This year has held quite a few “healthy eating” trends; plant-based eating, meal planning, intuitive eating, calorie counting, the list goes on. The thing is, “healthy” is a completely subjective word: it will look different for everyone. Some may feel successful with a fridge full of low-calorie, high protein meals for the week. Others will bring an apple as a snack to work and call it good. Regardless, healthy eating is an admirable goal. In many cases, it can increase your life expectancy, help you sleep better, and promote a healthier lifestyle as a whole. Here are a few tips to empower you and your goals in finding your personal version of healthy eating in 2020.
Set Goals and Plan ahead
With the new year almost here, now is the perfect time to start setting some healthy eating goals. You may set a goal to try meal prep this year, or you could try cutting certain products from your diet. Whatever your goal may be, set it ahead of time; that way you can be ready for a variety of different situations. Between parties, family gatherings, and traveling, you’ll be prepared to make choices that fit within your goals and still allow you to enjoy yourself.
The most common situation in which people have a hard time sticking to their goals is when eating out. Almost 35% of Americans visit restaurants at least once a week. There will inevitably come a day this year when you’re too tired to make dinner and decide to dine out. If you’ve set your goals, enjoying the food at your favorite restaurant can still be possible! If you’re making some serious changes to your diet, it may be beneficial to look at menus online and create a list of restaurants you know you can visit.
Power in Numbers
There is always power in numbers, especially when it comes to eating healthy. In fact, in 2018, 93% of consumers said they wanted to eat healthily. It can help to know you’re not alone in your desire to have a healthy diet.
If you’re living alone and cooking for yourself, find opportunities to invite friends over to cook together. Connect with a friend who wants to make healthier choices and share recipes. Join a meal-prep group to get ideas from others. You might even check to see if your housing community has a healthy cooking group and if not, start one. It’s thanks to activities like these that rose tenant improvements by 10% in 2017 and 13% in 2018.
If you’ve got a family and little ones to prepare food for, don’t hesitate to rope them into your goals and changes. After all, children need to start making healthy choices now to make healthy habits for the future, including snacks and lunches on-the-go. Make new meals and options exciting by involving your family in preparing meals or making choices at the grocery store. Even if they aren’t interested in the new choices at first, continue with your goals and integrate the changes slowly. Eventually, these new changes will seem like they’ve always been a part of your diets. Set plenty of room at your dining room table and don’t be afraid to meal prep together.
Food Trends for 2020
A simple Google search can give you an expansive list of every different food trend, diet, or healthy option there is out there. Here are a few favorites that are sure to be popular next year.
- Eco-Friendly Food: While purchasing food from eco-friendly brands can help you establish healthy food goals, this one relates more to a healthy conscience. A lot of brands are working to make sure their products and processes protect the environment, including recyclable packaging, regenerative agriculture, and more. Just like more than 143 billion pounds of scrap metal are recycled each year, sustainable food packaging — especially plastics — have become some of the most recycled items on the planet. After all, up to 80 million tons of polythene plastics are produced each year, more of which are recyclable. Some butchers and meat brands are even blending meat and plant products into their food, a choice that is healthier for both their customers and the earth. Supporting these brands will help you feel good about the food choices you make, both physically and environmentally.
- Single-Serve Packaged Snacks: Snacking-on-the-go is becoming the norm as people get increasingly busy with their day-to-day lives. Making healthy choices on the fly, however, can be tricky. Thankfully, you can find some really great, quick options in stores now, such as hard-boiled eggs, pickled vegetables, dips, and nutrition bars. All of these and more can be found in the refrigerated section of your local store or cafe. These options all have ingredient lists with items that you can read and recognize, making it easier to feel great about your snacking choices. Some popular snacks for 2020 include protein drinks, collagen-infused snacks and beverages, and healthy puffed snacks. Better yet, these snacks are becoming more affordable than ever. You won’t need to get arrested for stealing from your favorite store to eat a healthier diet.
- Organic Options: This trend is by no means new; organic options have been around for years. Organic food is a healthier choice than others because of the lack of pesticides and fertilizers used in their production. According to data from the USDA, in 2019 nearly three out of four conventional grocery stores had organic products available, making it easier than ever to eat organically. There are even more organic food and snack options for children, ranging from organic baby food to organic mac and cheese for your toddlers.
- Meal-Prep: While this option takes a bit more time up-front, it will ultimately save you hours in the long run and could be just what you need to get rolling with your healthy eating goals. Meal prep is usually the act of spending a few hours one day a week to cook and prepare all of your meals for the upcoming week. The meals are stored in your fridge in reuseable containers, making it easy to grab them on your way to school or work, or sit down for a meal at home. Because you are the one making all the meals, you have complete control over what meals you prepare and what dietary restrictions you follow. With all of your meals ready for the week, you’ll spend less time worrying about your meals and choices and will be able to stick for strictly to your goals.
Are you ready to eat healthy in 2020? While there are a lot of different options and things to consider, we know that healthy eating is possible! Set your goals, find a partner and get going on your own version of healthy eating.