There’s something about the New Year looming, that makes it so tempting to give up your healthy lifestyle. The closer you get to the holidays - and the more parties and celebrations start to kick up - the more you may begin to feel your resolve to eat healthy and stick to your workout schedule crumbling.
But before you throw in the towel, let me urge you to reconsider. I can promise you will feel so much better sticking to your healthy habits now, than waiting for 2022 to hit.
That’s why I’ve created this healthy new year’s diet plan to help you stay on track through the holidays and launch into your 2022 resolutions with a solid foundation. Whether you’re already on a roll and just need a push, or starting from ground zero, this is the perfect place to be.
Excited to get cracking? Same! Keep reading for the best tips and advice to start your New Year 2022 feeling your best yet.
Healthy New Year Diet Plan
This plan includes the best tips and advice to help you establish regular healthy habits that will help your routine feel regular, normal, and healthy. These tips aren’t impossible to fit into your daily schedule, and they aren’t all or nothing.
Giving up and making decisions over the holidays may lead you to feel guilty. When you’re feeling guilty or low, you may find yourself feeling like you need to make big changes in the New Year like cleanses, detoxes, or crash diets to make up for it.
Instead, my goal for those following along with this plan, is to make small, realistic changes that reap big rewards. Below, you’ll find practical tips for eating and living healthier in a sustainable way.
The plan is simple: do your best to stick to the tips below. That’s it! You won’t always be perfect (and you may ignore them at your family holiday party) and that’s okay. Get right back to your regular routine and healthy habits the next day, simple as that.
Healthy New Year Diet Tips
The healthy tips below are meant to encourage you to find balance in your routine. Choose one to try or practice them all - it’s up to you!
If I can give you any sort of encouragement it would be to start slow. You can always add on another tip and or ramp up the intensity later.
Prioritize High-Quality Foods
Power your day by eating more high-quality foods, and less low-quality foods in your diet. High-quality foods include whole foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seeds, nuts, and legumes - which contain beneficial nutrients and vitamins and retain their natural fiber. Try to maximize these foods in your diet which keep you feeling full and satisfied.
To reduce low-quality foods, try to avoid processed and packaged foods with a lot of added ingredients when possible. Often these items contain a high number of calories and aren’t as nutrient-rich as fresh, whole foods.
Pack Snacks & Lunches
Staying fueled with a healthy lunch and snacks will limit your cravings in the office. While going out for lunch or an afternoon picks me up is fun now and again, packing your lunch and snacks most of the time will help you gain control of your diet and stay on track.
What you decide to bring doesn’t have to be complicated and can take as little as 5-10 minutes in the morning. Be sure to emphasize all 3 major food groups in your lunch. Healthy fats like avocado, protein like grilled chicken or turkey, and carbs such as fresh veggies or rice will keep you powered for the rest of the day. The best healthy snack you can eat will always be fresh, whole foods. Fruit, a hard-boiled egg, or a handful of almonds are all great, easy options.
Cook at Home
Cooking at home is one of the best things you can do to clean up your diet. Many restaurants cook with unhealthy oils, excessive salt, and preservative-packed sauces to make your food taste better. But these additions can also increase the calories and are not as healthy for your body.
To cook healthy at home, emphasize a balanced plate. A colorful plate is best - try balancing your meal with lean protein like chicken or fish, leafy greens, veggies or fruit, healthy fat like avocado, nuts, or seeds, as well as a whole grain such as brown rice, quinoa, oats, or whole-grain bread.
Did you know water makes up about 60% of the human body? Humans need lots of water to thrive. 8 cups of water (or 64oz) is the recommended minimum amount of water you should consume each day. If you exercise, you’ll want to drink even more.
To make it easier on yourself, invest in a large, marked water bottle. That way you can see your goal for the day and the progress you’ve made towards your goal. A small change like having a water bottle at easy access can make a big change for sticking to your hydration goals for the day.
Try Using Alternatives
Incorporate healthy alternatives into your recipes and cooking when possible. For example, at home, it’s a lot easier to stay away from added sugar. Instead of sugar opt for nutrient-dense alternatives like honey or maple syrup.
Also, consider the oils you use to cook with - rather than butter try to aim for olive oil or avocado oil instead. Instead of cooking with refined white pasta, try whole grain or brown rice noodles instead. It’s these little changes that can add up to a big difference in how you feel, and the results you see over time.
Eat More Veggies
Did you know the CDC recommends adults consume at least 2-4 cups of vegetables a day? While that may not seem much, consider your diet. Do you think you live up to those numbers? For the wide majority, the answer would be no.
Veggies aren’t only filled with valuable nutrients - vitamins and minerals our bodies need to thrive - they’re also a great way to add fiber and volume to your meals and snacks, which contribute to you feeling full and satisfied.
Practice ‘Meatless Mondays’
While you’re probably familiar with the need to add more veggies into your diet, have you considered aiming to eat more plant-based as a diet goal for 2022? ‘Meatless Mondays’ is a popular way many people aim to eat less meat, and more plant-focused foods. To participate in meatless Monday, the goal is to eat all three meals of the day without meat.
For many of us, meatless Mondays are a challenge enough. But there are other ways to incorporate more plant-forward meals into your diet. For example, challenge yourself to go meatless one meal of each day - like breakfast or lunch. A diet high in healthy plant-based foods can help to reduce the risk of preventable diseases like heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and more.
If your household is anything like mine, there’s nothing like holiday shopping and prep to raise stress levels. Finding ways to prioritize your mental health and find peace amongst the madness is important to reduce stress and keep you feeling your best this season.
One of the simplest ways I put my mental health first, is by recognizing my more stressful moments and pausing to take 3 deep breaths. It sounds silly because it’s so simple but breathing has legit health benefits. Deep breathing can help slow your heart rate and promote relaxation. Next time you’re stressed, give it a try!
While normally you may have a little more time on your hands to focus on your fitness, you may find during the holidays you don’t have as much time to put into your workouts, let alone a full-fledged routine. When your routine becomes too much, it’s easy to cave in and forget it altogether. Movement is an important part of feeling your best.
Simplify your goal. If your goal is simply to move each day, it takes the pressure off and moves more fun and relaxing. I recommend evaluating your day and stressors and choosing to move however your body needs that day. Just leave a little time to move and fill it however your body needs. This concept is called intuitive fitness, and it’s a great way to make peace with your fitness routine, and still get some good movement in - I highly recommend giving it a go!
Need some ideas? Our workout collection has everything you could need from relaxing stretches to intense HIIT workouts.
Get Proper Sleep
While everything you do when you’re awake is important, a good night's sleep is key for healthy living. When you’re well-rested it makes it easier to make healthy decisions throughout your day. Lack of sleep may result in loss of concentration, mood changes, and even a decrease in mental and physical performance.
For optimal health, adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Make it your goal to achieve at least 7 hours of sleep each night. With proper sleep, you’ll be able to focus on your other health goals and be more productive throughout the holiday season and into the New Year.
How to Set Healthy New Year’s Goals
Alright, now you have some ideas of how to live a healthier life, now it’s time to decide how you’re going to do it. Lucky for you, I have three tips to make your healthy New Year’s goals a cinch this year.
Make Goals Realistic and Attainable
It’s fun to set lofty goals, what’s not fun is when we don’t achieve them. Set small goals. Goals you know you can achieve. When we can accomplish our goals it creates positive mental pathways, that we can succeed, and that we do have the willpower to accomplish larger things. As you get more confident, you can always add on more.
Write Down Goals and Reevaluate Often
When we write down a goal, it helps us feel more committed to them. I recommend small check-ins daily, taking notes where things were hard or easy, or how you felt. It makes it easier to come back at the end of each week and reevaluate your goals. If you need to tweak your goals or environment to make it more practical - do it! It’s not a concession, that’s a smart way to keep yourself on track.
Find a Friend or Family Member to Keep You Accountable
It’s a lot easier to stay on track with your goals when someone is in it with you. If you can find someone to chase a goal with you - great. If not, just ask someone close to you to help keep you accountable. If you have a friend willing to check-in, it’ll help you stray from the excuses you may find creeping in a few days into a resolution.
Don’t wait for the New Year, start making healthy changes today! I hope these suggestions help you not just in your goal to make healthy new year's resolutions this year but to live healthier all year long!