January first. It’s the infamous day where gyms become overloaded, holiday sweets are avoided like the plague and we all “commit to be fit” in the New Year. We’ve all done it: set the New Year’s resolution of working out more and eating healthier. But then life picks up again, schedules get busy, and what we were convinced would become our “new normal” gets thrown to the side and forgotten about like last year’s pair of jeans. So how do you make your New Year’s resolutions of living a healthier lifestyle stick like chia seeds in your teeth?
1. Set reasonable short-term goals.
This is probably the most important aspect of sticking with your New Year’s resolution. It is so easy in January to get excited and motivated about making moves to get healthier in 2017; but come May, that excitement may not still be at that “New Year New Me” high. Be realistic with yourself. Slowly incorporate changes into your life so you can sustain them. Start by adding 15 more minutes to your existing workout. Or increase your regimen by adding one cycling class a week. Start there. And then you can work towards your long-term goal, one more CycleBar class at a time.
2. Set your environment for success.
Our environments play a huge role in determining our behaviors. We want to eat healthier, but our refrigerators and pantries are stuck in 2016 while we’re trying to thrive in 2017. Make it a habit to stock up on wholesome, nutritious foods every trip to the grocery store. Keep your favorite fruits and vegetables cut up in the fridge so you can quickly grab some when you’re too busy to declaw a pineapple before running out the door. Prepare a protein on Sunday night to add to meals throughout the week to make packing lunches that much easier. And have snacks that you can take on the go that you know are a better choice than the bag of chips that is oh-so convenient.
Here are some ideas for your weekly grocery haul to set up your successful environment:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Peanut butter
- Cheese sticks
- Greek yogurt
- Plant based protein bars
- Chicken, fish, lean beef
- Whole grain bread
Let’s be real. No one truly looks forward to sitting down and figuring out what the family is going to be eating for the entire week. But let’s also be real about the fact that we are all overbooked and have maxed out schedules. Every night when the dinnertime rolls around, it feels as if we have to solve the world’s problems and maintain world peace… All before 6 o’clock. Looking at your schedule on Sunday and determining when, where, and what you’re eating for dinner resolves the dreaded decision you used to have to face every night. Plan out your meals for the week and make a grocery list of what you need for each meal. And if it is just simply not realistic for you to cook a meal at home most nights of the week, there are fabulous meal services that can help! Companies such as Get Freshly, HelloFresh and Home Chef (among others) are awesome resources to help you out with weekly meals. And there is no shame in utilizing some help!
4. Don’t be too hard on yourself.
Perfection is not attainable. For any of us. But the minute you start feeling guilty about missing yesterday’s workout or forgetting to pack today’s lunch is the minute you start to convince yourself you want to slip back into your 2016 ways. Even among the imperfection, we can make small changes everyday to make us a little better than we were yesterday. And that’s what getting healthier is all about. Because over time those changes add up and you look back on 2017 with a smile on your face knowing that you made your health a priority and that New Year’s Resolutions aren’t just fairytale to-do lists.
And to make it a tad easier, here are a few recipes to add to your arsenal in the New Year:
Breakfast: Blueberry Muffin Overnight Oats
- ½ c old fashioned oats
- ½ c Greek yogurt
- 1 T chia seeds
- ¼ c blueberries (fresh or frozen)
- 1 t lemon zest or ½ t lemon juice
Instructions: Combine all ingredients except the blueberries and mix together well. Top with blueberries and place in the refrigerator covered until morning. In the morning, microwave for 1 minute and enjoy!
Lunch: Lentil Soup
- 2 T olive oil
- 3 celery sticks diced
- 2 carrot sticks diced
- 1 yellow onion diced
- 1 c mushrooms diced
- 1 can diced tomatoes
- 1 T minced garlic
- 5 c rinsed lentils (any color except red)
- ½ c water
- 4 c vegetable broth
- 1 t cumin
- ½ t thyme
- 1 T black pepper
- Salt to taste
Instructions: Heat up the olive oil in a large pot and add onions, mushrooms, carrots, celery and garlic and sauté until softened. Add in the lentils, tomatoes, brother, water, cumin, thyme, and black pepper and bring to a simmer. Let sit covered for 45 minutes. Eat for lunches throughout the week or freeze for later.
Dinner: Crockpot Mexican Quinoa
- 3 chicken breasts
- 1 can corn (rinsed and drained)
- 1 can black beans (rinsed and drained)
- I can tomato and green chilies (drained)
- ½ red onion diced
- 1 c quinoa (uncooked)
- 5 c chicken broth
- 2 tsp. cumin
- 1 T lemon juice
Instructions: Combine all ingredients in a crockpot and let sit on high for 4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. After 6 hours, shred the chicken inside the crockpot using two forks. Top with avocado slices and serve.
Cheers to a happy and healthy New Year!
Emily Fitz, RD, LD
Emily, a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist in Columbus, Ohio, is passionate about helping people enjoy eating and living healthier, one chia seed at a time. Check out her Instagram @nutrititarian for more food and recipe inspiration.