January may only have 31 days but it can feel like the longest month of the year. An indulgent December, a disinclination to be outside in the cold, and a lack of daylight hours all conspire to leave us feeling a little under par.
That is just the call to action we need to bring you our top 10 tips for a healthy start to the year, or Jaffanuary as we like to call it.
1. Don’t start a diet!
A diet starts with denying ourselves something that we crave. If you start the year in denial, it can make you feel resentful and subsequently far more likely to give in and eat what it was you were craving. Instead, eat less of foods that are high in fat or sugar, and eat more of healthier alternatives. Gently does it, a little at a time. That way you aren’t denying yourself.
2. Exercise some self-care.
If you are tired, go to bed half an hour earlier. If you are feeling lethargic, boost your metabolism with a short brisk walk. Feeling a little down, have a bath and use all the smellies you were bought at Christmas. Did you know the scent of oranges has a cheerful and uplifting yet simultaneously relaxing, calming effect that helps reduce pulse rate? Little small changes that your mind and body will thank you for that don’t leave you feeling guilty.
3. Don’t skip breakfast.
Make it light, make it easy and make it nutritious and delicious. Rushing breakfast or skipping it entirely, leaves yourself open to mid morning crashes, or cravings. A sustaining and tasty breakfast will give your body the fuel it needs to start the day and keep you going right through till lunch. Our Jaffa Overnight Oats recipe could not be easier to prepare and is ready and waiting for you in the morning.
4. Stay hydrated.
Drink water, little and often. If you pour a jug of water on a dried out plant, the water will pour straight through and out the bottom of the plant pot. Drip feed it slowly and the water has a chance to be absorbed. So small glasses of water at frequent intervals gives you the chance to absorb the water your body needs. Don’t like water, add a slice of Jaffa Orange or Jaffa Seedless Lemons for a subtle flavour.
5. Read a book
Instead of scrolling the internet (yes we do see the irony of you reading this on the internet!), read a book. Your eyes will find it more restful, you are more likely to take in what you have read as there are fewer distractions on a physical page than a webpage, and your brain will be less stimulated aiding a good nights sleep.
6. Make one healthy change at a time.
It is much easier to make a change and stick to it if you do it slowly and do it consistently. Try to do everything at once – eat less, exercise more, dry January, go to bed earlier, less social media, knit a scarf – and you are more likely to fail. Letting go of perfectionism means ditching the thought pattern that says you can’t make a mistake.
7. Cook a meal from scratch.
If you normally pop a ready made meal in the oven or microwave, try a simple recipe cooked from scratch once a week. The rewards of cooking with fresh healthy ingredients are not only nutritional, they are psychological too. Try a simple stir fry like our Chickpea and Jaffa Orange Stir Fry. If you do normally cook from scratch, get the cookbook out, or check out our recipes here and try something new.
8. Go for a walk
In winter, when natural light is at a premium, getting out as much as you can really help your mood. Vitamin D anyone? As a side note, consuming foods that are high in vitamin c, like citrus fruits, help the body absorb vitamin D.
9. Take the stairs
Moving your body, adding a little resistance will strengthen your muscles and your bones, boost your metabolism and burn a few calories. Take it slowly at first, it’s not a race and then over time see how much stronger you feel and less out of breath.
10. Eat a wider variety of fruit and vegetables.
We all know the eat 5 a day rule but 5 carrots can be boring! Mix it up! Pop something in your shopping basket you wouldn’t normally eat and discover a whole new flavour. Not only is it more interesting but if you have children in the house and they see you eating more variety, they are less likely to be picky when it comes to food themselves. Side note, Sweet Red Oranges and Jaffa Giant Easy Peelers are coming into season this month so switch it up!
We hope you enjoy our Jaffanuary ideas and we would love to hear yours too. What are you doing to live a little healthier this year? Keep us posted on your Jaffanuary ideas by tagging us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and make sure to spread some #JaffaJoy everywhere you go.