If you started out the year determined to makeover your diet but find yourself caving in to your old habits already, there are simpler ways you can eat more healthily this year without doing a complete diet overhaul.
Instead, try small month-by-month resolutions that can give you a nutritional revamp by the time December rolls around again.
To introduce these mini goals, mark a date in your calendar at the start of every month so you can remind yourself to start committing to a new goal.
Plant-based diets can reduce your risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. But if giving up meat for greens isn’t achievable for you immediate, begin by making small switches in your meals.
For instance, swap meat with dense carbs like sweet potatoes or beans, fibrous vegetables like broccoli or cabbage, or replace it with protein-rich alternatives like nuts or chickpeas.
Fibre, which maintains bowel health, lowers cholesterol levels and controls blood sugar levels, can help to achieve a healthy weight. It keeps you full for a longer period of time, and can be found in fruits, vegetables, beans and legumes.
To boost your fibre intake, incorporate two servings of fruits and vegetables as snacks. Alternatively, you can also sprinkle some fibre-rich chia seeds onto your morning cereal or yoghurt, choose whole-wheat bread over white bread and bake with whole-wheat flour.
Protein is an essential building block for our skin, hair, bones and nails. It also helps to maintain muscle mass as we age, in turn keeping metabolism running. A meal with protein makes us feel fuller than a meal that with only of carb, so we end up consuming fewer calories overall.
To bump up your protein intake, aim to have at least three ounces (the size of a deck of cards) of fish, poultry or lean meat in every meal, or half a cup of beans or lentils.
Breakfast options can include egg whites, Greek yogurt, peanut butter on whole-wheat toast, or cottage cheese.
Yes, an appetiser can fill you up and help you consume fewer calories for your meal. Go for broth-based soups instead of “cream of” anything as the latter contains more saturated fat and calories.
Salads also helps to satiate because vegetables are high in fibre and water and loaded with plant nutrients.
But be sure not to overdo it with dressing or toppings like bacon bits or nuts that can raise your salad’s calorie count to a meal of burger and fries.
We all know a diet high in sugar can lead to a host of health issues, including Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and obesity.
But while the recommended sugar intake is a maximum of 25 grams (6 teaspoons) per day, the Health Promotion Board reported that the average intake of sugar in Singapore is a whopping 60 grams (about 12 teaspoons of sugar, where 6.5 teaspoons come from drinks, and 5.5 from food).
To slash sugars out of your diet, eliminate sugary beverages as well as sweetened breakfast cereals, candy, cookies, and dairy products with added sugars.
Foods such as tomato sauce, gravy, condiments, bread and salad dressings can also contain hidden sugars, so be sure to check the label when grocery shopping.
Staying hydrated can not only help to stave off hunger pangs, but also symptoms of dehydration such as dizziness, headaches and fatigue.
Aim to have the recommended eight glasses of water a day, along with water-rich fruits and vegetables. Tea, milk and coffee count as well, so it is possible to hit your daily fluids target.
Try making your own naturally-flavoured water by adding lemon, orange or cucumber slices.
Fill up a large water bottle to carry along with you, and try the Water Minder app that can help you track your water intake and remind you to drink at regular intervals so that you hit your hydration goals.
Mindful eating means being fully tuned in when eating without any distractions. It would require you to turn off your phone, iPad, TV and anything else that might prevent you from being completely present during your meals.
Eliminating these distractions can help us better savour our food and prevent us from making poor food choices.
Being mindful when eating also helps us pay greater attention to our hunger and fullness cues, which inform us when we’ve had enough to eat so we won’t overeat.