A different approach to new year’s resolutions: Ditch the diet and snack simple

By Gill Hyslop

- Last updated on GMT

How to make a simple plan and stick to the resolutions for 2020. Pic: GettyImages/Coompia77
How to make a simple plan and stick to the resolutions for 2020. Pic: GettyImages/Coompia77

Related tags British nutrition foundation Healthy eating Sustainability Clean label Food waste

The British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) says ditch the January diet and get back to the basics of healthy eating in 2020.

A new year means a new start – sweeping out of the cobwebs to make way for a clear attitude, a clean diet and a whole new positive ‘you’.

These are the resolutions many consumers set out to strive for as the dawn rises on the new year.

Sadly, though, studies have shown that few consumers have the determination to sustain the pledge,​ with most, more often than not, failing to achieve them.

Typical stumbling blocks are cited as ‘time constraints’ and ‘taste preferences’ and ‘lack of willpower’ – especially the latter when it came to dietary behaviour.

To overcome these issues, the British Nutrition Foundation (BNF) – which strives to turn evidence-based nutritional science into actionable achievements – has recommended that Brits take a different approach to New Year’s resolutions this year and adopt a more sustainable approach to healthy eating.

“Although many of us start the year with the best intentions to get healthy, in reality, following a complicated diet plan can often just be too time-consuming, and too expensive to keep up,”​ said Sara Stanner, science director, CNF.

“To make New Year’s healthy eating pledges last, you need to ditch the January diet, and take a step back to consider the basics of healthy eating.”

BNF’s top tips for 2020

Bulk up

Go wholegrain to boost fibre intake. On average, Brits are  eating far fewer wholegrains than recommended. Choose a higher-fibre breakfast cereal like wholewheat biscuits, shredded whole or porridge oats, swap out the fluffy white bread for an artisanal multiseed variety and use wholewheat pasta, bulgur wheat or brown rice as a foil for tonight’s curry. Snack on rye crackers, oatcakes, fruit and veggie sticks.

Yes, you can

Canned foods are a convenient and practical way to add more nutrient-dense ingredients to a diet – especially pulses like chickpeas, beans and lentils, which provide the fibre punch and nutrients like folate and iron. Canned fish is another useful pantry cupboard staple – especially oily fish like salmon or mackerel, which provide long-chain omega 3s – and a lovely snack topping for granary bread bruschetta.

Choose economy

Cost, unfortunately, is a large barrier, but healthy eating doesn’t need to break the bank with some savvy shopping. Think dried staples like nuts + seeds + dried fruit + dates = energy bar; or apple + almond butter + granola = apple butter stacks. For a bit of indulgence, eggs + flour + Nutella = easy choc nut brownies.

Go frozen for freshness

When it comes to fruit and veggies, many will be surprised to learn that frozen is more nutritious – let alone cheaper – than their fresh counterparts, as the freezing process can preserve nutrients. And with consumers taking a deep dive into the healthier snacking trend, producers are coming up with freeze-dried snacks that never feel the heat of boiling oil. According to Global Market Insights, the frozen bakery market, too, is seeing higher growth, forecast to surpass $25bn by the end of 2024.

Make a plan

Planning for the week ahead and stocking up on healthier staples during a spare morning reprieve is a quick, fuss-free fix for the workaholic who needs to put a healthy, balanced snack together in a rush. It also helps save money and cuts down on food waste.


Exploring the relationship between perceived barriers to healthy eating and dietary behaviours in European adults

Authors: MGM Pinho, JD Mackenbach, H Charreire, et al.

Eur J Nutr. 2018; 57(5): 1761–1770.

doi: 10.1007/s00394-017-1458-3

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