Each January, many of us resolve to incorporate more veggies, whole grains and lean proteins into our diets. But how many of us actually follow through?
More people commit to healthier lifestyles than any other New Year’s resolution, with 37 percent of us pledging to eat better starting Jan. 1. Closely following that is the resolution to lose weight, which 43 percent of Americans say they want to achieve by eating healthy food.
Like most resolutions, though, we tend to stick with them for a few days or weeks and then trail off. A staggering 80 percent of people abandon their resolutions by Valentine’s Day, just six short weeks after the ball drops in Times Square. A quarter of resolution-makers won’t even last a week!
Even though statistics say that we may not stick to the resolutions we make, it’s clear that we know how important healthy eating is for our overall well-being. So why do we stop filling our plates with fresh, healthy food so soon after pledging to do so?
Fresh meals don’t need to take hours to put together.
Set realistic goals to keep your new healthy habits
Even though we may have the best intentions, resolutions often don’t give us enough directive to actually achieve what we want to do. Our resolutions are often too vague or too unrealistic to be accomplished. Take the impressive goal to eat healthier: how can you define this vague promise? What can you do to make it a part of your everyday life?
Instead, changes should be made in stride: small changes are more likely to stick than a giant, seemingly impossible goal. Set achievable goals instead of chasing after lofty resolutions. Inother words, don’t throw out all the contents of your fridge right away -- start with a fresh, healthy lunch or dinner a few times a week.
So now, you can narrow down your New Year’s resolution from “eat healthier” to “eat a delicious, healthy dinner a few times a week.” That alone can seem daunting -- healthy eating can conjure up images of spending hours over a hot stove, scrubbing dirty pots or spending a ton of time at a crowded grocery store.
Luckily, healthy eating doesn’t need to be that time-consuming!
Time shouldn’t complicate your New Year’s resolution
Two oft-cited reasons for not eating healthy are all about our busy schedules: either we don’t have time to cook -- not to mention prepping, chopping and doing all those dishes -- or we don’t have time to shop for fresh ingredients. Between work, taking care of our families and squeezing in a little time for our hobbies and friends, a busy lifestyle can make it difficult to show a little extra love to our dinner plates, even if it’s only for a few meals each week.
Some of us may turn to frozen dinners during those busy times, meals that promise low calories and many essential vitamins. Don’t be fooled -- this quick solution isn’t healthy. Even if the meal has vegetables, whole grains and proteins, frozen meals are overloaded with sodium and preservatives that can quietly tank your healthy eating goals.
Today, though, it’s easier than ever to commit to eating a delicious, fresh meal a few times each week. Options like fresh single-serve meals are ready to eat in less than 10 minutes, with no prep required. Cleanup is minimal -- you just need to throw away the stay-fresh bag your meal came in.
Now, that’s a resolution we can stick to!