4 Tips to Keep that New Year’s Diet on Track (that Don’t Feel Like Another Diet Plan)

by Chef Wards

A walk down the supermarket snack aisle is an incredible sight. The sheer amount of potato chip flavors is overwhelming, not to mention the double-stuffed cookies oozing with delicious filling. No wonder finding an easy-to-stick-to weight loss plan is about as likely as finding a unicorn. 

You already know the problem with all of this sweet and savory goodness. Many of these snacks are packed with salt and sugar. In fact, we Americans love sugar so much that we eat over 100 pounds of it a year. That is a lot more than the roughly 13 teaspoons per day that they recommend. It’s closer to 30 teaspoons per day!

But it isn’t entirely our fault. Many snack foods have been strategically, thoughtfully, and powerfully engineered to keep us coming back for more. Consider this study on Dorito’s. It turns out they were impeccably designed by savvy food scientists to offer you the perfect, finger-licking tortilla chip. No wonder Dorito’s are a top-selling snack!

With so many temptatious treats knocking at your door, healthy eating can be a battle. And you might feel like you are losing the war. Diet plans and weight loss tips might leave you feeling discouraged with their daunting to-do lists. Or maybe you find some of the latest fads simply bizarre. If you search Google for tips on how to diet to lose weight, you might find yourself asking strange questions like What is a carnivore diet and why is it trending? 

Our 4 tips to eat healthier in the New Year don’t include diet gimmicks or well-intentioned advice that doesn’t stick. We think that when it comes to eating and positive change that lasts, it’s all about the small things. Little changes lead to big results over time. 

Try just one of these tips and you’re sure to start seeing a difference in the way you feel. 

Image Description:Woman eats healthy fruit.

1. Know thyself (and what’s in thine fridge).

Favorite snack foods can be regional, as this map proves. Snack foods can even become a trend in a particular year or in your family (2020 will forever be known as the year of Dalgona coffee and sourdough bread). 

The question is, what snack foods are your go-to? Is there that trusted candy bar or savory snack that you can’t live without? Do you find you can’t finish a meal without a sugar soda to accompany it? Do you load up on carbs? 

It is difficult to encourage healthy diet plans when yesterday’s temptation is lurking right in your own kitchen. The only way to conquer this is to replace those snack foods with something healthier that you love better (or at least, almost as much).  

You might have to get creative, but now is the time to think about healthier swaps for all your go-to snack foods. Can’t live without your bleu cheese dressing? Try a yogurt-based version. Love avocado toast? Try making it with whole-grain instead of white bread. A lot of healthier snacks can be made ahead of time so that they’re ready to go when a craving kicks in.  Make your snacks delicious, and make them healthy.  

And those snack foods you shoved into a back closet? They are best left out of sight and out of mind. But if eliminating your Oreo supply is too much to take after a year like 2020, we understand. Try this instead: choose one of your guilty pleasures and commit to eliminating it. Simply getting rid of a daily sugary soda can boost your diet efforts significantly, and may even save you several pounds of weight gain in a year. 

2. Know the importance of a healthy diet but have no time to cook? Don’t reach for fast food. Do this instead. 

Have you ever watched nutrition gurus on television or YouTube and felt frustrated or annoyed? Of course, it is easier to eat healthy and give other people well-meaning diet advice when your day job is cooking. Unfortunately, most people aren’t chefs in their day jobs. 

Americans spend a lot of time at the office, with the average worker spending 47 hours at their job. Is it no wonder, then, that the fast-food restaurant industry has more than doubled since the 1970s? 

Work robs you of most of your time.  On top of that, there’s kids to take care of, homework to do, and errands to run. Cooking can be exhausting, no matter how many gadgets and gizmos promise to make it easier and quicker for you. It’s easiest to just fall back on your favorite fast-food place. 

But here’s why you should resist that temptation: food is powerful. It’s what brings your family together to the dinner table every night. It’s what fuels your life. It should be about more than quick fixes and fried fast foods. 

If you are trying a new diet but find yourself too busy or too exhausted to cook nutritious meals (much less plan for them), we recommend trying a concierge meal planning service. That’s exactly what we do at The Austin Artisan. We specialize in customized weekly meals for the whole family, designed just for you by a personal chef. We take care of the cooking so you don’t have to rely on fast food ever again. 

3. Eating out? Beware the power of peer pressure. 

If you are eating out, it might be socially acceptable to ask if an item is gluten-free or if it contains peanuts. But if you ask too many questions, you risk getting the dreaded stink-eye from your dining companions, not to mention the waiter. Nobody wants to be labeled “high-maintenance.” The truth is, asking if the Chef can use a little less butter when sauteing your chicken can be an incredibly awkward and brave act when it comes to dining (even though it shouldn’t be). 

If playing the “customize my dinner plate” diet game at a restaurant gives you anxiety, there are things you can do instead. I recommend you look at the restaurant menu before you get there. Deciding ahead of time what you want to eat will help you mindfully and consciously be aware of what you are eating. You can watch for healthier foods while simultaneously identifying potential pitfalls. After all, if that Cobb Salad comes loaded with cheese and bacon, it might technically be a salad, but you could hardly call it healthy

Committing ahead of time will help you resist temptation when that deliciously battered coconut shrimp walks by on a beautifully plated platter. 

Image description: Young business woman eating lunch outside.

4. The best way to enjoy your lunchtime is to take it outside.

Eating lunch at your desk is an all-too-tempting proposition. After all, if you can multi-task you can plow through your workday and get home faster. 

The truth is, eating lunch at your desk may be compromising your diet resolutions more than you think. Not only can sitting at your desk for hours on end be bad for your health (we’re talking cholesterol increase, blood pressure and more) but it can also be incredibly hard on your diet. 

Think about it. If you are typing away at a task as you simultaneously shove a fork in your food, odds are you aren’t being that mindful of what you are eating. And when it comes to a New Year’s resolve to eat healthier, mindfulness is key. 

A simple change you can make is to take your lunch outside if possible. Eating outside can reduce your stress levels and even increase concentration. If it isn’t possible to eat outside, look for other ways you can get away from your desk. Take a walk around if you can.

Sure, this small change isn’t going to result in triathalon level calorie burn. But little things add up. Small changes like this cost you hardly anything, and can change your overall trajectory for the better.

If you’ve resolved to eat better this year, that’s great news! Congratulations on committing to being your best, healthiest self. 

At Austin Artisan we believe that wholesome, nutritious foods are a huge part of a balanced life. Food should revitalize and inspire you, and healthy eating should feel like a pleasure, not an arduous diet plan

If you live in Austin or the surrounding areas, we would love to help you in your commitment to eat healthier.  Our prepared meal plans feature gourmet, nutritious dishes delivered straight to your fridge. You’ll love the concierge experience so much that you might even swear off fast-food forever. 

If you’re ready to change the way you or your family eats, check out our food profile. We always follow up within 24 hours to craft your custom menu. 

We look forward to talking to you. In the meantime, cheers to a healthier you in the New Year.

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