The New Year is here, a time of reflection and of course, those infamous resolutions. Going full steam ahead with major lifestyle changes or unrealistic goals is a prime reason New Year’s resolutions don’t often stick. Instead, try a new (new) year approach to wellness by incorporating some simple substitutions to improve overall wellness-changes that will last well beyond the end of January.
By starting with small substitutions for your everyday foods and regular activities you can create lasting change. Here are 10 simple substitutions for a healthier life to get you started:
- Out with the white: start by swapping out ‘white’ foods like rice, bread, pasta, and sugar for the darker, whole food, more nutrient-dense versions like whole grain bread, whole grain pasta, brown rice, and raw sugar instead of refined.
- Swap in some water: try replacing at least one of your daily sweetened beverages with a glass of water. You can also start slowly with a 50/50 approach by at least cutting your drink with water.
- Think sweet: potatoes, that is. Try substituting white potatoes with vitamin A rich sweet potatoes.
- Get greener: if your lettuce is lacking nutrients, slowly add in some greenery. Iceberg lettuce doesn’t just lack color, it actually provides little to no nutrients at all. Add romaine, spinach, or even some blanched kale or Swiss chard to your salads to increase nutrient intake.
- Focus on fats: replace butter or other saturated fats in your diet with heart-healthy oils like extra virgin olive oil, flax, or an essential fatty acid blend for salad dressings.
- Bring your own: used to going out to lunch every day? Try bringing your own lunch to work at least a few days a week which will save both calories and money.
- Try a milk alternative: wherever you use milk or cream – say for coffee, tea, or smoothies- try a new type of non-dairy milk like almond or rice milk for the same amount of nutrients with less environmental impact.
- Swap out gluten: try a gluten-free alternative of your favorite food, or simply exchange an all-purpose gluten-free flour for regular flour in your favorite recipe, your tummy may thank you.
- Spice things up: add flavour (and nutrients) to food by using fresh herbs and spices, instead of salt, fat, or artificial flavorings.
- Stave off sweets: while an apple may not quite quell the desire for a piece of cake, there are plenty of great recipes available for healthy desserts that won’t derail your health efforts, so get creative with healthier versions of your favorites. Fruit can be sweet too- and decadent- like a banana or a date dipped in raw almond butter. Try opting for fruit first instead of dessert; you may stave off that sweet tooth altogether or at least be much less likely to overindulge.