The days leading up to the new year are always bittersweet. I reflect on the year I had and, like many, pledge some resolutions for the year ahead. I have been spending my last week of 2014 in sunny (albeit chilly) Arizona with my family. We have been hiking, eating and all around having a really wonderful time. I truly love spending New Year’s Eve with my family. I think partying on NYE is kinda over-rated and much more prefer ringing in the new year with a good movie and delicious dinner. As I look towards 2015, I am resolving to stress less and unplug more.
A lot of people commit to healthier eating and more activity but too often that means: fad diets, excessive cardio and “all or nothing” scenarios. So what happens? It lasts for a day, a week or if you’re lucky a few weeks until you “fall off the wagon” and then commit to starting again. That’s not going to cut it, now is it? Nope, it’s not.
If one of your resolutions means improving your diet and nutrition, it is so important to make small and attainable changes. It might not seem like a lot at first, but these changes are ones that will last. Focusing on a nourishing, balanced approach to food won’t cause you to yo-yo and fall off of any wagons:
- Eat plenty of colorful veggies, protein and healthy fats – don’t forget about those few squares of dark chocolate, dried fruit or your favorite treat
- Move your body in fun ways that you enjoy – don’t drag yourself to the gym if you hate it (dance in-front of the mirror!) or forget to rest
Remember to keep things simple, be prepared and make the best choices that you can.
1. Clean-out your fridge and pantry.
First, you need to do a kitchen clean-out: throw away the junk, processed food and all around crap. Yup, the stuff in the colorful packages with all those crazy sounding ingredients that are not food at all. You certainly don’t need to go “cold turkey” (that could cause some serious sugar withdrawal) but make small steps to cleaning out the “Franken-Food” in your life.
2. Make a plan.
Now that the not-so-good-for-you food is gone, it’s time to devise a plan of attack. Making a flexible meal plan every week will allow you to have a good idea of what food you need to buy and prepare. Of course sometimes things change, but having a solid foundation is vital. I used to write them out (and post them on the blog) but now a stickie note does the trick for me.
Once you have a plan of attack in place, it’s time to re-stock your pretty bare kitchen. Make a list and hit the grocery store or farmer’s market (or both!) to stock up on local, organic produce, properly raised meat, fish and poultry, nuts, seeds, oils, grains, dark chocolate and gluten-free flours to bake with. Remember: if you keep good food in your fridge, you will eat good food. [Source]
So you have all this delicious and nutritious food, now what? Time to prepare some of it. Preparing food in advance plays a major role in me eating well (and saving time). It’s a good idea to set aside a few hours a week, perhaps a Sunday morning or another evening, to do some food prep – preparing food in advance. You can wash and chop veggies, make a big batch of soup, hard-boil eggs or bake some banana muffins. When things are inevitably busy, you will feel great seeing you have pre-chopped veggies in the fridge.
5. Keep it simple.
You do not need to spend hours in the kitchen – you don’t have the time or energy. Cooking real and amazing food does not have to be complicated. I am not a gourmet chef or fancy baker at all: keep it simple. Plan your meals based on a protein source (beef, fish, poultry, beans, legumes), leafy greens (spinach, kale, arugula, Swiss chard), healthy fats (olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, olives, nuts, seeds) and a bit of starch (rice, quinoa, potatoes, squash).
REMEMBER: Do the best that you can.
Every step counts and none are too little. Start where you can, when you can and do the best you can.
Wishing you a very happy and healthy new year! Cheers to 2015.
Questions of the day…
What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions for 2015?
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