New Year, new you: how to keep healthy eating on track in 2018 by Dale Pinnock

So, we are now at the point where statistically most New Year’s resolutions have been broken and abandoned. Tens of thousands of people make the resolution to eat healthier, but few stick to it. Why? From my perspective, I think that many people embark on a diet or way of eating that is restrictive, not enjoyable or sustainable. They cut out too many foods and devise unrealistic plans for themselves.

If you really want to make lasting and more meaningful changes to your diet, then it’s important to make ones that are realistic, simple, achievable and practical.

Here are a few of my favourites. None are over the top. None are restrictive. They are simple swaps, add-ons or practical techniques that will drive you towards a healthy diet in the long term.

Give your favourites a facelift

Rule number one – DON’T deny yourself of the food that you love. Learn how to adapt it.

For example, if you love pizza, you can still eat it! Instead, use a ready-made wholemeal bread mix to create a healthier base, top it with greens, red onions, and garlic.

If you like burgers? Awesome. Learn how to make home-made burgers that are bursting with nutrients and flavour. You get the idea. Learn ways to make your everyday favourite foods healthier. This way you can enjoy the foods that you love and you can eat healthier at the same time. That’s the ultimate win-win as far as I’m concerned.

Focus on wild seafood

Rule number two. Now, I’m certainly no vegetarian, but I do encourage everyone to veer towards wild seafood as their protein of choice. No matter what format you buy it in – chilled, frozen or canned – it’s about adding something wonderful to a plate.

Seafood, particularly oily fish such as wild Alaska salmon has so many amazing benefits. It is rich in omega 3 fatty acids which deliver anti-inflammatory activity. It also has benefits for cardiovascular health; maintaining the healthiness of the eyes, nervous system and immunity. You should aim to eat oily fish 2-3 times a week for maximum benefit.

White fish – such as Genuine Alaska pollock, which is very similar to cod, is also a nutritional power source, jam packed with protein and minerals.

Plan your meals in advance 

Rule number three – always make time to plan your weekday meals.

Get a bank of healthy recipes that you really enjoy making and start planning your weekday meals from them. I say weekday meals only because I personally like to chill out a bit at the weekend and be less strict with myself. Obviously, I’m not saying any of you need to be strict, it’s just a personal choice that I have made for myself. Planning meals means you have one less thing to worry about during your busy week. Dinner is taken care of!

Shop according to your plan

Rule number four – go to the supermarket after you have planned your meals for the week and shop according to your plan. List all the ingredients you need and stick to it. A targeted shopping list will help keep you focused… just make sure you keep away from those impulse buys that supermarkets often lure you in to.

Rule number five – batch cook

This is one of my absolute favourite hacks. I seem to talk about it constantly, but it is such a no brainer.

When you have a little extra time, say at the weekend, spend a little more time in the kitchen cooking. Make dishes in batches four or five times bigger than you normally would. Get yourself some takeaway containers from the supermarket and divide these meals out in single portions and then throw them into the freezer. Voila.

You are basically starting to stock pile your own healthy ready meals. This can be an absolute godsend for those days from hell or when you end up getting home later than anticipated. Yearning for a chippy tea might be tempting, but having batch cooked you just need to go to the freezer and a healthy homemade meal is at your fingertips.

Great dishes for batch cooking include curries, stews, chillies etc. Wild Alaska seafood also has the added bonus of being able to be cooked straight from frozen. Trust me, this one tip can save you so much time and money whilst keeping your diet goals on track.

Have some pre-cooked staples on hand

My sixth and final rule. Nowadays, with greater interest in healthier food, there are so many options in our supermarkets. Things like packets of pre-cooked brown rice, wild canned salmon, pearl barley, quinoa, pulses etc. mean that you can have nutritious accompaniments that will be ready in minutes. Get some of these and keep them in your store cupboard. These can be perfect options to go alongside your batch cooked meals. A healthy meal at the end of a long day with minimal effort.