5 Tips to Keep Your Lunches Healthy Through The New Year

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New Year’s Eve is upon us. This time of year tends to bring tons of exciting parties, vacations to warm climates and, as we all know, New Year’s resolutions. For me, January has never been a time of relaxation or travel destinations. It’s always been my busiest time of year. Why is this?  Because as a dietitian, this is the time for people to start looking for that clean slate after the holidays.

Around this time last year, I started thinking about NYE resolutions in an entirely new light. Why do we only set high goals for ourselves at the beginning of the year? Why not each month, week or even day? Most people tend to drop off of their health goals just three weeks into the year…do you ever notice that the gym has a lot more treadmills available come February?!

This is due to the mistake of setting one high, over-arching goal. First, let’s chop that up into attainable, monthly goals to keep us in check. The goals will already seem easier to achieve! Second, we need to find a valuable “why” behind our goals and not simply, an “I should.” “I should eat better” versus “I want to eat better to feel like I did 5 years ago” will lead you to vastly different results! #getinspired

For this week’s Lunch Bunch, I simply want us to commit to one SMART goal for our lunches this year, one specific, measurable, timely, realistic goal that you are passionate about. I’ve set five guidelines for you to apply to your own New Year’s resolutions. Use the following tips when building your own specific and valuable goals. My hopes are for you to find this helpful as you build better lunches and become the more fit version of yourself throughout 2015!

1. Hydration. Hydration. Hydration.
I recommend drinking ½ your body weight in ounces of water each day. (For example, 70 oz. for a 140 lb. individual) Increase this with workouts. If you’re not a water drinker, think of ways to change this habit slowly – from quitting other drinks, to keeping a water bottle next to your desk at work to having 1 cup of water before and after every meal. Water is essential to keeping our energy up and metabolisms buzzing. Dehydration can also be masked by hunger … so next time you go for the vending machine, try a glass of water first!

2. Commit to 1 specific habit change.
As the number of habits we attempt to simultaneously change increases, we are less likely to succeed in curbing those habits. The concept of challenging yourself one habit at a time circles back to learning how to breakdown one massive goal into smaller, more specific goals. For instance – do you follow Lunch Bunch each week, but always go for a dessert after? Do you only make lunch 1x per week or 5x per week? How are your portions? Focus on ONE habit each week and continue it until it becomes a permanent lifestyle change.

3. Plate it.
The Lunch Bunch recipes will always be nutrient-dense and full of lean proteins. I will also always include suggestions for a complex carbohydrate or vegetable if they are not already a main component. It is YOUR duty to take on the grocery store to make sure that you are getting your balanced amount of fruits and vegetables on top of my suggestions! Contact me in the comments or talk to an RD about serving sizes specific to you and plating a balanced meal of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat.

4. Learn how to say no.
Avoid social pressures. Donuts in the break room, take-out during meetings and sweet treats at parties will certainly add up. If someone offers you an unwanted food, tell him or her that you’re trying to switch up your diet. Or tell them you’re not hungry. Or hey, tell them that you already made your lunch today and that it’s delicious!

5. Resolutions don’t have to be once a year.
Lunch Bunch is a tool to help make your life easier, healthier and to aid in working towards your nutrition goals. I do understand that we’re not all perfect. Whether we have drastic weight loss goals, we’re working on toning up, or we’re simply looking to feel better – slip-ups happen. I like the quote, “If it doesn’t challenge you, it won’t change you.” So as Taylor Swift says, ‘Shake it off!’ Don’t dwell on the regret of your decision, stay positive and start fresh the next day. Each new morning is a new opportunity for a NEW YOU!

Happy New Year! I look forward to making more recipes for you all in 2015!

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About Patty Duffey

Patty is a Registered Dietitian and Nutrition Coach in the Chicago area. She is Ohio bred and received her bachelor’s degree in dietetics at Miami of Ohio, while continuing on the following year to complete her Dietetic Internship at Mount Carmel Hospitals in Columbus. Upon becoming an RD, Patty made the remarkable decision to work abroad in Australia for one year. She loved the active and healthy culture, and it seemed that most Aussies shared a common view that is was better to be proactive as opposed to reactive when it came to health and wellbeing. She knew that the health and fitness industry was exactly where she wanted to be. Since moving to Chicago three years ago, Patty has gained experience as a dietitian and nutrition coach at both Life Time Fitness and My Fit Foods. Her goal is to continue to build her health coaching skills as a nutrition entrepreneur. She currently works at Lululemon and loves working for a company where she can bring fitness and nutrition together in such an inspiring environment!

3 thoughts on “5 Tips to Keep Your Lunches Healthy Through The New Year

    1. Awesome to hear @SweshFit! Keep us posted on how you like the recipes through the New Year. 🙂

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