New Year, New You
Are you ready for a healthier you?
New Year’s resolutions can vary from trying something new, to swapping your old habits for better ones, to changing your lifestyle completely!
They can often start off well but end up a bit abandoned. Thinking about some realistic, long-term lifestyle changes may be a good option. Why not look at some of the suggestions below and pick some that you could fit into your lifestyle!
- Be snack savvy – there’s no reason why snacks cannot be incorporated into a healthy diet! But it’s important to avoid having too many snacks that are low in essential nutrients and high in fat, salt and sugar. Try swapping fried crisps, chocolate and sweets for fruit, vegetable sticks, low-fat yogurts, unsalted nuts, wholegrain crispbreads, oatcakes or rice cakes with low-fat dips or houmous to keep you going between meals.
- Eat more plants - incorporate some plant-based protein into your day (such as beans, peas, lentils, tofu, nuts or seeds). Why not try swapping some or all the meat for pulses in traditional dishes – for example, chickpeas in a curry, lentils in a bolognese or mixed beans in a chilli for a change!
- Hooray to 5 A DAY! - try to get your 5 A DAY of a variety of different types and colours of fruit and vegetables. They contain different amounts and types of essential nutrients. Why not challenge yourself to aim for three different colours each day!
- Get some fibre – could you swap your usual breakfast for higher fibre versions? Or try a new wholegrain food? There are plenty to choose from like wholemeal pitta, wraps or bagels, brown rice, oats, barley, quinoa, buckwheat, wholegrain spelt pasta, bulgur wheat or plain popcorn! Having more fibre in our diets can help to keep our digestive systems healthy and benefit our long-term health. We should be aiming for 30g a day!
- If you are looking to lose some weight - keeping the energy density (calories per gram) of your diet low can be helpful. Eating low energy density foods like fruit, vegetables, soups and fibre-rich foods, means you can eat more and still lose weight. Try and bulk out your meals with vegetables and increase the fibre content by adding wholegrains, beans or pulses.
- Just add water – good hydration is essential to keep your body and mind working their best. You should be drinking 6-8 (200ml) glasses of non-alcoholic fluids per day to stay hydrated. Water is a great choice, but other fluids like tea, coffee, unsweetened fruit juices and soft drinks also count. Sugar-sweetened beverages should be minimised, and fruit juices and smoothies should be limited to a total of 150ml per day. It’s best to avoid having too many sugary or alcoholic drinks. For more information see our hydration guide.
- Screen breaks - Christmas time can involve lots of seated screen time and sitting down uses very little energy! Why not try and reduce this by setting yourself a challenge, for example, half the time you would usually spend in front of the screen each day and stick to it!
- Move more and try something new - why not get moving and make activity social by going for a walk with friends or family. Or you could start a new hobby! Visit your local leisure centre to see if they have swimming clubs, or try a kayak, rowing or football club! Alternatively, find a climbing wall nearby, or start a yoga or dance class! You could even join a community garden or just offer to help your neighbour out with their shopping or dog walking.
- Step it up - did you know that 30 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity on at least five days a week helps to prevent and manage over 20 health conditions, including heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, some cancers, obesity and mental health problems. We all know we should be more active, but if you feel unfit and the thought of jogging around the park or joining the January masses in the gym is not for you, try building up your activity levels slowly with moderate exercise like brisk walking or cycling. As you start to feel fitter, increase the amount and level of the activity you do and try to build up to 30 minutes on most days of the week.
Calories used based on
30 minutes of activity*
Activity burns around the
|Two vegetable spring rolls
|Two small sausage rolls
|Two pigs in blankets
|Mowing the lawn
|A large gin and tonic
|Painting and decorating
|A chocolate digestive biscuit
|Walking, brisk (4mph)
|Three mint chocolate thins
|1/4 pot sour cream and chive dip
|Six cheese straws
|Aerobic dancing (such as Zumba)
|Two glasses of champagne
|Swimming (medium speed)
|A luxury mince pie
|Portion of Christmas pudding
* Based on a person of 60kg. The number of calories burned doing a certain physical activity will vary depending on factors such as weight and age.
New Year, New You – the British Nutrition Foundation can help!
In the New Year, why not have a look at our ‘Try, Swap, Change’ planner to help you TRY something new, SWAP your old habits for better ones and CHANGE your lifestyle!
Last reviewed December 2018.