31 Little Changes for a Healthier Life

Little adjustments to your lifestyle, rather than a complete overhaul, can be extremely effective – it’s time for a health and wellbeing reboot

1 January: Make clever food swaps

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Small changes to your diet can make a big difference to your health and fitness. For example, try swapping mince beef for mince turkey to make a saving of roughly 125 calories per 100g.  

2 January: Use cash as an incentive

euro coins

Use a glass jar as your mini bank and donate money to it every time you work out. It could be anything from 50c to €1, and it will motivate you to work out every day so you can reward yourself when you’ve reached your goal weight or when you start to notice visible changes in your health.  

3 January: Make food from scratch

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Save money by making your snacks from scratch. Soup, crisps, bread and hummus can all be made at home using leftovers or store cupboard ingredients. Head to the Tesco Food and Community Hub for more inspiration. 

4 January: No technology before bed

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The blue light from bright screens on your phone, laptop, tablet or TV is notorious for affecting sleep patterns. Sleep easier by leaving your gadgets in another room and use a good old fashioned alarm clock if you normally use your phone. 

5 January: Don’t trust the scales

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When you work out, you burn fat and gain muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat, which the scales do not show. Use your clothes as a guide instead – if they feel looser then you know you’ve made a difference.

6 January: Choose HIIT

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High Intensity Interval Training gives the same health benefits of a steady cardio session but in a fraction of the time. Do 30-second bursts of training where you give 90-100 per cent of your energy, before slowing down for a minute’s rest – repeating for 10 minutes. 

7 January: Cut down on sugar

sugar

Sugar is full of what nutritionists call ‘empty calories’ – they contain no value or benefits.  

8 January: Take back your lunch

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Taking a lunch break will help to unwind during work and reduces stress levels, boosting your productivity in the afternoon, and making it easier to sleep at night. 

9 January: Cook with spices

spice

Healthy eating doesn’t have to be bland – in fact, adding spices to your meals can aid in weight loss. Hot peppers contain capsaicin, which has been found to boost metabolism and curb cravings. If you can’t handle too much spice, you can use milder spices like turmeric, ginger and cinnamon, which have health benefits.

10 January: Workout in the cold

outside

When you jog in cold weather, your body works hard to regulate its core temperature, meaning you use up more calories. Avoid the treadmill at the gym and head outdoors, taking an extra layer instead.

11 January: Choose healthy snacks

crisps

Homemade baked crisps using leftover vegetables like beetroot, turnips, or kale are far healthier than fried potato crisps. Enjoy this kale and beetroot crisps recipe.

12 January: Make meals go further

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Adding nutritious grains, beans or pulses to stews, casseroles or soups will bulk them out giving you additional portions for lunches or dinner. It’ll keep you fuller for longer, too.

13 January: Change your habits

mind

Changing a habit or adding a new healthier one to our lifestyle requires willpower and you need to make sure you’re not working on autopilot. Staying conscious of your actions is important to making sure you don’t slip back into old unhealthy habits. Here's how you can boost your willpower.

14 January: Eat a big breakfast

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Breakfast should be the largest meal to get your metabolism going and fuel you for the day, followed by a light, medium-sized lunch to keep you energised until evening. Have a small dinner in the evening to just fill you with enough calories until bedtime.

15 January: Ditch soft drinks

soft

Try replacing your sugary drink with hot water and a squeeze of lemon for a much healthier and cleansing alternative. If you cut out one sugary drink a day for instance, it would save 51,100 calories per year, which is the equivalent to losing one stone in a year.

16 January: Exercise through TV ads

excercise ads

Instead of sitting through a five-minute advert break, flicking through the channels, why not exercise through them. Try a quick high intensity circuit around your living room, which could include jump squats, crunches, leg raises, and step ups. Spend 30 seconds doing each circuit, with a 10 second rest in between, and you’ll be done by the time the adverts are over.

17 January: Drink hot Cocoa

hot choc

Not to be confused with hot chocolate, cocoa has less fat than chocolate as it’s the raw form of the bean. Having a mug of cocoa with milk gives you all the benefits of the cocoa seed as well as the added benefits of calcium in milk. 

18 January: Use a meal planner

meal plan

Prepare all your meals for the week on a Sunday evening, and divide them up into containers for each day of the working week.

19 January: Stretch every morning

morning stretch

Stretching improves blood circulation, increases your flexibility, improves your posture, reduces and prevents lower back pain, and can relieve stress. A simple five-minute routine every morning will wake your muscles up and prepare you for the day. 

20 January: Exercise at your desk

deskercise

Certain workouts and stretches are easy to do al desko and can be done without your colleagues even noticing. So if you’re inactive for most of the day try these six easy ways to exercise at your desk.

21 January: Workout on your commute

commute

Walking, power-walking or even jogging to work can make a big difference to your overall health and wellbeing. And it will save you money. Take the stairs instead of the lifts, and capitalise on any opportunity to squeeze some more cardio into your day.

22 January Colour!

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Adult colouring books were a big hit in 2016 and often used as a form of stress-relief and relaxation. Try relaxing with a colouring book in the evenings to help you wind down after a long day, and help you sleep better at night.

23 January: Savour your meals

savour

Did you know it takes your brain around 20 minutes to register that your body is full? Give yourself time to enjoy the food and notice when you’re full.

24 January: Use a spiralizer

spiral

Make ribbons using any vegetable carrots and courgettes are regularly used), boil them, and substitute in place of pasta or noodles for an even healthier (and vegan) meal. Find recipe inspiration on the  Tesco Food and Community Hub.

25 January: Cook with coconut oil

coconut oil

Coconut oil has a very high burning point, making it perfect for high-heat cooking, and it contains good fatty acids that other oils do not, which give you a quick boost of energy.  

26 January: Shopping workout

shopping worlout

Walking at a leisurely pace for an hour can burn around 250 calories on average. When you’re carrying shopping bags, try to keep the weight even in each hand, your back straight, shoulders back and chest up for the best results.

Try walking back home, or parking the car further away to ensure you get the most out of the mini workout. A good reason to hit the January sales.

27 January: Pay with cash

pay with cash

Set yourself a weekly cash limit and avoid using your cards. You’re more likely to impulse buy on extra snacks or tempting treats when you’re paying with your card. A weekly limit will make you more aware of how much you’re spending and what you’re buying.

28 January: Use a hula-hoop

hullahoop

It’s not just for kids in the playground, adults can benefit from the fun sport of hula-hoops. Keeping the hoop spinning relies on a lot of abdominal work and one hour can burn up to 600 calories. For those who want more of a challenge, try a weighted hoop. 

29 January: Relieve stress by tidying

cleaning

Cleaning and tidying has been proven to relieve stress as it acts as a form of meditation. It can also be a form of exercise, depending on what you’re doing and for how long. And don’t underestimate that sense of accomplishment when you’re finished.

30 January: Don't drink your calories

smoothie

Fresh fruit juices and smoothies are delicious, but try not to drink your way to a full stomach. Chewing satisfies your stomach and allows you to get all the nutrients and fibres your juicer may have juiced out. 

31 January: Keep a journal

journal

Start writing out everything you’ve eaten and how much you exercise during the day. If you’ve skipped a day of exercise or binged on unhealthy snacks, writing it out can motivate you to stay on course and stop you from slipping back into old routines.