The end of the year can inspire reflection and introspection as we consider what we have accomplished and all the things we have left to achieve, including the health habits we pursue.
Staying healthy and fit usually tops the list of New Year’s Resolutions, as people seek to cleanse and detoxify from the gluttony of the holiday season. But we’d like to throw an idea out there: what if you were able to maintain your health habits all year round, rather than abandon them a few weeks later?
These 10 health habits are straightforward, simple, inexpensive and don’t subscribe to any fad diet philosophy. They are attainable, which means you can start practising them after you finish reading this post and won’t get sick of them by next week.
After all, today is the day!
10 Health Habits To Start Right Now
Water is fundamental to our health. It keeps us hydrated, aids digestion and elimination, keeps our skin and joints supple, and ferries nutrients, proteins, hormones and chemical signals around the body. Confused about the best type of water to drink? We have all of the options to consider here.
We like to start the day by drinking a cup of water with a tablespoon of lemon juice to help to kickstart digestion, encourage detoxification and alkalize the body. Plus, since some of us struggle to drink water throughout the day, coming right out of the gate with a full glass of water hydrates you and will perhaps encourage you to drink more of it!
Use fresh-squeezed lemon juice (not juice from a lemon-shaped bottle, please) to receive the best health benefits. If you find it a pain to cut and squeeze your lemons every morning, juice several lemons at once and keep the juice in a jar in the fridge. It will last for about a week, and you can use the juice in other recipes like salad dressings or other condiments.
If you need help remembering to drink water during the day, fill up a bunch of water bottles or set a reminder on your phone. Remember that herbal teas, fresh-pressed juices, and hot and cold dairy-free elixirs help too!
Move your body each day.
Our bodies aren’t meant to sit in front of computers all day. We’re sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but using your thumbs on your smartphone doesn’t count as a workout.
While working up a sweat is great for detoxification (remember, our skin is our largest elimination organ), gentle exercise every day helps to improve circulation, bring oxygen to our tissues and lift our mood. Try walking, cycling, rebounding, dancing, or hatha yoga to get yourself moving.
Eat at least one green thing daily.
Green foods – including dark leafy greens, cruciferous vegetables, seaweeds, green herbs like parsley, mint, dill and more – are jam-packed with a plethora of nutrients that support our overall health.
Antioxidants, healthy fats, fibre, anti-cancer compounds, amino acids, anti-inflammatory phytochemicals, blood-building minerals – green-pigmented foods are like taking a multivitamin. With the wide variety of green foods to choose from, you’ll be sure to find at least a few that you can rotate throughout your meals daily.
If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, check out this post detailing 5 ways to eat dark leafy greens.
Pack your own lunch.
If you attend school or work outside your home, pack yourself a lunch and snacks to keep your health goals on track and keep your blood sugar levels balanced. This saves you a ton of money, too! You don’t have to make healthy lunches complicated – choose easy recipe-free dinner bowls, Mason jar soups and salads, fruit, fresh veggies, and dips or spreads.
Reduce your refined sugar consumption.
Sugary foods are a scourge to our health – and eating them can lead to a host of conditions including diabetes, obesity, cardiovascular disease, cancer, hormonal issues, poor moods, and cavities. This is one of the more challenging health habits to kick! We know it’s hard to drop the sugar and these tips on how to deal with sugar cravings can really help. Give yourself time and space to reduce your consumption, if needed.
If you do find yourself in the mood for a treat, try one of these natural sweeteners and use a smaller amount in your tea, elixirs or baked goodies.
Try to eat more vegetables.
Whether you’re vegan, Paleo or omnivorous, you’ll want to eat more vegetables. Fresh veggies provide us with fibre, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants that work to support optimal health. But eating more veggies is easier said than done, especially if your broccoli and Brussels sprouts tend to languish in the crisper. How can you get more veggies in your diet without being overwhelmed by cooking? With these 14 ideas, you can learn how to eat more vegetables and enjoy them thoroughly!
Meal prep or batch cook for easy eating.
Here’s a secret for you: the key to healthy eating isn’t actually cooking – it’s meal prepping and batch cooking. Once you’ve got your ingredients prepped and ready to go, it’s a breeze to whip up a one-pot meal, throw something in the slow cooker or Instant Pot, or assemble a recipe-free dinner bowl. If you batch cook recipes, all you need to do is defrost and reheat!
Fuel yourself with high-quality protein sources.
Good quality protein is crucial to daily function, and some of us don’t get enough of it. Protein helps us to produce digestive enzymes, generate hormones, build our immunity and blood, structure our bones, teeth, hair, nails and skin, and offer us energy. Try these 21 Ways to Get More Protein in Your Diet if you’re struggling to eat enough!
It’s important to choose protein sources carefully, particularly if you eat animal products. We recommend purchasing organic animal protein sources, preferably from a local farmer that you know and trust. If you’re vegan, ensure you choose organic, non-GMO soy products, and opt for raw, organic nuts and seeds to avoid pesticides.
To make nuts, seeds, beans and legumes more digestible, soak them and cook them using these tricks. You can also learn how to make your own nut and seed butter, as well as how to cook beans and legumes perfectly.
Make good use of food leftovers.
Cooking from scratch is overwhelming if you try to make 3 different meals and two separate snacks every day – that adds up to over 30 recipes per week! Instead, learn to breathe new life into leftover meals and ingredients to save an immense amount of time and money. Plus, transforming leftovers into something new helps to vastly reduce food waste.
Discover the vast multitude of ways you can use up leftovers here.
Gratitude lowers our stress levels, enhances our relationships and improves sleep. Gratitude is a muscle that we need to ‘work out’ daily – and here are some fantastic tips for how to practice it.
Think about the things you are grateful for: food, partners, parents, friends, children, a roof over your head, a warm bed to sleep in, sunshine, the possibilities are endless. Write down what you are grateful for, either in a list you can consult to remind yourself of your blessings or on post-it notes that you can display around the house where you can see them. If you feel so inclined, write someone a love letter to tell them why you are grateful to have him or her in your life.
The more gratitude you display, the more likely it is that gratitude will return to you and enhance your daily life.