THE start of a new year usually comes hand in hand with a new set of resolutions. Getting healthy is among the top new year’s resolutions, but it isn’t just about going to the gym. Most people often forget that getting healthy requires a combination of a healthy lifestyle and a balanced diet.

Eating healthy is much easier than you think it is. You don’t have to drastically start a strict no sugar diet. You can start with small changes before gradually moving on to bigger things. The next few suggestions are baby steps on starting a healthier diet for the year.

1. Cut down on eating out

We all know how amazing Malaysian food is, but do resist the temptation of eating out all the time. If you’re eating out most days of the week, try cutting it down a little. Instead, opt to cook simple, healthy dishes at home. Not only will you be cutting down on unhealthy food, but you’ll be saving money too.

2. Avoid distractions while eating

A study showed that people are more likely to eat larger amounts of food when distracted. So when you’re sitting down to a meal, cut back on distractions like watching television or playing with your handphone. Take your time to enjoy your meal and your company if you’re eating in a group.

3. Don’t skip breakfast

Did you know that breakfast is actually the most important meal of the day? It definitely isn’t a good idea to skip it. Having a good breakfast helps you start off the day with more energy and allows for better concentration. When you start off the day hungry, it will affect your mood and your productivity.

4. Consider your drinking choices

Carbonated drinks, energy drinks and artificial juices contain a lot of sugar. Even certain types of tea and coffee contain a high amount of sugar. If you’re thinking of cutting down on sugar, reduce the amount of sugary drinks that you take per week. Some healthy alternatives are coconut water, green tea, black coffee (if you must have coffee) and the ever-reliable plain water.

5. Look for healthy snacks

Who doesn’t love a good chocolate cake? Chocolate cake is delicious, but as with most cakes, the sugar content can be pretty high. You don’t have to completely give it up, but just reduce the amount you eat. Instead of snacking on unhealthy food like candy, chocolate or cupcakes, opt for Greek yogurt, nuts or roasted edamame. You may even come up with more creative healthy snacks like apple slices with peanut butter or dark chocolate coated strawberries. But of course, an important tip to remember along with all the tips is that moderation is key!

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