This time of year, many people make New Year's resolutions, and if one of the latest surveys is to be believed, 26 per cent of them involve eating healthier. We have a food and health theme on Wednesdays, so what better way to summarise some thoughts on healthy New Year's resolutions, diets and healthy eating in the long run?
Our food and health theme
What, a food and health theme on a travel blog? Yes, although our focus is travelling, we do blog about other things sometimes. And health is important to be able to travel! Then, I, Helena, happen to work as a public health scientists with a focus on food and physical activity. Peter thought I should write about food and health and there have been five posts so far:
- Food is more than nutrition - thoughts on food and health
- Research on food and health - what to believe?
- Cheap and healthy - can you eat healthy on a budget?
- Healthy eating at Christmas - do you need to think about it?
- Childhood Christmas - food memories and traditions
New Year's resolutions for better health - good or bad?
Of course, you can start new healthy habits any day of the year, but if the New Year feels like a good time for a fresh start, that's great! The challenge of course is to "promise" things that you can stick to in the long run. If you "take it from the toes" and decide on very big changes, there is a risk that you get tired after a few weeks.
Healthy food is also about absolutely not just about keeping or losing weight, but New Year's resolutions and diets often have this focus, so it will also be a bit of a focus for today's blog post.
Should you choose a specific diet?
Diets often involve avoiding certain foods or groups of foods, and the aim is often to lose weight. One diet may be about avoiding fat, while another is about avoiding carbohydrates. The advantage of this - for some - may be that it is clear what to avoid, making it easier to limit calorie intake. The disadvantage is that there is a risk of not getting the nutrition you need.
Do the diets work - and are some better than others?
Some diets are often marketed as 'magic', not least by those who make money from websites, books or products related to the diet. In fact, most diets show roughly the same results in research studies: if you manage to reduce calories in some way, you manage to lose weight.
What is "magical" is therefore often about what you enjoy, and thus manage to stick to in the long run. For some people, it is easier to reduce calories extra much on certain days of the week (i.e. semi-fasting, such as 5:2), while for others it is easier to reduce a little every day. If you want to read more about different weight loss diets, you can do so at National Food Agency.
Making small changes
For many of us, the absolute best and smartest New Year's resolution (or ok, promise regardless of the day!) can be to make some small changes in our daily lives. Changes that you make each day have a big impact in the long run, even if they are small. Here are some examples of changes you can make:
- At certain times, replace high-calorie drinks (soft drinks, juice, beer, wine) with water.
- Let the vegetables take up more space on the dinner plate.
- Sometimes boil or bake food instead of frying it.
- Make cold sauce from sour cream instead of buying ready-made sauces.
- Serve vegetable sticks with dip instead of chips with dip.
- Eat chocolate and sweets with pleasure and caution.
What are your experiences with New Year's resolutions and diets?
We haven't made a New Year's resolution, but last autumn we decided to new better habitsfor several reasons. We deviated a bit from this over Christmas, but are trying to get back "on track" again. Have you ever made a New Year's resolution about food or diet? Or do you have any other experience with diets? How did it go for you? Tell us!