In association with Eleanor Jones, Digital Editor of Good to Know
Meat is probably one of the most expensive items you put into your shopping trolley every week – and whilst we’re not suggesting you need to commit to going veggie or vegan full time, eating more plant-based foods is the perfect way to cut down your spend whilst still eating a diet that’s rich in nutrients. This year, try branching out into protein-rich (and purse-friendly) options like lentils, beans, chickpeas, nuts and eggs, and you should notice the difference in your waistline and your wallet.
Hands up if you want to improve your activity levels in 2018? We imagine that’s most of us, but taking on a whole new routine can seem intimidating, not to mention costly – which is why walking is the easiest place to start. It’s recommended that we should all be taking 10,000 steps, which equates to around an hour and a half of walking a day, but you don’t need a fancy fitness band to count each one - even a small increase from your current activity levels can be beneficial. Park the car in the further spot or get off the bus one stop early, and your gradual changes will soon lead to great things!
Drinking your recommended daily intake of water every single day is a resolution that everyone with a tap can keep – no excuses! Keeping your body hydrated helps with everything from your skin to your concentration to your digestion, and can even help you to fight off infection if you’re struck down with a dreaded winter bug. We like to give our two litres a little extra flavour with slices of fresh citrus, or a handful of diced cucumber and mint – a herb which, incidentally, is also brilliant for beating the post-Christmas bloat.
Research shows that when you’re asked to choose an item of food, you’re most likely to go for the option that’s in the centre. Storing the healthiest foods on the middle shelf of your fridge applies the same principle, and puts the choices you want to make at eye level. Meanwhile, anything that you don’t want to be eating on a regular basis (hey there, cheesecake…), should be tucked away out of sight –preferably in an opaque container - to help you avoid temptation. Simple, but effective!
There are a multitude of apps available that can help your mind, body and soul – and all they’ll cost you is the time it takes to hit download! MyFitnessPal, for instance, is great if you want to keep track of your calories, whilst Couch to 5k will have you running further than you ever dreamed in just a matter of weeks. If you only download one, our suggestion would be Headspace, an accessible mindfulness programme that allows you to learn the basics of meditation for free.
No, we’re not just being peppy for the sake of it – changing your facial expression can, according to experts, improve your attitude automatically, because using the muscles that you need to smile signals to your brain that your mood should reflect this action. You might have to force it a little in the beginning, but eventually a happy face will be your natural one – and if that doesn’t get your year off to a positive start, we don’t know what will…
If you’re focusing on fitness, there’s no need to stretch your budget for expensive workout gear. Matalan’s Souluxe range starts from just £6, but still offers the same levels of support and style you’d expect from the big brands. Whether you’re pounding the pavement, hitting the gym, or even following a routine in the comfort of your own home, wearing an outfit that you feel confident and comfortable in will give you the motivation you need to achieve those results. Bright colours are known to boost your energy levels so buy brights for a perfect workout! Here are some of my top picks!