The New Year is a time for new beginnings, positive changes and a fresh effort when it comes to your health and wellbeing. If there are things that you have been putting off in regards to your diet and lifestyle, then now is the time to begin instigating these changes!

Although you may not always have the time to go to the gym or fit a workout into your day, it is generally possible to have control over your diet. This means that with a little bit of pre-planning and a little bit of will-power, you can stick to a healthy diet regardless of how busy you are.

Leafy Green Vegetables

The incredible health benefits of this food group are not to be overlooked. If you are following a plant-based diet then you will likely find that they are a staple in your diet, but that’s not to say that meat-eaters shouldn’t include ample amounts also!

Some great leafy green vegetables that you can aim to eat more of next year are kale, spinach, Swiss chard, lettuce, broccoli and collard greens. All of these items are readily available, so try to get at least one in each day to feel the benefits.

Leafy green vegetables are an amazing source of fiber, as well as vitamins C and K. They are also generally abundant in folate, carotenoids, iron and calcium. They pack a powerful antioxidant punch, which helps to protect your body against free radical damage.

A Sprinkle of Seeds

Adding a sprinkle of seeds to your diet daily can go a long way to protecting your health. Chia seeds, hemp seeds, flax seeds, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds are all amazing choices.

Seeds are very small and often flavourless, meaning you can easily add them to any recipe without really altering the flavour or texture of the dish. Despite their small size, seeds (especially the aforementioned seeds) are bursting with goodness.

Fiber, protein, healthy fats and antioxidants can usually be found in quite beneficial amounts in seeds, demonstrating that just a sprinkle each day can in fact be quite helpful for optimum health!

Watch Your Drinks

Staying hydrated is key to good health, but in order to be adequately hydrated water should be your go-to drink. If you are consuming sugary drinks or alcoholic drinks in abundance then you are not going to be helping your body to stay healthy - in fact quite the opposite will be true.

It is easy to over consume calories when you choose sugary or alcohol drinks, and it can be quite difficult to keep track of these extra calories. Eliminating sugary drinks from your diet entirely is simple to do, and you can opt for a juice drink or plain water instead. Also, limiting your alcohol intake is always a good idea, and you may find it beneficial to your overall health if you limit yourself to drinking alcohol just once a week, or perhaps even only on special occasions! Click here to learn more about how alcohol effects you.

Fuel Your Fitness

Embracing clean eating is a great habit to develop as you move into 2018 and doing so can inspire positive changes in other areas of your life. As you start to eat better and feel healthier you may notice that you develop a greater interest in developing other aspects of your life - such as your fitness. 

If you start to exercise more frequently, or with a more serious intent, then it is important that you make sure you are fuelling your body with the right foods. If you regularly work out but then get straight back to eating sugary foods, or processed and packaged foods, then you are going to sabotage your efforts. 

On the other hand, it is also important to make sure that you are eating enough. It is okay to count calories if you are trying to lose weight, but when you are trying to build muscle you will need to up your intake for optimum results! Adding more whole foods to your diet, such as vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, will allow you to do this in a healthy way. You should also make sure you are consuming enough protein in order to help your muscles repair themselves post-exercise. Clean sources of protein are quinoa, buckwheat, rice and beans. You can also supplement your workouts with a protein shake. Click to learn more about building muscle with plant power.

Clean Eating For 2018

Whatever your other goals are for this year are, making the extra effort to care for your body through your diet is something that you can certainly achieve. You may find that it is helpful to team up with a friend or family member so that you can tackle this change together and motivate each other to keep at it. Alternatively, you may find that you are better off going at it alone. Find what works for you and power through - the results will soon inspire you to continue!