If turning the page to a New Year includes making resolutions and setting new goals, you’re not alone. According to Forbes Health, nearly half of all Americans plan to set at least three New Year’s resolutions for 2024 and, on average, resolutions stick for only 3.74 months. Of the most popular goals, nearly 48 percent want to improve their fitness, 33.8 percent want to lose weight, and 31.6 percent want to improve their diets.
While many of us have good intentions, achieving our nutrition goals is more about what we DO rather than what we HOPE to do. Consider creating an environment that doesn’t leave you feeling deprived and supports your success.
Out with the Old: Start by clearing your pantry and refrigerator of foods that are sure to derail your plan and don’t support your goals. Always think: Does having this item get me closer to my goal or farther away from it? A great place to start is to purge heavily processed foods that contain little or no fiber, too much sugar, too many refined carbohydrates, and shelf-stable products with complicated, long ingredient lists. Resist the urge to keep them because you don’t want to waste them. You might have incredible willpower—but most of us don’t. By removing unhealthy foods out of reach for when you’re time-strapped, stressed, or hungry right now, it reduces the chance of going off plan.
In with the New: Creating a healthy, nutritious, environment means stocking up on a variety of favorite healthy foods that are easy to grab when you’re busy and feeling hungry. No need to strive for perfection! Long-term, sustainable, healthy habits develop by taking small steps toward improvement. For example, it’s best to choose healthier foods you KNOW you like, versus what you “think” you should like. Strive for whole foods (single ingredient foods, made by nature, or those with a few simple ingredients) with color, texture, and variety to ensure balanced nutrition. With each meal and snack, strive for balance which includes macronutrients your body needs like healthy protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Ingredient Prepping Ahead of Time: The reason why many of us often reach for unhealthy snacks and meals is because they’re easy to grab (or pick up at your local restaurant)—they’re prepackaged, portioned, and portable. With a little effort, healthy foods can work this way, too. Consider ingredient prepping, ahead of time, to make a variety of dishes and balanced meals throughout the busy work week.
A few of our favorite, make ahead thought-starters include:
Healthy Proteins: Hard-boiled eggs, seasoned, cooked, and cubed or diced chicken (chicken breasts for more protein and less fat or chicken thighs for more flavor), steak (grilled strips), tofu, bacon (crumbles).
Grains: Cooked brown rice, quinoa, oats, and pasta—consider gluten free chickpea for added protein.
Vegetables (roasted, or chopped and stored fresh ahead of time): onions, garlic, ginger, bell peppers, cauliflower, carrots, snap peas, kale; lettuce varieties, cleaned and dried.
Fats: Coconut milk, avocado, walnuts, goat cheese, avocado oil, extra virgin olive oil
Sauces and Dressings: Sriracha, coconut aminos; vinaigrettes, or easy three ingredient salad dressings like these.
Get creative and experiment!
- Combine, from above, one protein, one grain, two vegetables, and a sauce, dressing or healthy fat to make a quick and easy rice bowl.
- Combine a protein, vegetables, fresh lettuce, and a dressing, to make a quick and easy salad.
- Combine a protein, pasta, two vegetables, and a healthy fat to make a pasta bowl. For softer vegetables, combine and sauté in a pan for a few minutes in a healthy oil. Toss with warmed protein and pasta and add a sprinkle of goat cheese and red pepper flakes for extra flavor.
We hope these quick-and-easy ideas provide food for thought, if your goal is a happy, healthier 2024. How do you plan to make healthier changes in 2024? Please share your ideas with our
Pure Prairie Poultry Facebook Community.
Happy, Healthy 2024, from all of your friends at Pure Prairie Poultry!