With the last few weeks of the year often fraught with indulgence and guilty eating, leading dietitian Susie Burrell is encouraging all Australians to embrace the New Year as a time to rethink restrictive diets and take up long-term strategies towards a healthier lifestyle instead.
January is a popular time to hit the reset button, however end-of-year festivities aren’t the only reason we might be feeling a bit more sluggish than usual going into 2022.
Over the past two years, the pandemic has resulted in a surge of negative health impacts, including larger caloric intakes with the increased consumption of high-energy dense comfort foods1 and even more sedentary, inactive lifestyle habits(2).
Additionally, with many Australians now looking to make up for lost time and memories from social occasions, Susie says that it’s only natural to see a bounce back in the consumption of larger portions and indulgent foods, now that we can dine out again.
Though it’s tempting to start the New Year with the mindset of needing to lose the ‘Covid’ kilos, Susie explains that this mindset should be avoided as we head into January.
“The last few years have been tough and we all deserve to indulge a little during Christmas and the New Year without feeling guilty afterwards, however moderation is important,” Susie says.
Aside from resisting the urge to try and lose weight quickly, Susie also encourages Australians to divert their New Year resolutions towards goals that are more than just looking good for the summer.
“Oftentimes, the New Year, new me approach doesn’t work because it’s seasonal. It lasts for that short period when you’re motivated to lose weight and feel good for the start of the year. If you’re lucky, a New Year’s health kick might last a few weeks or months.”
Susie suggests a more concerted effort towards adopting better long-term lifestyle habits, and a healthier more integrated approach towards food, will prove more successful.
“Everyone should stop and think about how they can adapt their food and lifestyle choices in order to feel more nourished, both mentally and physically, for every season.”
Fortunately, Susie says that you can make sustainable food choices for long-term health that don’t involve following short term diets or severely restricting the intake of calories.
“Your first step should be to choose nutritionally balanced, whole food options for every meal by incorporating a protein, fruits or vegetables and a carbohydrate.”
“Adding a serving of protein to every meal will help prolong that feeling of fullness, slow down snacking and reduce cravings for the processed comfort foods that we’ve gotten used to during lockdowns, which only satiate your hunger for short periods of time.
“A really simple and tasty way to add protein to your diet is by adding a spoonful of Mayver’s Peanut Butter to your morning smoothie or eating with slices of apple in the afternoon.
“Some other strategies include experimenting with new recipes or ingredients you’ve never tried before, looking for nutritionally balanced meals on restaurant menus or enjoying smaller portions at home on the days you are planning on eating out.
“If you shift the way you think about food as being the fuel for optimising your health instead of being a limitation, you’ll begin to have a much more positive long term relationship with food and your body, and the physical change will follow.”
For delicious and nutritious recipes to refresh your eating habits into the New Year and beyond, try Sam Wood’s Peanut Butter and Strawberry Quesadillas, Satay Chicken Skewers or Green PB Smoothie.
Mayver’s New Year recipes:
- Sam Wood’s Peanut Butter and Strawberry Quesadillas
- Sam Wood’s Satay Chicken Skewers
- Sam Wood’s Green Peanut Butter Smoothie
- Sam Wood’s Healthy Pad Thai
Mayver’s is an Australian family-owned natural spread company. All Mayver’s natural spreads are vegan and contain absolutely no added oil, sugar, gluten, dairy, cholesterol or hardened fats and are nothing but goodness for your family.
Mayver’s products are available at Woolworths, Coles and independent retailers Australia-wide. For more information or recipe inspiration visit mayvers.com.au