8 Simple Ways To Eat Healthier In 2021
It’s a new year, and while we’re not sorry to see the old one go, we’re still not in a normal situation. We spent most of 2020 trying to be as safe as we could, and our regular diets and exercise and healthful routines kind of went to the wayside. But we can get ourselves back on track with just a few easy steps, despite all that’s going on. Here are eight little things you can do to have a healthier and less stressful 2021.
Surround yourself with a positive team
One of the most important things you can do for your health has nothing to do with the foods you eat. Make sure you have at least one person supporting your goals, whether it’s a partner, family member, friend, or even someone you just know online. Being able to positively reinforce your actions makes them much easier to stick to.
Also, your supporting person will help battle the voices both in your head and out in the world that say things like “is that all you’re eating,” or “why are you eating that,” or “you’re wasting your time.” Get yourself someone who is on Team You, and you’re much more likely to succeed with your goals.
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Drink more liquids through the day, not just water
Staying hydrated doesn’t mean drinking nothing but water all day. There are ways to maintain your hydration such as water-rich fruits or soups. Drink more tea and less coffee. Stay away from sodas, especially diet sodas.
If you are more of a water drinker, change up your routine a little. Add fruit to sparkling water, even just a slice of lemon. Or freeze lemon or lime juice and put those ice cubes into regular water. There are ways to stay hydrated without making yourself bored, so give them a try!
Look for protein- and fiber-based snacks
Snacks are, generally speaking, guilty pleasures. They’re small bites of foods that are not really good for you, but taste delicious. One of the ways you can improve your health is to seek out snacks that are less bad for you.
Peanut butter, or other nut butters, on celery is still a good snack option, or have some berries in yogurt. The key to healthy snacking is to avoid things with a lot of processed sugar, flour, or corn syrup. The fewer ingredients in your snack, the better.
Related: 10 Things That Happen To Your Body When You Eat Protein Every Day
Eat more plant-centric meals
If you are not actively vegetarian or vegan, one of the best ways to eat healthier is to adopt a more plant-based menu. If you’re not wanting to eliminate animal-based foods from your diet, that’s fine. But you might want to occasionally skip meat in a dish altogether.
Make a meatless chili, or lasagna, and add in legumes or spinach or other ingredients instead. Experiment with adding more flavor to your diet when you cut out the meat. You never know what you’ll discover when you change up your diet.
Try out some new recipes
Over the last year, we’ve all learned how to cook at home again to some degree. After a year with limited restaurant dining options available, we’ve had to reacquaint ourselves with our kitchens. And while we all have our go-to recipes, either quick and easy meals or family favorites, there comes a time when it gets boring and repetitive.
Seek out new recipes, either in magazines or online. There are multitudes of recipes available on the internet. Or step up your game with a slow cooker, Instant Pot, or air fryer. Don’t limit yourself to what you already make. Now’s the time to find new favorites.
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Stock up on canned and frozen vegetables
One of the easiest things you can do to add healthful content to your diet is to add a dash of canned or frozen vegetables to your meal. Don’t rely strictly on canned or frozen vegetables, though. Fresh vegetables should be your main staple.
But frozen and canned vegetables have the benefit of longer shelf life. It’s just a good way to add a little extra boost to your diet. Stock up on them when they go on sale and you’ll have them on hand when you need them. That way there’s never an excuse not to have vegetables with your meal.
Add foods that help boost immunity
There are a variety of foods that help your body’s immune system stay sharp and alert. The most well known ones are citrus fruits like oranges, lemons, and grapefruit. But there are other sources of these immunity boosting vitamins and minerals, like leafy green vegetables and orange root vegetables.
Try adding more spinach or kale to your diet, as well as sweet potatoes or carrots. Add more variety of beans to your dishes. Eggs, in moderation, are also good for immunity. Learn to add these into regular dishes for that extra burst of healthful protection.
Related: How To Prevent 8 Common Vitamin Deficiencies
Listen to your body
FInally, it’s all about mindfulness and paying attention to yourself. It’s one thing to count carbs or calories or points, but your body actually knows what it wants. Learn to listen to your body.
You may feel like you need a carb, or a protein, or even a treat. The trick is to recognize your hunger and act appropriately. Learn to hear your stomach say it’s full. Pause before reaching for a second snack after you’ve eaten the first.
Paying attention to your body’s wants and needs lets you both take control of your eating management and let go of the stress of too many decisions.