New Year, new me, new diet! Right? But keeping focus on New Year’s resolutions is often tedious and difficult. The secret is to keep it as simple as possible. Making small effortless changes in your diet throughout a longer period of time is much more manageable than starting off with short-term complex goals. A healthy diet is a lifestyle change and this change tends to be affordable too, through planned meals and a preset grocery list.

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint”

Remember this saying when starting a new diet regime. We live in a society where faster tends to be better but this is not the case for weight loss. Not only is it not recommended by health professionals, but in order to achieve long-term results, one needs realistic goals. Do not make sudden weight loss yours. Start with small changes such as adding more fruits and vegetables into your diet. Do not become disillusioned with your choices if you do not see the results wanted right away. Good things take time.

Get in the kitchen!

Not only is preparing your own meals cost-effective but meals prepared at home are usually much more nutritious. Stock up on fresh fish and lean meats while they’re on special since you can freeze and use at a later date. Fresh produce is usually best for its nutrition however; frozen and canned vegetables are alright as long as they do not contain additives. Beware of canned fruits as they may contain sugary syrups. Those canned with their own juices are a good choice.

Choose wisely when eating out.

Not every restaurant is designed for health conscious individuals; however, nowadays most restaurants offer healthier choices. Consider swapping French friends or mashed potato for more veggies and ask for protein grilled instead of fried. Keep a lookout for restaurants that offer vegetarian options, freshly caught seafood and whole grains. Stay away from fast food.

Warning: fad diets

Unfortunately during this time of the year, many companies try to profit from weight loss due to all the New Year’s resolutions. Whether it’s with protein powders, juices, or shakes, all of these “quick” results you see on TV are not sustainable. Remember – there is no quick fix, regardless of what companies advertize.

Hydrate

On the path to healthier choices, one must not only eat healthy foods, but also avoid drinking unhealthy calories. Water is now your best friend. Drinking water not only helps maintain the balance of your bodily fluids, but it can also help control calories, energize muscles, cleanse your kidneys, and revitalize your skin. Regardless of what you’re eating, it is important to cut out sugary drinks. Instead of sodas or specialty coffee drinks, indulge in water, skim milk, black coffee or tea without sugar or cream.

Keep in mind, even if you’re looking to make dramatic changes during this New Year, stick to taking small steps. Reanalyze your goals every couple of months and keep going. Over time, you will reach success.