So, here we are midway through January. Was it your New Year’s resolution to eat healthy and get in shape? How about deciding to cook more at home? Exercise more? Kudos if it was your resolution to do this! You are among many Americans that use the New Year to create a fresh start for your health. You just had two weeks of indulgences (maybe more) and told yourself, after the first of the year… it starts.
Many of us come out of the gate strong with big ambitions. You quickly cut out all of those sweet treats that were making regular appearances in your day and you blew the dust off that gym membership and are now a regular. This is great! However, one question to ask yourself is, “Are the behaviors I decided to make sustainable?” It’s a story we hear all too often. “I was doing well but life got in the way.” “I got busy, it was too hard.” “It got to be too expensive.” And the list goes on… I would say that a majority of the time it’s not these excuses that stop us, but the fact that we took on too much at once and get discouraged. Remember, this is a LIFESTYLE, not a resolution that should be coming around once a year.
One of the best ways to make sustainable changes is to set realistic small goals that can ultimately lead you to one larger goal. I believe that we can make simple substitutes that will lead to sustainable resolutions so that when you are at New Year’s Eve 2015, you can look back on your year without regrets.
My first simple substitute of 2015! Substitute the grocery list in your mind to one that is written out on paper (or smart phone)! This can be a huge tool in staying on track with your New Year’s resolution to eat healthier. Studies show that when you go in to the grocery store with a clear plan of what you are going to buy, you are less likely to grab things that are not on the list (that bag of Oreos that was on the discounted endcap). Recent research conducted by Lizzy Pope, Registered Dietitian with the University of Vermont, found that, “After the holidays, shoppers spent $20 more on food each shopping trip and triple their amount of healthy food BUT still buy their same amount of unhealthy food.” This can be avoided by going shopping with your list. You can cut your grocery bill and keep some of the unnecessary food and calories out of your house. Having a shopping list and plan for meals for the week can avoid trips to the vending machine for afternoon snack and the drive-thru for dinner (resulting in unwanted calories). A balanced, healthy diet is all about convenience and what you have on hand.
A few grocery store shopping trips that can make you a master grocery shopper:
- Get your list ready – Try to plan your week out and do not forget to think about your schedule. Do you have a meeting? Kids sporting event? Plan for quick meals those nights to avoid last minute decisions to go out.
- Shop on a full stomach – Try to hit the store right after a meal or snack to avoid making unnecessary purchases based on your hunger. I have a ½ gallon of ice cream in my freezer right now because I went shopping before lunch on Sunday.
- Shop the perimeter – This is a huge tool! Think about the foods you find on the outside of the grocery store. This is where you will find nutrient packed options (fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy) that are minimally processed.
- Shop the sales – Eating healthy can be expensive, especially during the winter when produce is not as readily available in the area. Make sure to check out what is on sale and purchase that for the week. Also, a good alternative during these cold winter months is to buy frozen fruits and vegetables. Just make sure there are no added ingredients like sugar!
This one simple substitute can make a big difference in your goals for the New Year! Be sure to check in to Simple Substitutions as we substitute our way to healthier lifestyles.