I’ve always thought the new year should start in September. Fall seems to bring with it a fresh start. And although I don’t want to rush the change of seasons (I love summer!), I am starting to feel inspired to shake up my routine and, um, get one. It’s all too easy to let healthy habits slide in the summertime (all that socializing can lead to some not-so-stellar food choices... Hamburgers and ice cream have been in my diet more often than I’d like to admit). So if you’re itching to get into (or back into) a healthy routine, as I am, then here are some steps you can take right now:
How to Start Your New Healthy Routine:
Stock your kitchen with healthy foods. A first step in eating right is getting prepared. Go through your fridge and pantry and toss the super-unhealthy stuff you want to eat less of. Then, get ready to cook up healthy meals by stocking your pantry with healthy-cooking essentials. (Check out this guide to stocking a healthy kitchen for advice on where to get started.)
Make a meal plan. Get organized about your eating habits. Make a meal plan at the beginning of the week, shop for it and follow it. You can leave a couple nights open for eating out or takeout, if you like, but planning it ahead of time will help you make intentional, healthy choices. (Give meal planning a time with our "5-Day, 1,500-Calorie Diet Meal Plan.")
Eat vegetables or fruit at every meal. Simply upping your consumption of fruits and vegetables -- foods packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants -- helps to lower your risk of heart disease and diabetes. Not to mention all the other benefits: For example, beta carotene in carrots and sweet potatoes helps keep your eyes, bones and immune system healthy, and lycopene in tomatoes, watermelon and pink grapefruit may help protect against prostate and breast cancers. How much you should eat depends on your age and size, but many adults need roughly two cups of fruit and three cups of vegetables daily.