A whole lot of people are about to overhaul their diets for the new year – but most of those good intentions will crash and burn. That’s because those changes will just be too extreme, not to mention punitive. No sugar or dairy! No carbs after 1pm! Nothing in a package! When those resolutions quickly fizzle, it can feel like you failed.
Wouldn’t it feel better to win instead? You can—when you focus on adding things in, not taking things away. Here are five ideas:
Eat a higher-fiber cereal for breakfast. Most adults get about half the fiber they need every day. Fiber is proven to help lower cholesterol, keep you regular, and satisfy you (so you can avoid overeating), and breakfast is prime time to nab it. Look for a cereal that has at least 3-5 grams of fiber per serving (a whole grain as the first ingredient, like whole wheat, is a good tip-off that it’s fiber-rich). Not quite ready to switch? Go halfsies with your standard cereal.
Designate a fruit bowl. Place your fruit bowl in a central location on the counter and fill it with seven (washed) pieces of fruit at the beginning of the week. Grab one every day for snack time or on your way out the door for work. Suddenly you’re getting more vitamins, filling fiber, and disease-fighting nutrients every single day. Easy-peasy.
Buy a no-brainer prepped veggie every week. Look in your store’s produce section for options like pre-washed/pre-cut Brussels sprouts, bagged salad greens, spiralized zucchini and sweet potatoes, and chopped and seasoned butternut squash. So many people skip veggies because they dread the prep. So make it easy on yourself. Having at least one easy veggie side may inspire you to buy and eat vegetables more often.
Commit to “Fish Fridays.” Or Tilapia Tuesdays or Walleye Wednesdays – something to make eating fish a weekly habit. The American Heart Association says everyone should be getting fish at least twice a week to reap all the heart-health benefits – so, bonus points for adding tuna to a salad or ordering salmon for lunch on another day too. Not sure how to cook it? Look for pre-seasoned, ready-to-bake fillets at the seafood counter.
Use a water pitcher. You probably have one for parties that’s collecting dust in the cupboard, right? Turns out, it’s a secret weapon: Rinse it out and fill it with water and ice (and maybe some pretty slices of lemon, lime, or orange). Station it on your desk or kitchen counter and pour from it all day. Staying hydrated is good for every cell of your body – and drinking water means you’re not grabbing sodas or other sweetened stuff.