Monday, January 24, 2011
New Year diet resolutions ~
1. I will go on a diet
Diets begun in the new year are often started with the aim of losing weight very quickly. Severe crash diets can be hard to stick to and, in the long-term, chances are that you'll end up putting the weight back on. The best way to maintain a healthy weight is to combine healthier eating with regular exercise.
Some easy ways to improve your diet include:
Base your meals on starchy foods, such as bread, pasta and potatoes, wholegrain varieties where possible. Cut down on high-fat and processed foods, and choose low-fat dairy products. Aim to eat more fruit and vegetables, at least five portions a day. Choose lean cuts of meat and avoid eating fat on meat.
2. I will do more exercise
Being physically active is one of the best ways to help you lose weight and keep it off. Lots of people have very good intentions at the start of the year and slog it out in the gym for the first two weeks of January, only to spend the rest of the year on the sofa. You're more likely to stick to an activity if you enjoy it, so try going for a swim, a brisk walk or a bike ride, or join an exercise or dance class. Whatever you do, try to do it regularly.
3. I will eat more fruit and veg
Having at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg each day has lots of health benefits, including reducing your chances of developing heart disease and some types of cancer.
Some simple ways to increase your fruit and veg intake are:
Drink a glass of fruit juice at breakfast. Add some sliced banana or raisins to your breakfast cereal. Keep some fruit handy for a mid-morning snack. Add tomato or lettuce to sandwiches. Eat fruit salad for dessert. Add vegetables to curries, casseroles and pasta sauces. Serve an extra vegetable or side salad with a meal.
4. I will cut out fat from my diet
You shouldn't try to avoid all fat, because everyone needs some fat in their diet to be healthy. Instead, try to reduce the amount of foods you eat that contain saturated fats and replace them with unsaturated fats. Saturated fats, which can raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease, can be found in cheese, butter, pastry, biscuits and cakes. Unsaturated fats can be found in olive and sunflower oils, nuts and oily fish.
5. I will stop adding salt to foods
Too much salt can raise blood pressure and increase the risk of heart disease and strokes. It is a good idea to limit using salt at the table or during cooking, but also get in the habit of checking food labels, as many processed foods are high in salt. Adults should try to eat no more than 2.5g sodium (6g salt) each day.
6. I will cut out sugar
Cutting out all sugar almost impossible to stick to, as natural sugars can be found in foods such as fruit and vegetables. However, it is a good idea to cut down on sugary processed foods, such as sweets, biscuits and cakes, as well as fizzy drinks. Reduce the amount of sugar you add to hot drinks until you can do without it altogether.
7. I will eat more fish
Both white fish (such as haddock, plaice, halibut and sole) and oily fish (such as sardines, salmon, trout, pilchards and mackerel) are valuable sources of protein, vitamins and minerals. You should aim to eat at least two servings of fish a week, including one serving of oily fish. Oily fish contain omega 3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, which can help prevent coronary heart disease.
8. I will stop cutting out breakfast
Research shows that eating breakfast can actually help you maintain a healthy body weight, which is probably because, if you don't have breakfast, you're more likely to get hungry before lunch and snack on fatty, sugary foods. A healthy breakfast, such as wholegrain toast or cereal with fruit, will supply you with an energy boost, as well as essential vitamins and minerals.
9. I will take vitamin supplements regularly
Most people don't need to take vitamin supplements, because they can get all the nutrients they need from a healthy balanced diet. And popping pills can't give you the same benefits as eating well. Evidence suggests that fruit and vegetables are good for you, not just because of the individual vitamins and minerals they contain, but because of the combination of different nutrients and fibre.
10. I will save cash by taking a packed lunch to work
This resolution requires some organisation! But it can be much cheaper than going to the sandwich shop every day and healthier, too, because you have more control over what goes into your lunch.
Some tips to make packed lunches more interesting:
Try using different types of bread, such as brown bread with added nuts or seeds, rye bread, bagels, tortilla wraps or wholemeal pitta bread. Opt for healthy fillings such as ham, beef and turkey, skinless chicken, canned sardines or salmon, hard-boiled egg, Edam, mozzarella and low-fat cream cheese. Cook extra pasta or rice at dinner the night before and use it to make a substantial salad by adding things like tuna, cooked chicken, sweetcorn, peppers, carrot slivers and tomatoes. Use butter and mayonnaise sparingly, and opt for low-fat versions.