Thu | Sep 24, 2020

How to keep that ‘eat healthier’ resolution

Published:Wednesday | January 8, 2020 | 12:16 AMVanessa James/Gleaner Writer
Dr Claudia Campbell, clinical nutritionist who specialises in bariatric nutrition.
Dr Claudia Campbell, clinical nutritionist who specialises in bariatric nutrition.

Get your New Year’s resolution list out. See that one that says ‘eat healthier’? You are apprehensive about it because it was on your list last year ... but here you are again, thinking 2020 is the year you will get it right. To help you attain this goal, Dr Claudia Campbell, clinical nutritionist who specialises in bariatric nutrition, has some insights that could help you keep true to your New Year’s resolution.

According to her, the main reason people have a hard time sticking to their New Year’s resolutions is that they often set unrealistic goals.

“It is important to understand that these bad habits which we would like to break did not develop overnight,” she said, “A healthier lifestyle should be just that – a lifestyle. It is about having realistic goals and gradually making such changes.”

Dr Campbell added that, when making lifestyle changes, self discipline and a clear plan are very critical.

“In sticking to resolutions, it is important to break these down into small, simple changes that are applicable to our everyday life. What are some of the things that we can do daily without making it seem as if the only way we can eat healthier is to go on a ‘diet’?,” she asked, before giving tips to help with this lifestyle transition.

Lifestyle transition tips

n Resolve to eat more mindfully by turning off devices and paying attention to your food. Practise intuitive eating – eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full. This includes planning to take your time with meals and not eating in front of the TV or computer, and having set or scheduled meal times.

n Try to include a serving of vegetable with each meal – put some lettuce and tomato into that egg sandwich for breakfast. If you purchase breakfast, ask for some callaloo on the side along with the stewed chicken and ground provision. At home, simply reduce the portion of rice on your plate and replace that with a serving or more of vegetables. By making these small changes, you would have increased your vegetable intake and improved the quality of your meals.

n Often, we snack on what is available. To make healthy snacking more convenient, prepare them ahead of time. Pack a fruit or a pack of nuts for yourself at the same time you are packing one for your child’s lunch bag; or purchase a ripe banana or a piece of watermelon from the fruit vendor on the road.

n Bring lunch from home at least three times for the week. Bringing food from home, rather than buying food, is a great way to save money, control calories, and make healthier food choices. It is easy to forget to make lunch during hectic mornings, so planning ahead is extremely important.

n Going on a diet is one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, but it carries the assumption that, at some point, you will be going off the diet, which will result in frustration and regaining lost weight. Instead, resolve to make one small, healthy change every week to create better lifelong habits.

n It is best to take a holistic approach to health, which includes your physical and mental well-being. If you have committed to a New Year’s resolution, how you feel mentally about the plan and what you are doing is more important than being focused on the weight on the scale. Be mindful that each body is different and will respond differently.

As for the notion that ‘eating healthy is so expensive’, Dr Campbell also had a solution for that.

“Plant protein such as beans, peas and lentils are nutritious, less expensive and work well in place of meat,” she said, “Frozen and canned fruits and vegetables are sometimes less costly and also keep their nutrients.”

For those who prefer to buy fresh fruits, Dr Campbell recommends buying local seasonal fruits which are generally cheaper and are full of nutrients and flavour.

You are now more equipped to take on 2020, and eating more healthily.