As we step into 2017, I’m sure many of you are busy cracking your heads on some worthy New Year resolutions. Wealth, happiness, travel, and many more along those lines could very well top your list but let’s be real here – we’re not accomplishing anything without health.
2016 was a year plagued by newborn diseases like MERS, Zika and strains of the Avian Influenza so it is no understatement to say our health is constantly threatened. While we put our faith in the hands of scientists and doctors to develop vaccines and cures, there is much we can do to safeguard our health.
If you’ve been exercising regularly, good on you! BUT – healthy living is not just about working out regularly.
It is a lifestyle that’s all about balance. I know it can be a real challenge to switch up your current lifestyle when you are so used to living this way. (We’re all creatures of habit after all.)
No one is expecting you to make a 360degree change overnight but we got to start somewhere and, fortunately, that somewhere starts with these simple steps. Here are some tips endorsed by dietitian Wong Hui Xin from Mount Elizabeth Hospital, to help you fulfil that 2017 resolution of eating healthy!
Spice Up Your Water
Now, we know water is great for us. But it’s tasteless, and it can sometimes be a chore to drink water. (I feel you, mate.) What do you say about spicing up that boring cup of water with a slice of lemon?
Lemon water is definitely more flavourful than regular water. But it’s also beneficial in several other ways, including raising antioxidant levels, which in turns lowers the risk of several diseases, improving digestion leaving you less bloated, and helping with detoxification so you potentially save big bucks you might have spent on a detox programme elsewhere.
Lemon is just one way you can spice up your water. If you find it too much of a hassle to carry a lemon around (because it honestly can be quite the weight), teabags are a much more viable option. Apart from increasing antioxidant levels, teas like green tea also boost metabolism and kill bacteria.
Choose The Healthier Snacks
Less ice-cream and chocolate bars, more fruits.
I’m guessing you’ve heard this one too many times but fruits definitely make a much more healthier choice of sugary snacks. They’re a great source of vitamins and nutrients that help strengthen your immune system to keep viruses at bay. So the old saying that goes “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” is kind of true.
That being said, we all would appreciate some variation too, right?
Bring those nuts and seeds on!
Image Credit: Michelin Guide Singapore
Instead of munching on chips and biscuits (especially during office hours when you’re desk-bound for 8 hours – let’s not even get started on how detrimental that can be for your health!), go for almonds! Almonds are loaded with all the good nutrients you need to keep maintain healthy levels of blood sugar, cholesterol and blood pressure. If nuts aren’t your favourite, go for sunflower seeds! They are as beneficial as almonds.
Not to mention they’re easy to buy from any convenient store!
Have A Salad
You already know you should aim to consume 2 servings of vegetables and fruits a day yet many of us don’t. Salads are the easiest way to work those into your meals.
Image Credit: Resilience Fitness
As a general guide to deciding what goes into your salad, you should always aim for a colourful bowl of vegetables to get a wide range of nutrients. As for proteins, opt for grilled options, or tofu for vegans. Finally, don’t forget some carbohydrates! Foods like corns, beans, and potatoes make for a balanced meal.
Remember that not all salads are created equal – creamy dressings are a major no-no. For healthier dressings, opt for vinaigrettes or olive oil.
The Healthier Choice Label
It’s easy to miss but products endorsed by the Health Promotion Board are lower in fat, sodium, and sugar, and some are also higher in calcium and dietary fibre compared to other options within the same food category.
If you absolutely have to get your sugared drinks fix, although I’d highly suggest you skip the midday bubble tea, the least you could do is to purchase those with lower sugar content. That way, you can have the cake and eat it too!
Order Only What You Can Eat
We’re all guilty of it – over-ordering. We walk into a fancy café and everything on the menu suddenly looks mouth-watering so we make a pact to order a dish each and share. But we don’t forget to pile on the dessert and appetisers as well. More often than not, we end up with more than enough food.
Over-ordering, and then over-eating, can lead to indigestion and bloat. More importantly, if you do finish all that food, you are bound to exceed your recommended daily calorie intake and all the suggested nutrients levels as well.
The best way to not do so is to opt for smaller servings. It can be as simple as asking for a smaller serving of rice or just holding off orders until you’ve cleared all the food on the table.
Now that wasn’t so difficult, was it? These are some handy tips that will make changing your lifestyle a tad easier.
So before we dive into how we want to embark on a month-long tour around Europe, or scoot on a beach holiday to Boracay, let us go forth and create a healthier us!