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New choices for a new year

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In January we all hear a lot of resolutions and suggestions of how to be the new you, how to make fresh starts and how to make new choices for a new year. Some of these are worth hearing and acting upon but how often do we just hear the same lists that people made a year before and didn’t resolve to really change. The two most common topics are weight-loss and saving money.

Here are a few suggestions that we believe could be really effective for you in 2015… inspired by The Guardian at the weekend, see the online article here.

Your Eating Habits

Britain leads the world in consumption of ready meals, spending around £3.3bn a year on the 12,000 varieties on supermarket shelves. Azmina Govindji, who spearheads the NHS Choices’ Eat4Cheap challenge, says that by ditching ready meals and switching to home cooked food you can cut your weekly shopping bill by as much as half. Of those who took the challenge, “No one said it was easy,” she said. “But by cooking in bulk, eating leftovers and having things like scrambled eggs and homemade soup, the participants improved their health and bank balance too.”

Cutting down on takeaways, choosing cheaper brands and reducing waste, families can save up to £2,650 a year on food alone. The NHS Choices website shows households how to make these savings and get the recommended five a day for less than 50p too.

We think this is one commitment worth making for the new year and, we also believe that we can all buy much more fresh food from small local businesses around our towns and villages. Ballymena Today loves Slemish Market Garden who will provide you with plenty of seasonal fresh produce to get you started [pictured above]. There are plenty of other independent shops and businesses who can help you to move from ready-meals and expensive pre-packaged food to a less expensive and healthier diet for 2015.

Start running

Running is easy. Actually getting up and going out to run is the hard part. You can do it though.

If you don’t want to run on your own, try joining 50,000 runners on a Saturday morning at a Parkrun event. Find one near you at parkrun.org.uk.

There is a parkrun in Ballymena. Find out more here. Over the past few years we have witnessed more and more runners out and about around town… get running!

Photo Credit: srgpicker; Creative Commons
Photo Credit: srgpicker; Creative Commons

 

Get the App

A few years ago in a bid to lose some weight I took up running but, also decided that tracking everything I ate would help me to eat less and lose that weight. It did. There are now lots of options available and, if you have a smartphone you can quickly get tracking your food and start making better choices. Check out MyFitnessPal.

It has a database of more than 2m foods to track plus a recipe counter (where you can upload ingredients in your meal) and the app will work out the calories you’ve eaten.

It charts your progress in a graph and gives you the option to sign up to its online community for support and motivation.

What’s stopping you?

We know that for many people, being bombarded with other peoples diets and suggestions for weight-loss can be frustrating at this time of the year so we would love to emphasise the first point… buy local fresh produce, quit the ready-meals and takeaways, save some money while eating better food… that would be a great thing to do in 2015 right?