The journey towards better health doesn't have to be complicated - or boring! With some simple changes you can transform your lifestyle and achieve your goals without guilt, shame or feeling deprived. Get started with these top 10 health hacks for the new year!
1 SWITCH OFF FOR MEALS Create a peaceful and distraction-free environment when you eat. Sit down at the table, away from electronic devices, and savour each bite mindfully. This practice promotes awareness of your body's hunger and fullness signals to prevent overeating and increase mealtime satisfaction.
2 MAKE FRIENDS WITH SALAD Bye-bye boring salads! Make your healthy salad as delicious as possible so you actually want to dig in. Think toasted nuts, crumbled feta, roasted pumpkin, caramelised onions, fried shallots, wasabi peas and of course flavour-packed dressings. Fun fact: olive oil-based dressings actually help your body absorb the nutrients in salad vegies.
3 START THE DAY RIGHT Do you reach for your phone to doom scroll or hit the snooze button the minute you wake? Research suggests a consistent morning routine is key for building healthy habits and long-term weight management.
This might look like some gentle exercise or meditation (preferably outdoors), a nutritious, protein-rich breakfast (such as eggs on grainy toast) and enough time to plan and reflect on the day ahead.
4 SHOP SMARTER Tip number one: write a shopping list. Tip number two: don't shop when you're hungry. These two simple strategies can make all the difference to what ends up in your trolley.
One study found that people who used a shopping list made fewer unplanned purchases during their shopping trips. The study also found that hungry shoppers without lists bought more than others.
5 MOVE WITH JOY Gone are the days where exercise was a chore - and a bore. It actually can be a fun and pleasurable experience. Whether it's dancing, ocean swimming, bushwalking with a pal or playing a team sport, make exercise an enjoyable part of your life.
6 SAY HELLO TO H20 Water is a powerful ally in your health journey. Not only does it keep you hydrated, but it also aids digestion and can help curb unnecessary snacking. Spice up your hydration routine by infusing water with fresh fruits or herbs to add flavour and excitement.
7 CROWD YOUR PLATE Weight-loss advice typically focuses on putting less on your plate, not more - but here's a different take. Crowd at least half your plate with colourful, fibre-filled vegetables.
Fill another quarter with lean proteins such as grilled chicken, fish or tofu and the remaining quarter with whole grains like quinoa or brown rice, or legumes like lentils or chickpeas. This method ensures a balanced, nutrient-dense meal that will fill you up and keep you satisfied.
8 MAKE OVER YOUR KITCHEN Transform your kitchen into a healthy haven by decluttering it of not-so-healthy temptations. Place a well-stocked fruit bowl on the kitchen bench and store cut fruit and veg and nuts at eye level in the fridge.
Store food and alcohol you want to be out of mind in hard-to-reach places. Tempting treat foods or snacks you buy for entertaining are best stashed away at the back of the pantry where you won't see them daily.
9 COOK, EAT & FREEZE Meal prep is not for everyone, but a simple trick to ensure you have healthy meals on hand for busy weeknights is to double the recipe when cooking and freeze the other half.
Slow-cooked meals, bolognese and curries are all tasty and ideal meals to batch cook once, eat twice (for lunch the next day) and freeze leftovers.
10 PACK YOUR SNACKS Buying snack food out and about is costly to your health and your budget. Instead, set aside five minutes a day to pack healthy snacks.
Our top on-the-go snacks include: a piece of fruit, a high-fibre muesli bar, a handful of nuts, wholegrain crackers with cheese, veg sticks with hummus or a tub of yoghurt.
How to MAKE YOUR NEW HABITS STICK!
No matter which area of your health and well-being you'd like to make over, the following three-step plan can help.
STEP ONE Work towards one or two goals at a time. Research shows the brain can't handle working on too many resolutions or changes at once, so rather than trying to go for all your health goals together, pick the one or two most important to you right now.
STEP TWO Be SMART about it. Take your bigger goal - like exercising more - and crunch it down into a routine that's Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-related.
For example: "My goal is to do more exercise, so in February I'll go for a walk every weekday before work." It's specific, you can measure whether you achieve it, it's attainable and realistic and - by including 'in February' it's time-related.
STEP THREE Turn the routines involved in achieving your goal into a habit. That way you'll keep doing them and move closer to your goal, even if life gets busy or your motivation wobbles.
To do it, employ the three Rs; Reminder, Routine and Repeat. If you want your routine to be going for a walk every day before work in February, choose a reminder that'll trigger you to do it.
This might be your morning alarm or finishing your coffee. Then, whenever you encounter that reminder, repeat the routine, Its a research-based behavioural tactic that experts say helps habits form - which takes roughly two months.