The start of the new year’s a rough time. You’ve overspent on Christmas and you’re almost certain that belt didn’t dig in so badly back in November. Couple that with cold weather practically forcing you to indulge in comfort foods and that old feeling comes creeping back in again. You know the one – the niggling guilt for not eating healthier. A guilt temporarily hidden by the genuine belief you were going to stick to your new year’s resolution for longer than two weeks.
But fret not! Eating healthier can be much easier than you think. Here’s how: Cut down on drinking….. Nah, just kidding. This is a realistic list. So let’s stick to easy things.
Swap your standard pasta out for wholewheat
The taste is almost indistinguishable (seriously, try it!) and after you’ve seasoned, mixed with the meat, and put on the sauce, you wouldn’t ever notice the difference.
And since pasta is such a staple ingredient, in so many common meals, this can be a deceptively big change in your diet. On top of that, the price is usually the same as regular pasta, or very close to it. And if you don’t know if you’re ready to fully commit to the swap, you can buy 50/50 pasta, and bam! You’re halfway there. If you’re feeling adventurous after that then you can buy pasta that’s actually made out of vegetables! Try red lentil pasta, or green pea pasta. Yes, they exist. Isn’t living in the future great?
And whilst it’s more noticeable taste-wise, making the swap from white to wholemeal bread is great too. You’ll be surprised how bland white bread tastes once you’re used to brown.
Make the change to diet drinks
We’ve all seen those videos where they show you just how much sugar goes into one single can of cola. They’re pretty bad, right? I mean, not so bad we stopped drinking it, obviously, but still… It is shocking how much goes into sugary drinks.
So much so that the government put a sugar tax on it, which has actually made it easier to make the change to diet. Sugary drink companies have reacted to the tax by going overdrive on new ranges and better recipes for their diet drinks, so they’ve never tasted as good as they do right now. And if you think they just don’t taste the same, try and stick to it for a whole week, and see if you can remember what the difference was by the end. Then try one of the full-sugar ones again and you’ll realise just how excessively sweet it is, and how much of a fuzz it leaves on your teeth.
Be careful of the supermarket meal deal
I know how it is. Time is precious, and very few of us can be bothered to make a sandwich in the morning to take to work. And it’s hard to find space to cram it into a lunchbox that’s already full of biscuits and cookies. But keep an eye out on that convenient meal deal – you’d be surprised how unhealthy some of the sandwiches are. Supermarkets use mayo as butter so commonly that if they don’t use it they make it a selling point! (Remember seeing those with the name ‘No Mayo Chicken’?)
Fortunately there’s normally a varied selection to choose from, so try one of the healthier options, like a vegan jackfruit wrap, or a low-fat chicken salad (that usually tastes much the same as the regular). Or, if you are going for a heavier option, opt for the fruit instead of a bag of crisps, which are actually shockingly unhealthy. Bear in mind these are things you’ll be eating every 5 days a week.
So with just a few changes you can be living healthier before you know it. And after all that, it sure makes dessert feel less guilty. And by dessert I mean wine. Just keep it to a glass, not two bottles. That’s for weekends.