Who doesn’t know this scenario: every New Year’s Eve we set New Year’s Resolutions and promise ourselves that next year everything will be different. These range from ‘have more time to myself’, ‘less stress’, ‘spend more time with friends and family’, to the classic ‘more exercise and eat better’. Certain resolutions are repeated year on year. Actually though, only very few stick with what they’ve set themselves. This is confirmed having a look at most gyms: bursting at the seams in January, and almost completely deserted in December. Same can be said for resolutions on good nutrition, which are only kept for a few weeks.
Therefore, PowerBar has a few tips and tricks for you on how you can actually put these good resolutions for a healthy and balanced diet into practice this year:
Tip 1: Keep a diary
Keeping a so-called food diary means noting down all snacks and meals that have been consumed throughout the day. This helps us get an overview what we really eat, and especially, how much. It’s often the case that we eat snacks on the go without really being aware of it.
Tip 2: Drink enough
Drinking is important; everyone really knows that. However, many of us mainly consume drinks containing calories, such as soft drinks to quench our thirst, instead of water or unsweetened tea. This way we not only consume more calories throughout the day, but this also affects our blood sugar levels. Therefore it’s better to resort back to water, and if that’s too boring maybe add a slice of cucumber or lemon, or even some berries.
Tip 3: Carbohydrate intake relative to what’s required.
The intake of carbohydrates depends strongly on individual requirements and goals. If for example the goal is to lose weight, then it’s important to have a negative energy balance, i.e. consume less calories than are needed. In this case it’s best to reduce the amount of carbohydrates, and keep an eye on the quality. For example, it’s beneficial to replace white flour and sugary, commercial cereals with wholemeal products and homemade muesli.
For athletes it’s important to regulate the carbohydrate intake according to the training programme, so that improvements in performance and recovery aren’t affected negatively.
Tip 4: Eat fruit and vegetables daily
Every lunchtime and evening meal should include a portion of salad or vegetables. In addition, it’s good to make sure that the foods on the plate are nice and colourful. For example, combine red tomatoes, green salad leaves, orange carrots, and yellow sweetcorn, and then also have some blueberries for dessert.
Tip 5: Watch out for high quality protein
Consuming high-quality protein, such as pluses, (low fat) dairy products, eggs, fish, and poultry doesn’t just support the maintenance of valuable muscle mass, but also has the positive side-effect that it makes you feel fuller for longer compared to carbohydrates.
Tip 6: Don’t forget healthy fats
You should also not neglect or even completely avoid the intake of fats, as they are required in moderation by the body. High-quality oils, such as virgin olive oil on a salad, or oils that cope well with high temperatures for frying, as well as fatty fish, such as salmon, should often be included in the daily menu. Unroasted nuts and seeds are also ideal as a little snack or to improve a salad.
The PowerBar® plate model provides a good overview of amount and type of meal.
It’s important to know that there is no magic strategy that works the same for everyone. There don’t have to be drastic measures put in place to eat healthily, nor do we need to go without everything. A good strategy is to eat 80% healthy, and to ‘sin’ for the remaining 20%; that’s much easier to adjust to.
To finish off, a few more tips that should help you to actually put those New Year’s resolutions into practice:
- Set realistic goals:
Those who go from not doing any exercise at all to doing 6 days a week will probably struggle more with the change than those who already exercise regularly. Therefore, best plan a little for a little bit less exercise initially, and then increase the volume if needed.
- Write down goals and keep them in a place where you can see them:
Seeing your goals written down every day, or being visibly reminded of them, can help you to not forget them as easily after the initial burst of motivation.
- Get support:
Putting your goals into practice with your friends not only helps you to stick with your resolutions; it’s also more fun. Sharing your goals and results online with others can also give additional motivation.
You can achieve anything if you want to. PowerBar helps you to reach your StrongerThanYouThink moment. Naturally your feedback is needed. Share your #strongerthanyouthinkmoment with us and your friends on social networks – have fun with it.
© Tanja Rasputniac, Sports Nutrition Specialist PowerBar. Master’s degree in Nutrition and Biomedicine