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Resolutions that work

Resolutions that work
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New Year, new resolutions – and if you’re like most people, it will include some goals for getting healthier. But 80 percent of resolutions fail by February, and it’s not just you and I that fall short; even the pros have a hard time sticking to their resolutions. What gives? A goal without a plan is just a wish, says Lindsey Kane, a registered dietitian nutritionist. “The good news is, there are some tried-and-true strategies for making good habits, the key to keeping your resolutions,” she explains.

“I resolve to eat more mindfully”

“I resolve to eat more mindfully”
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Between our phones, TVs and computers, we are bombarded with distractions during meal times. This can have serious negative health effects, leading you to choose less healthy foods and to mindlessly eat more than you need. The solution? Turning off devices and paying attention to your food, says Sara Patton, a registered dietitian. “I am going to practise ‘intuitive eating’ which will help me become more in touch with my body’s needs – eating when I’m hungry and stopping when I’m full,” she explains. “This includes planning to take my time with my meals and not eating in front of the TV or computer.”

“I resolve to reduce my food waste”

“I resolve to reduce my food waste”
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How many times have you carefully packed away leftovers…and then forgotten to eat them? Basbaum’s solution is to schedule a “plan-over” meal once a week where she uses leftovers to create a new, healthy meal. “For example, if I plan to cook a dinner of grilled chicken, broccoli, and sweet potato one night, I will make extra grilled chicken and broccoli and turn it into a chicken broccoli penne pasta the next night,” she says. “I will have avoided wasting food and will save myself time in the process.”

“I resolve to eat more plants”

“I resolve to eat more plants”
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Fruits and vegetables are some of the best foods you can eat to enjoy better health now and in the future, yet far too many of us fall short of the recommended five servings a day, and that even includes the pros. “My number one goal for the New Year is to include more plant-based foods in my diet,” says Rania Batayneh, nutritionist and author of The One One One Diet. One easy way to do that is to put a platter of fresh fruits and cut-up veggies on the counter so when hunger strikes, you’ll be ready with a healthy option.

Here are 8 clear signs you aren’t eating enough fruit and veg.

“I resolve to snack better”

“I resolve to snack better”
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Nuts are full of satiating protein and fibre, and packed with nutrients, making them the ideal snack for people looking to improve their health, Batayneh says. But that’s easy to forget when you’re in a hurry and facing down a bag of chips or cookies. To make healthy snacking more convenient she plans to make snack bags ahead of time with a mix of pistachios, dark chocolate chips, and dried cranberries. “That way when I get a craving for a sweet and savoury snack (something I love!) I’ll have a healthy option right there,” she says. Picking a resolution that involves getting more of things you love (like tasty snacks!) is one that’s far more likely to be successful.

These 16 bedtime snacks will help you sleep better. 

“I resolve to not beat myself over treats”

“I resolve to not beat myself over treats”
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Food is tied to a lot of complicated feelings for many people and this can lead to emotional eating. The trick to avoiding getting stuck in the trap of “eating your feelings” is to look at your food dispassionately, Patton says. “This year, if I want to eat something not so healthy, I will eat it and enjoy it instead of feeling bad about it,” she says. “I will then move on to whatever meal will be next in my day without criticising my treat or punishing myself.”

“I resolve to bring lunch from home three times a week”

“I resolve to bring lunch from home three times a week”
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Bringing food from home, rather than eating out, is a great way to save money, control calories and make healthier food choices. (No more vending machine “lunches”!) But it’s easy to forget to make lunch during hectic mornings so to make sure she sticks to her goal, Katherine Basbaum, a clinical dietitian, is planning ahead. “Mondays and Wednesdays are really busy so instead I’ll bring a packed lunch on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Fridays,” she explains. “And since I’m an “early to bed and early to rise” girl, I will plan to prep my lunch in the mornings.”

“I resolve to not go on a diet”

“I resolve to not go on a diet”
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Going on a diet is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions but not for Jeanne Tiberio, a nutritionist and health coach in private practice. “‘Going on a diet’ carries the assumption that at some point you will be going off a diet which will result in frustration and regaining lost weight,” she says. Instead, this year she’s resolving to make one small healthy change every week to create better lifelong habits. “Eventually I want them to become second nature, so I make these healthier choices without even having to think about it,” she adds.

Here are 50 things doctors wish you knew about weight loss. 

“I resolve to eat less meat”

“I resolve to eat less meat”
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No one is saying you need to go full vegan but the truth is that all of us could stand to eat a little less meat – it’s not just better for your health but the health of the planet as well, Tiberio says. “I plan to make a vegetarian supper at least one or two days per week,” she says. For others who want to try this, she suggests starting with foods that you are already accustomed to eating so it doesn’t feel overwhelming. Adopting Meatless Mondays is also one of the ways you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Try this delicious Roasted Vegetable and Pasta bake as a great meat-free alternative. 

“I resolve to find new ways to eat fruits and veggies”

“I resolve to find new ways to eat fruits and veggies”
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Just because your favourite veggies aren’t in season, it doesn’t mean you have to remove them from your diet. The trick is to buy your favourite fruits and veggies frozen and then use them in smoothies or soups. Frozen produce is just as healthy, and sometimes even healthier, than fresh. And if you’re worried about forgetting that bag of berries buried in your freezer, steal this trick from Tiberio: “I like to put a sticky note on my refrigerator to remind me that the fruits are in there,” she says.

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