5 Healthy Habits To Focus On For 2021

Author: Nicole Saliba, Accredited Practising Dietitian   Date Posted:28 January 2021 

When the new year arrives, too many people set the bar far too high when it comes to their health goals such as aiming to lose 50kg, completely quitting booze or running every day of the year. Despite the best of intentions, it's estimated that less than 10% of people see their new year's resolutions through. Our resident dietitian Nicole from Eatsense suggests focusing on one or two behaviours to change. Here are her top five realistic health habits to focus on!

 

1. Stress Less

Your mental health is just as important as the food at the end of your fork. Managing your stress levels is important with research showing that chronic stress can wreak havoc on your physical and mental wellbeing with some of the side effects including:

  • Insomnia and sleeping difficulties
  • Weight gain, particularly around the stomach
  • Low mood, depression and anxiety
  • Digestive issues including reflux, bloating and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
  • Increased bloods pressure
  • Changes in appetite (either increased or decreased)

Take steps to better manage your stress levels such as talking to a friend, family member or trained psychologist, doing regular exercise, prioritising your sleep, eating plenty of plant-foods, prioritising self-care and making time to do things simply for you, and maintaining a good social support network of friends

 

2. Prioritise your sleep

Sleep is the foundation of good health, yet many adults are not getting the recommended 7-9hrs sleep per night. Getting good quality sleep is essential when it comes to:

  • Healthy mood and preventing depression
  • Concentration and memory
  • Regulating your appetite
  • Improving exercise performance and recovery and
  • Reducing your risk of conditions such as type two diabetes and heart disease

If you struggle to get enough good quality sleep here are some handy tips

  • Limit your caffeine intake after midday
  • Increase bright light exposure during the day
  • Reduce blue light at night from TVs, phones or computers
  • Stick to a regular sleep routine
  • Avoid eating food too close to bed
  • Cut back or avoid alcohol
  • Try a relaxation app before bed like headspace or smiling mind
  • Chat to your doctor if you are having issues or snoring

 

3. Ditch the fad diets

Less than 5% of people who lose weight on a diet keep it off long-term. In fact, dieting is a risk factor for weight gain. Kinda depressing we know. Focus on eating nutritious minimally processed foods 80% of the time and allow yourself the occasional guilt-free treat 20% of the time. When you focus on healthy, sustainable, realistic habits your weight takes care of itself! Working with an Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) can help you make sustainable changes to improve your health and reduce your weight.

 

4. Eat more fruit and vegetables:

We all know they are good for us but somehow we’re still missing the mark when it comes to eating enough fruit and veg! Only 1 in 20 adults are meeting the recommended serves of fruit and vegetables. Diets that contain a lot of plant-foods such as fruit and vegetables have been shown to protect against a range of health conditions such as dementia, depression and type two diabetes and also increase your life expectancy. Our top tips for boosting your fruit and veggies include

  • Adding spinach, tomato or mushrooms to your eggs or omelettes
  • Grating carrot and zucchini into pasta sauces
  • Snacking on raw vegetables with hummus or dip between meals
  • Adding frozen fruit to smoothies or yoghurt
  • Snacking on apple or pear slices with nut butter
  • Adding four bean mix to salad
  • Adding black beans to taco mince
  • Adding tinned lentils to bolognese sauce
  • Swapping meat burgers for a vegetable burger

 

5. Drink less grog

If you are someone who finds themselves drinking a glass of wine or beer most nights out of habit or because it helps you unwind, you are definitely not alone. Australia recently revised its guidelines in 2020. To reduce the risk of harm from alcohol-related disease or injury, healthy men and women should drink no more than 10 standard drinks a week and no more than 4 standard drinks on any one day. A standard drink is equivalent to:

  • 285mL full strength beer
  • 100mL of wine or champagne
  • 30mL spirits

Regular excessive drinking is linked to an increased risk of some types of cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, memory problems, dementia, mental health issues such as depression and anxiety, weight gain and a weakened immune system. 

 

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More information

Eatsense

https://eatsense.com.au

Activate Foods

https://www.activatefoods.com.au/family

Shop 2 / 222 The Entrance Rd, Erina NSW 2250 


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