It’s January again, signaled by the post-holiday underwhelm, award-show coverage (i.e. big moments for “The Bear” at the Emmys), and MLK Day. Each new year invites new beginnings and resolutions so you can start fresh and improve your way of life. January is a clean slate.
One of the best ways to start anew is to embrace a healthier lifestyle. If one of your New Year’s resolutions was to implement healthy dietary habits into your daily routine, read on for a few easy ways to get started.
Why Healthy Habits Are Important
What you eat and drink each day can have a major impact on your physical and mental wellness. Maintaining an unhealthy diet filled with sugar can lead to high blood sugar and, therefore, put you at risk of heart disease. Eating high amounts of sugar can also cause mental health issues such as depression.
However, eating well can supply you with vitamins and nutrients designed to keep you energized throughout the day. A healthy diet can also aid in both maintaining and losing weight, as well as improving your mood. Starting small with a few simple ways to incorporate healthy practices into your routine can gradually have these positive effects on your life.
Some Healthy Habits to Bring Into the New Year
1. Cut back on sugar for breakfast.
We’ve heard the saying, “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day,” many times, but why is breakfast so important? What we eat for breakfast can set the tone for our hunger and our blood sugar levels for the rest of the day. If you start your day off with a meal filled with sugar, you can become hungrier throughout the day than when eating heart-healthy breakfast meals. Also, your blood sugar levels can rise, which increases your chances of having heart problems later in life.
To prevent these negative effects on your health, consider choosing healthier food alternatives to begin your day the right way. Eggs, oatmeal, fruits, and whole wheat toast are just a few simple and affordable options for a better breakfast. You could also try taking your favorite sugary breakfast foods and making them sugar-free instead. If you’re looking for ideas of sugar-free breakfast recipes, check out a few of Sweetleaf’s breakfast recipes that use healthy, sugar-free products while preserving the same great taste.
2. Avoid sugary drinks; instead focus on drinking plenty of water.
Sugar is not only abundant in breakfast foods but in your favorite drinks as well. While many sodas and sugary coffee-shop orders may be delicious and perfect for a once-in-a-while treat, constantly consuming these drinks can have those same negative impacts on your health that sugary foods can. Some popular 20 fl oz. bottles of soda can contain over 60 grams of sugar, while a 16 fl oz. pumpkin spice latte can contain as much as 50 grams of sugar.
Instead, focus the drinking part of your diet on your water consumption. Water is essential for many important bodily functions. The less water you drink, the more likely you are to become dehydrated and dizzy throughout the day. This habit is especially important if exercising daily is one of your New Year’s resolutions; drinking enough water can boost your performance as you exercise. It is recommended that men drink about 3 liters of water each day, and women need to drink around 2 liters a day.
If one of the reasons you tend to stray away from drinking water is the flavorlessness of it, try using water enhancers in your water bottle. Looking for a healthy, natural flavor to use? Sweetleaf’s Water Drops may be the perfect boost of encouragement you need to drink more water, adding fun and flavor to your new healthy routine. No calories, no sugar, only great flavor.
3. Try a new healthy, sugar-free recipe each week.
It’s one thing to start fresh each new year; it’s another to start fresh with new ways to eat healthy each week, encouraging you to keep up with your habits. Try a new recipe each week that cuts back on sugar. Look up your favorite foods or treats and include “sugar-free” or “healthy” in the search term.
Don’t know where to start? SweetLeaf has a collection of healthy, delicious recipes to choose from so you can make your favorite foods without the guilt. You can also take your favorite sugary recipes and replace your normal granular sugar with Indulge Granular, a zero-calorie natural stevia sweetener that measures cup for cup just like sugar.
Put Yourself and Your Health First
This new year, focus on you. Focus on your health, your goals, and your overall wellbeing. Resolutions aren’t just statements made on January 1st and never said again; they’re real commitments that show how you want to better your everyday life. Taking simple steps is the best way to encourage yourself to keep up with these practices to the point where they can become daily habits and improve your health in the long run.