The tempting leftovers
Most of us, having overindulged over the festive period, will have some thoughts of dieting once January hits - whether it’s as extreme as a detox juice diet, or simply cutting back on the unhealthy foods. But while vowing to eat more healthily is a good thing, attempting a strict diet at any time of the year, especially at the start of January, is likely to fail – and here’s why…
You’ll often start January with leftovers of all sorts of yummy foods – whether it’s celebratory chocolates and biscuit tins, desserts, or a fridge full of cheese. It can be difficult to avoid all of this food if it’s in your home so there are two options; throw it or give it away, or eat it. Unfortunately, January is also a time for tightening the money belt and throwing food out is wasteful and expensive! So what’s the solution? Put the non- perishable items that haven’t been opened in the back of the cupboard and save them for a couple of month’s time when you’ll appreciate them more. Any perishable food, either share with work colleagues and neighbours or eat in small portions and enjoy. You can still have a balanced meal by combining a little of the less healthy foods with a lot of the healthier foods – for example, if you’ve got creamy desserts leftover, have a small amount with a big portion of fresh fruit. Or have a small amount of cheese in a big leafy salad or healthy root veggie soup.
Another reason why many people fall off the diet bandwagon by the 15th January is the need for warming, comforting dishes when the days are cold and the evenings are dark. A cold, light salad doesn’t have much appeal. But comfort food needn’t be unhealthy – thick soups, spicy curries and stir-fries can be filling, satisfying and packed with goodness. Just avoid the ready-made stuff and make up a big batch at the start of the week.
Diets that cut out any major food groups, or involve denying yourself of all of your favourite foods will never be sustainable. Instead of starting the year with another diet failure, choose one thing each week to focus on. The first week, it could be swapping your can of coke for a piece of fruit, the next week, limiting yourself to one small sugary treat a day. This way you’ll be less likely to fail and you can build on your achievements into Feb!
Written by Dr. Noel Duncan