Thursday, February 2, 2017. You might know it as Groundhog Day, but it’s also the day that most people kiss their unsustainable New Year’s resolutions goodbye. According to Foursquare and Swarm data, the first Thursday in February is the day that the rise in fast food check-ins and downturn in gym check-ins meet. Why? Every January the internet is abuzz with crash detoxes and diet fads, none of which are healthy or sustainable. And evidently, most don’t make it beyond a month.
But developing good eating habits isn’t about extremes like swearing off gluten forever, never eating fries again, or pretending dessert doesn’t exist. It’s about making a habit of choosing the better option (and even indulging once in a while). Here are some simple swaps you can make in 2017 to get and stay healthy this new year.
- Breakfast pastries for toast—Breakfast pastries (aka dessert in the morning) flood your body with a ton of sugar, and set you up for a mid-morning crash. Try whole grain toast with nut butter and banana slices; avocado, olive oil and sea salt; an egg, sautéd spinach and Sriracha; goat cheese and berries… Bottom line, ditch the added sugar for some whole grains, protein, healthy fats and fruit.
- Sugary cereal/granola for homemade muesli—Muesli is a combination of raw oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and other whole grains. It is high in protein, low in added sugar, and delicious with milk or yogurt.
- Soda for seltzer—Seltzer aka soda water aka sparkling water is cold and fizzy without the chemicals or added sugar. If you need some sweetness, try adding frozen or fresh pieces of fruit to the bottom of your glass.
- Pepperoni pizza for veggie pizza—Thin crust pizza piled high with veggies from your local, family-run pizza joint is lower in fat and higher in vitamins, minerals and fiber than your typical meat-laden, chain-store pizza. Better yet, make it yourself!
- Hamburgers for veggie burgers—A thick slice of grilled mushroom or eggplant is a sustainable, meaty burger alternative, with less fat, and more vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Try these Eggplant Sliders the next time you get a hankering for a burger.
- Spaghetti for spiralized veggie noodles—Spiralized zucchini or squash is a great vehicle for your favorite pasta sauce without the refined carbs. Spiralized noodles give your body the vitamins, minerals and fiber it needs, plus extra flavor too. Try this recipe for Zoodles with Basil Pesto.
- French fries for sweet-potato “fries”—Baked Sweet Potato Fries are lower in fat and higher in antioxidants. Plus, they’re naturally sweet, and help curb sugar cravings.
- Chips for crispy chickpeas—Protein-rich, Roasted Chickpeas are craveably crispy and salty, but without the bad fat from the fryer. Plus, they’re higher in fiber and nutrients too.
- White flour cookies for almond flour cookies—Almond flour is packed with protein, and making the cookies yourself lets you control the sugar. Try these Sesame and Anise Cookies that are sweetened with maple syrup.
- Ice cream for banana “ice cream”—Store-bought ice cream is packed with added sugar and saturated fat. Making Banana “Ice Cream” at home in your food processor is equally as sweet and creamy, no added sugar required.
- Candy bars for dark chocolate + nuts—Candy bars are often packed with sugar and chemicals. If you want a chocolatey treat, try dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) with a handful of toasted almonds. Dark chocolate has less sugar, and nuts are full of protein to help your body manage the sugar load.