How many of us make New Year’s resolutions and never get beyond the first week – or at best the first month? Why is that? Perhaps because we are trying to change habits overnight; habits that have developed over many years.
Let’s take the example of the dreaded ‘diets’ that so many of us start in January, when of course all the leftover Christmas chocolates and biscuits are still filling the cupboards and our bodies have got used to eating and drinking copious amounts over the festive break! Not surprisingly most of us don’t maintain the diet for long.
So how about being more realistic this year and making small changes on a gradual basis that you can actually stick to?
A good place to start is with increasing fruit and vegetable intake.
Start by assessing what you currently eat by recording an honest food diary (and yes it really does have to be honest) for a week. Chances are you are not eating anything close to the recommended 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day.
You can’t change habits overnight, so start gently and try adding just one or two additional portions of fruit or vegetable a day.
9 simple tips for increasing fruit and vegetable intake:
- Include veg in family staples. For example, add peppers, tomatoes and onions to an omelette. Or if you are making a Bolognese sauce, finely chop whatever veg you have left in your fridge – carrots, mushrooms, courgette, butternut squash… and add to your softened onions for a few minutes before you add your browned mince and tomato sauce.
- Replace meat with vegetables, for example make a veggie curry instead of a meat one. St. Dalfour have a lovely Kumquat and Minted Cucumber Yoghurt recipe to accompany it.
- Don’t be afraid of frozen, dried or canned fruit – they can be a quick and easy addition. Add a handful of Dalfour cranberries and raisins (packed without preservatives) to your breakfast porridge / yoghurt / muesli.
- Make a filling vegetable soup that can be used for lunch or supper. Try our family favourite, chop up 1 large squash, 1 courgette, 1 red pepper, 2 carrots, 1 onion. Soften onion and then add tsp chilli powder, ½ tsp cumin, tsp paprika; add rest of veg and a tin of tomatoes plus enough veg stock to fully cover; bring to the boil, then simmer for 20 mins or so; mash down then add a few tablespoons of red lentils and more stock if required; adjust seasoning to suit; cook for a further 30 mins, then mash a little for a chunky soup or blitz some in a food processor as preferred.
- Swap biscuits for healthier snacks such as hummus and veg sticks; a handful of dried fruit and nuts; a fruit smoothie. Or try the St. Dalfour recipes for Pear Crumble Bars or Gluten Free Apricot and Chestnut Energy Bites for tasty and filling snacks that will see you through the day.
- Stuff your sandwiches – spinach and avocado are great in a routine chicken sandwich; try to have at least two veg in each sandwich.
- If you’re not too keen on veg try grating or pureeing them so that they can be a ‘hidden’ For example, blitz up several veg such as mushrooms, peppers, onions squash, carrots and aubergine. Stir some into a casserole or add to tomato sauce for pasta dishes
- Eat the rainbow – this is a great way to make you add veg and fruit to your day. If you think about trying to eat the rainbow you will naturally include more variety into your diet. Start with one day a week when you eat a variety form each of the food colour groups – red, green, yellow, orange, purple and then build this up over time.
- Dalfour fruit spreads are made with delicious fruit sweetened only with fruit juice concentrate, so if you want to taste the fruit in your jam and not just the sugar, why not give them a try? 100% spreadable fruit!
The successful way to change habits is to do it slowly and gradually, so start with one extra portion of fruit and vegetable a day and build from there, then you will finally have a New Year’s resolution that you can keep!