Healthy Alternatives to Start Your New Year’s Goals off Right
The new year is a perfect time to prioritize your health, inside and out. As you make and assess your goals for 2021, remember that the best way to make those goals a reality is to start with simple, attainable steps.
Healthy Sugar Alternatives
One of the best changes you can make for your overall health is to eat less sugar. By choosing alternatives to sugar, you can shed excess pounds, clear up brain fog, increase energy, make more room in your diet for nutrient-dense foods, and prevent various diseases.
A sugar-free sweetener in your oatmeal, for example, will save you 32 calories per serving. It will also free you from sugar crashes, sugar-related disease risk, and inflammation. Monk fruit is a healthy sugar alternative that can help with your health goals.
Simple Swaps for Better Health
One of the most effective ways to make progress toward your health goals is to try simple swap-outs. Where your physical health and fitness are concerned, consider trying one or more of the following:
Swap sitting for adding more movement into your day:
o This can come from both intentional exercise like going on a walk or smaller changes like parking further from the door and taking the stairs instead of the elevator
o Move more as a family. Find activities you love, and try new things together
o When watching your favorite show, try a simple stretching routine. To burn more calories, add in squats or planks during the commercials
o Instead of sitting and talking with friends or family, go on a walk while you catch up
o Get a standing desk
Swap poor sleep habits for healthy sleep hygiene:
o Swap late nights for an earlier bedtime
o Swap scrolling for a dedicated routine
Swap health ignorance for empowerment:
o Instead of ignoring the state of your overall health and hoping for the best, schedule a physical assessment with your doctor to make sure your body is in good condition
Swap mindless eating for intention:
o Eat slower. Without even changing the content of what you eat, this can promote better feelings of satiety and discourage overeating
Easy Ways to Clean Up Your Diet
When it comes to your calories, small changes can add up to big numbers. Even seemingly insignificant swaps that only seem to cut a few calories here and there can add up to significant weight loss over time. To put this in perspective: eating just 100 fewer calories a day adds up to 10.4 pounds of fat a year. That’s a lot of pounds to shed just by cutting calories you won’t even miss.
Easy alternatives can include:
- Swap sugar-laden granola for a keto-friendly version
- Upgrade your sweetener for coffee or tea to a calorie-free version
- Switch to zero-calorie drinks instead of soda or juice (water, tea, or kombucha are good options)
- Opt for whole-grain or grain-free breads instead of white bread
- Choose sugar-free syrup for your pancakes or waffles
- Use low-calorie sauces or spreads (like mustard or sriracha) instead of higher-calorie options
- Trade your Nutella for Suntella
- Bake, grill, or steam your meats and veggies instead of frying them
- Choose muffin mixes without added sugar
Mental and Emotional Health
Your well-being is about more than just your physical health. Try these healthy swap-outs to bolster your mental health and overall wellness:
- Instead of mindlessly scrolling through social media on your breaks, go on a walk or try a 5-10 minute guided meditation
- Speaking of social media, swap out an energy-draining app for an uplifting one designed to improve your mental health
- Instead of using negative self-talk when you encounter obstacles (“I’m so stupid!”), try reframing (“I made a mistake but I’m still good at my job”) and complimenting yourself (“Because I am humble, dedicated, and smart, I can fix this problem.”)
- Instead of keeping your challenges and accomplishments to yourself, strengthen friendships and other connections
Taking charge of your health and making your well-being a priority doesn’t need to look like a complete lifestyle overhaul and drastic new year’s resolutions. Instead, taking simple, sustainable steps in the right direction is the perfect way to kick off your new year’s wellness journey.