In terms of starting off the New Year in the right way, I have a few tips you can incorporate into your day-to-day health and wellbeing, which focus on improving nutrition and mindfulness with your food.
1. Eat more mindfully: eat slower, take more breaks and really savour your food. Enjoy its smell, texture and taste, and notice the effect it has on you after your meal.
2. Take a quick body and mind scan before you eat: ask yourself ‘are you really hungry, or are you eating because it is time to eat?’ It tends to be that we often eat out of habit, because others are eating, or because food is ready and available in front of you. Perhaps you end up eating because you are bored or stressed, or need a break or distraction. It’s important to analyse this beforehand.
3. Assess your fullness level during your meal: take a break and assess, on a scale of 1 to 10, how full you are – 1 being absolutely starving and 10 being uncomfortably full to nauseous.
4. Meat: In terms of eating meat, it is good to focus on quality of quantity. I would ensure the meat comes from farms that treat their livestock well, having them roam around freely, feeding them well and giving them as little medication as possible. Meat can be expensive, particularly free-range meat, however cheaper cuts bought from independent butchers (or directly from a farm) can save you money.
5. Eating seasonal vegetables: seasonal and local vegetables are more flavourful, have higher nutrient and antioxidant content, are cheaper, and are overall much better for the environment. For instance, if we eat asparagus at this time of year in the UK, 8.9kg of carbon-dioxide is used for each kilo of asparagus, because they are being flown in from Peru (they must be transported by air, unlike bananas or avocado which can be transported by sea).
These tips reflect being mindful of our hunger cues, being more respectful of animals and embracing seasonality in our diet.