Easy-ish lifestyle changes for a healthier new year


Words by Kate Streader

Some simple resolutions for 2022.

A new year is a clean slate and after the past two years, we could certainly use a fresh start. Lockdown shook up our lives in so many ways. The disruption to our regular routines, as well as the mental exhaustion of the ongoing stay-at-home orders, saw most of us exercising less, drinking more alcohol, ordering takeout regularly and basically just indulging in order to feel good.  

The lockdown habits we picked up have been hard to shake, even now that most restrictions have lifted. And while it’s harder to make healthy changes around Christmas time when temptation is rife and celebrations are constant, the New Year is a great time to reset

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So, with a healthier 2022 in mind, we asked GoodnessMe founder Peta Shulman for some tips on making simple lifestyle changes. GoodnessMe is a health food subscription box service and online health food store that makes it easy for you to choose products that are better for you and the planet.

Peta says a good starting place is at the beginning of the day. Yes, we’ve all heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and it’s true. 

Breakfast gets you and your metabolism fired up for the day ahead, so you want to eat something nourishing that is going to fuel you and keep you satiated all morning. Peta recommends opting for a wholesome, filling breakfast like porridge using Ceres Organics Rolled Oats

She also advises against quick fixes and short-term diets. Not only are diets unhealthy since they usually require cutting out entire food groups or consuming way fewer calories than you need, but they aren’t sustainable and any results you see will disappear as soon as the diet ends. 

It’s far better to make realistic changes that you can maintain, like incorporating more wholefoods in your diet and being mindful of your portioning. Peta recommends following the Healthy Eating Plate guide if you’re unsure how to create a balanced meal. 

A well-portioned meal calls for “half veggies, a quarter protein, quarter wholegrain, and a dollop of healthy fat like avocado or the Undivided Food Co’s Good Fat Mayo, my favourite!” she says. 

Another great habit to adopt is reading food labels, so you know what’s in what you’re eating and can make better, informed choices. A lot of unsuspecting foods are full of sugar and other artificial flavours and colourings you probably don’t even realise you’re consuming. 

Everything from cereals to salad dressings and stir-fry sauces is stacked with sneaky sugars. Food labels can be very confusing, so GoodnessMe has a great guide to help you decode the jargon and understand exactly what you’re eating. 

Gut health is another important thing to consider if you’re looking to make healthier choices. What’s going on in our guts impacts our overall health and has a significant effect on our mental health, so you want to make sure you’re keeping your gut flora happy. 

Bone broth, fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut, and probiotic-rich foods like yogurt and miso are easy to add to meals or eat as snacks and they’re all great for your tummy. 

Alcohol also plays a massive role in your overall health. It can affect your sleep and mental health, it’s often laden with sugar, and too much of it can cause significant health issues over time.

You don’t have to go sober to be healthy though, just be mindful of your intake and look at reducing your alcohol consumption if you notice it creeping up. 

A lot of social activities revolve around drinking, but with so many alcohol-free options available, you can still go out or have dinner and drinks with your mates without feeling left out. 

Peta warns against restricting yourself, though. You need to be reasonable and embrace lifestyle changes you can sustain long-term. That means you don’t have to say goodbye to your favourite treats, just make sure you aren’t overdoing it and try to make healthier swaps where you can. 

“Don’t cut out chocolate – deprivation creates restrictions and unhealthy dieting and eating habits,” she says. “Choose brands that make their chocolate with a high percentage of cacao or cocoa and other nourishing ingredients, like Alter Eco, Loving Earth, and Bennetto.”

That goes for soft drinks, too. If you’re a big fan of sugary drinks, opt for a healthier alternative like Remedy Kombuchas, Dash Sparkling Water, or Naked Life Iced Teas instead, which aren’t full of sugar, artificial sweeteners and other nasties. 

And most importantly, don’t set yourself up to fail by trying to change your entire life overnight. 

“Start small,” says Peta. “There’s nothing worse than making changes and feeling completely overwhelmed because there are so many changes to make. I’d recommend to start one at a time. It can be overwhelming to do everything at once.”

Head to GoodnessMe to shop better-for-you pantry staples and snacks that are actually delicious and delivered right to your door. If you’re not sure where to start, discover products monthly and try before you buy with the GoodnessMe Subscription Box.

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