “normal portion” of food. Then there are also all the unknown ingredients and preparation methods. The same recipe at a restaurant could have double the calories compared to preparing it at home.
Not to mention that it is hard to resist temptations at a restaurant. You might find yourself sitting in front of a burger when you had planned on eating a salad.
Eating at home will save you money and calories. But what do you eat?
- Build a healthy eating plan.
starts with a plan. You cannot consistently make healthy choices if you are “winging” it at dinner every night. You will end up doing what is easiest and hitting the drive-thru.
Instead, make healthy eating plans every Sunday. Map out your meals for the week. This doesn’t have to be complicated. Use sites like Pinterest, All Recipes or other recipe websites to gather ideas.
Create a meal plan with at least four dinners and some room for leftovers. From your healthy eating plan, make a shopping list and hit the grocery store. Make sure you have everything you need on hand so you can stay on track with your new habits.
- Eat more plants.
A healthy diet does not have to be a vegetarian diet or exclude meat. But eating more plants can make your diet healthier. Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in nutrition. Eating more plants leaves less room for unhealthy foods in your diet.
While searching for recipes for the week, look for those that include a variety of plants. Find ways to add more fruits and veggies to the foods you already eat. Soups, casseroles and pasta dishes are a great place to sneak in a ton of vegetables with little effort. Top a sandwich high with your favorite vegetables. Munch on carrot sticks, celery and hummus or a piece of fruit as an afternoon snack.
4. Swap your drinks.
One of the best healthy eating tips you can implement right away is to choose healthier drinks. Sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, juice or specialty coffee drinks are loaded with calories with very little nutrition. When you drink these types of beverages, you still eat the same number of calories as you normally would and you inevitably overdo it on your calorie intake for the day.
Instead of sweetened options, consider drinking plain or flavored water. Add a lemon, some cucumber or strawberries to give it a bit of flavor. If you like drinks with carbonation, try one of the many zero-calorie flavored sparkling water drinks on the market.
Final Thoughts on Healthy Eating
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be complicated. You don’t have to eat foods you don’t like or cut out the foods you love. Focus on planning healthy meals so you don’t end up at the drive-thru after a crazy day. Prepare food ahead of time if you need to. Look for places to sneak in veggies and cut back on unnecessary sugar from beverages. Just taking a few simple steps toward a healthy eating plan will help you make 2021 your best year yet.