It’s common for the coming of the New Year to inspire reflections on your personal health, and more specifically on eating healthier. A recent survey of 1,500 Americans conducted by Statista found that nearly 40% of people made a New Year’s resolution for 2021 that centered on improving their diet.
If you’re thinking about making a positive change with what you eat in 2022, you’re not alone! Like any other kind of resolution, there are a few simple practices you can follow to help you create achievable eating goals, avoid diet burnout, and sustain your healthy lifestyle into the future.
Why healthy eating matters
Healthy eating habits are a gift that keeps on giving. Your body will respond in numerous (and sometimes surprising!) ways to a continued diet of healthy foods. If you think of your body as a machine, and food as the fuel that powers it, it’s easy to see what a difference quality food can make in overall performance.
Most people have the basic understanding that healthy eating contributes to maintaining a healthy weight. But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention make it abundantly clear that good eating habits are a fundamental aspect of human health and longevity. For example, you might not be aware that your diet directly impacts the health of your skin, teeth, and eyes. Other benefits of healthy eating include:
- Lower risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
- Stronger bones
- A boost to your immunity system
- Better digestive system function
- Improved muscle development
If you have a family, your healthy eating habits will have a strong influence on your children’s diet, too. Children experience all the same benefits of healthy eating as adults, plus many advantages related to their growth, like healthy brain development.
What’s more, all of these physical improvements are sure to have a profoundly positive influence on your overall mental health.
Simple ways to eat healthier and stick to your plan
Healthy diets come in all shapes and sizes. They vary from person to person because everyone has different needs. Here are just a few starting points you can adapt to fit your goals:
Do some research on healthy meals and diets
Saying you’re going to eat healthier is one thing, but figuring out how you’re going to eat healthier is the most important first step. If you want to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet, you could look up different kinds of salads that sound appealing to you, or even vegetable pasta alternatives like spaghetti squash. If you’re trying to cut out certain foods like chocolate, you could research how to satisfy that chocolate craving with avocados, nuts, and healthy fats, such as olive oil.
Set realistic expectations and achievable goals
These are the building blocks of any sustainable lifestyle change. If your goal is to get a six-pack by February, you’re going to have a bad time, and probably struggle to stay motivated. Instead, focus on small steps, like limiting your ice cream intake to once a week or packing a nutritious lunch for work.
Keep a food diary
It may feel unfamiliar and tedious at first, but logging everything you eat for future reference can really put into perspective where your biggest eating challenges lie.
Cook at home more frequently
When you order takeout, it’s much more difficult to know exactly what’s going into your meal. This can be a big obstacle if you’re trying to limit your sodium or sugar intake. Plus, portion control is harder to manage when a restaurant is deciding the size of each dish.
Don’t do it alone
People who take part in a shared public goal often perform better in their New Year’s resolutions. When making a big change to your eating habits, having a community that understands you, supports you, and holds you accountable is a recipe (pardon the pun) for success.
With Meetup, you can learn how to cook healthy meals from the Maghreb region of Africa, learn how to Eat Like A Fish by reading Bren Smith’s groundbreaking book, attend a full-course vegan dinner designed by a certified nutritionist, join a group of comrades giving up alcohol for the month of January, and so much more. If you have a special idea for how to achieve healthy eating and you want to invite others to join your nutrition journey, you can easily create your own Meetup group.
Last modified on April 5, 2022