Happy New Year!
This is where traditionally a nutrition post might encourage a “New Year, New You!” Actually there’s nothing wrong with the old/current you. In fact, the current version of you is so magnificent, you may just want to give yourself more of the love and attention you deserve. Without, of course, feeling stressed out by all the extra things you have resolved to do this January.
So with that in mind, I have devised a list of simple, efficient and cost effective ways to support your health and happiness:
Make up a daily snack box
So many of my clients and students describe how they struggle with snacking. Maybe you work in an environment where there are cakes and biscuits around all day. Or you need a sugar fix to see you through your afternoon energy dip. Or perhaps evenings are when your cravings kick in.
One approach that often works is to make up a daily snack box, with delicious and healthy snacks that you know you enjoy There’s no point having a snack box full of tasteless, drab food – in fact, that’s enough to drive you to straight to the chocolate bars and pasties!
So if you love houmous and celery sticks, or oat cakes and guacamole, then add those to your snack box.
If you prefer something sweeter, make some nut truffles or healthy flapjacks once a week – making them yourself is so easy, PLUS you get to dictate what goes in them. This makes them not just healthier (it’s shocking just how much sugar is in a lot of snack bars and energy balls), but also much tastier.
Batch cook something delicious at least once a month
It may be a new cottage pie recipe or an old favourite soup. Either way, cook a load of it, portion it up and stick it in the freezer. The couple of hours you take to do this will reap dividends in time saved on those tired evenings and busy weekends when you need to reach for a ready meal. But your ready meal will be so much more nutritious and flavoursome than anything you’ll get in a box. And you’ll feel so much better for it throughout the new year.
Order a weekly veg box
This will help you to:
- Eat more veg! Aim for at least 50% of each meal to be vegetables (not including potatoes, beans or lentils!). Plus try and have something green and leafy with every meal, like spinach, chard, watercress, cabbage or kale. My nutrition students think I have shares in a kale farm, but green leafy vegetables really are a true superfood, bursting with amazing nutrients.
- Eat more seasonally. If there are vegetables you don’t like, most veg box schemes will have a way to take that into account and bring you something else instead.
- Support local (and preferably organic) farms.
- Spend less time in the supermarket.
Savour at least the first 3 mouthfuls of everything you eat
This will help you to:
- Send signals to your gut that food is coming, and that it should prepare for digestion
- Tell your gut exactly which enzymes etc. you need for that particular meal/snack
- Appreciate how delicious and varied food can be
- Be a little more present in your body – which in turn helps to calm down stress processes in your body – which in turn may help to reduce disease processes
Spend a few minutes each day reflecting on all the amazing things your body does each second to keep you alive, active and alert
Breathing, thinking, moving, assessing and responding to different temperatures and light, making hormones and enzymes, directing the flow of these and nutrients to where they need to be, processing toxins and removing them from your vital organs, balancing bacteria, negotiating viruses and other microbes, releasing and storing energy and fluids according to your moment-by-moment needs, waking up, going to sleep, healing injuries, seeing, smelling, tasting, hearing, feeling, walking, talking, stretching, yawning… my goodness, each aspect of your body deserves an award for the wonders it performs in every moment.
It’s so easy to focus on the stuff it doesn’t do so well, or you don’t like. But however major that feels, it’s totally outweighed by everything it does so beautifully.
Remember also that it needs a lot of resources to do the best job it can. By resources I mean vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, protein, carbohydrates, fats and oils, light, water and more.
So nourish your body this new year, light yourself up, and be happy and well.