Make 2017 the year of ‘you’ with this healthy eating plan

 
It's a brand new year, and now is the time to kickstart the journey to a healthier, happer you.
 
Healthy eating habits will play a major role in this, and nutritional therapist Heather Leeson (Glenville Nutrition) is here to guide the way with expert advice and tips.
 
 
The road to hell….
Most of us launch ourselves into January full of good intentions and laden down with healthy eating resolutions. While up to 75 percent of us can maintain this for a week, most of us have fallen off the healthy wagon by the end of January. We know from our experience in the clinic that focusing on too many goals and trying to make too many changes all at once just leads to a feeling of being overwhelmed. 
 
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Don’t set yourself up to fail 
Instead of trying to completely overhaul your diet in one dramatic sweep, take small steps.  Focus on one change at a time and make it stick. Make your goal as specific as possible. For example, rather than ‘drink more water’, your goal should be ‘drink seven glasses of water every day’.  Write it down and stick it somewhere you can see it every day, e.g., on your mirror or on the fridge. Mindfully practice your new goal every day for one month, then review your progress and add in another goal. By that stage, your initial goal should have become a habit that you don’t even think about. By the end of 2017, you will have adapted 12 healthier habits and be reaping the rewards.
 
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Stuck for ideas?
If you are not sure where to start, try our healthy eating plan for 2017:
 
Month Goal
January  Eat five portions of vegetables (or half of your plate at lunch and dinner) every day
February  Drink seven glasses of water every day
March  Switch from white to wholegrain bread, rice and pasta
April
 Limit treats to Fridays and Saturdays – or whatever days suit your schedule
May  Eat fish at least three times per week
June  Stick to the correct portion sizes for pasta and cheese – or whatever foods are your portion-size downfalls
July  Plan your meals one week in advance
August  Have two vegetarian evening meals per week
September  Eat a small amount of healthy fats: e.g. nuts, seeds, avocado every day
October  Include a health snack mid-afternoon: e.g. apple and a palmful of nuts
November  Do 45 minutes of exercise, three to four times per week
December  Try one new healthy recipe every week/ fortnight
 
Adapt these to suit you, but make sure that your goals are clear, simple and a change from what you are doing at the moment.
 
 
Some ideas to help you eat more vegetables in January:

Breakfast Lunch  Dinner
Omelette with spinach and mushrooms      Vegetable and lentil soup  Prawn stirfry with wholegrain rice
  Poached egg with spinach and tomato Greek salad with baked potato or sweet potato Baked salmon with steamed mixed vegetables
 Wholegrain bread with avocado and tomato   Rye bread with smoked mackerel, avocado and cucumber        Vegetable ratatouille with butterbeans or haloumi
 
 
As a healthy snack, try vegetable sticks (carrots, pepper, celery, sugar snap peas, cucumber….) with hummus or another healthy dip.
 
 
Make it as easy for yourself as possible
  • Keep frozen vegetables in your freezer
  • Keep fresh salad in your fridge.  While bagged salad is not always as nutritious as buying the lettuce heads, it’s much more nutritious than not eating salad at all
  • Get organised and spend a few minutes planning your meals for the week ahead
 
My top tip
Roast a couple of trays of vegetables at the weekend and keep these in the fridge to add to salads, soups, omelettes and other dishes during the week.  Most vegetables can be roasted, including peppers, courgettes, onions, aubergine, butternut squash, cauliflower, carrots, broccoli.
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