I am a working class millennial, who used to take her mind and body health for granted most of the time. I’ve always been so busy drowning myself in virtual pages of endless work and time-consuming hobbies like staring at the polluted night sky, that I never had time to cook a proper meal for myself. And then there was my forever dilemma that I never had enough money to buy the ‘right ingredients’ to make a healthy meal. How was I supposed to save money when my essentials include a regular ‘grande hazelnut cappuccino’ or a deliciously creamy slice of new york cheesecake at an interval of every three days? However, things in my life had to change. Even if that meant breaking all my rules and making it my new year resolution to prepare a healthy diet plan for myself.
I was never amazing at keeping my new year resolution. However, during the winter of 2018, not too long before the New Year began, I was sure that I would sail myself into an ocean of medical problems. They would start from trips to tiny islets like high blood pressure and low haemoglobin and finally come to a settlement on a larger island of diseases like cholesterol, diabetes, heart problems, etc.
My freakish eating and spending habits had begun taking a toll on my physical and monetary health. Sometimes, I would eat a good meal at night, yet order takeout, because I had this itch in my hands to spend money. Plus, ordering food online was so easy that my fingers involuntarily travelled to such corners of my smartphone, knowing it was a simpler solution than getting out of my duvet to even make a simple cup of tea. Seeing how my habits were turning my lifestyle lazy and unhealthy, I decided that it was time to switch from heavy cups of coffee to lighter teas and change cheeseburgers into lean chicken salads.
So, in 2019, my new year resolution is to adopt a healthy diet plan, without compromising with my budget.
Why is having a healthy diet plan important?
While committing to a healthy diet plan isn’t the easiest thing, especially for a working millennial, it can be one of the smartest decisions one could make in their lives. Unhealthy diet can hinder our creative engines. This is a bad thing for me and for many other imaginative people who spend their lives on box pizzas and sodas. What we eat can affect our creative energies. Processed foods high in trans fats, excessive sodium and sugar, as well as artificial ingredients, can drain us of creativity. Such foods leave us feeling foggy, uninspired and downright bored, not to mention lethargic and sickly.
When a person follows a healthy diet plan, they tend to increase their productivity, save money on regular medical bills while enhancing their moods. And if followed long-term, it can also help regulate body weight.
Tips for a Healthy Diet Plan
Initially, when I planned to adopt a healthy diet plan as my new year resolution, I was scared for I thought I’d spend my entire paycheck on expensive organic or gourmet ingredients. However, eating healthy doesn’t have to be expensive. We can always opt for techniques that aren’t too heavy on our pocket or stomachs:
1. Give up the brand obsession: When on the mission to create a healthy diet plan, buy products of generic or store brands. Generic brands are generally not packed in fancy packaging and appear on the lower shelves of a supermarket. The packaging may differ, but the product quality is almost similar.
2. Buy items in bulk and on sale: It is always a better option to buy items in bulk wherever possible. Items like oats, cereal, whole wheat, rice, pulses, frozen vegetables etc, can be stored for a long time without getting spoilt. Also, when being thrifty, it is better to buy on sales like ‘1+1’, or ‘flat __ % off’. This saves time and gives the opportunity to purchase items that we may not generally buy due to high prices.
3. Buy whole foods: In the journey of trying to live healthy, it is best to purchase whole foods. Processed foods are full of additives, preservatives and unhealthy ingredients that do more harm than good. Plus, they are expensive.
4.Buy season fruits and vegetables: This is the most important trick to being on a healthy diet plan while on a budget. Buy seasonal vegetables and fruits and avoid pricey off-season foods. Not only will these be cheaper than the others but will also be more fresh and high in nutritional value.
5. Add tea to your diet: The longest standing tradition to any healthy diet plan is the addition of green tea and herbal tisanes which are rich in antioxidants. They refresh your mind and body and help with many things like digestion, immunity, sleep, stress etc. Teafloor’s ChaiSpa is one such wellness tea brand that offers a variety of teas which specialise in these areas. The variety Spoorti is an aid for weight management while Ananda is a sip of tranquility to ease the stress of daily life. Similarly, for those who wish to fight off infections and detoxify their bodies, there is Arogya and Shuddhi. One of the main reasons to incorporate tea in your diet is to help your body stabilize during this transition. Tea will help curb untimely hunger pangs.
6.Shop and eat like locals: When on a budget, it is best to shop at the local markets for perishables like milk, cheese, eggs etc. for they come in lower prices with good deals. Similarly, when cooking food, keep your dishes simple with minimal ingredients. The fancier the dish is, the more ingredients it will require which will make it pocket hostile. Also, opt for dishes that are made with locally available ingredients. Local ingredients are cheaper. For example, in India, making a bowl of spiced mix vegetable is cheaper than a bowl of pasta cooked in herbs and parmesan cheese.
7.Cook in bulks: When asked to cook in bulks, many people are reluctant to do so. This is because they feel that the food will go bad or they will waste it. However, if you have the proper means of food storage, then cooking in bulk is a good option. When you cook in bulk, you will save on time, energy and fuel. Storing food in the fridge or freezer is always easier than pulling out ingredients to cook food every time. Following this method of cooking will allow portion control as well, which is necessary when eating healthy.
Creating a Sample Healthy Diet Plan
Cooking is one of the hobbies I enjoy only when I have the right amount of time on my hands, which is rare. However, in my endeavor to live healthily as my New Year resolution, it is necessary to take out time for these activities.
To be able to follow a healthy diet plan, my entire routine requires adjustment. This starts from waking up early, to going to bed on time, with tiny adjustments to the time spent on phones or wasting away on the couch watching the television.
A single day’s diet plan will include the following:
|Meal||Food & Beverage||Alternatives|
|Morning Drink||Warm lemon water||Honey lemon water/ Apple cider vinegar water|
|1 Egg with 2 Whole wheat toast+ 1 whole seasonal fruit+ 1 cup of green tea (eg. ChaiSpa’s Urja)||Vegetable or Milk oats/ Porridge/ Cornflakes with milk/ scrambled eggs with toast.|
|Lunch||2 Roti+ 1 small bowl green vegetables+ yogurt||Chickpea curry with rice/ chicken curry+ 2 roti/ lean chicken salad|
|After Lunch (Between 3-5 pm)||1 cup of green tea (Eg. ChaiSpa’s Trupti)+ light sandwiches||Peanut butter sandwich/ whole wheat cookies|
|Dinner||1 bowl of vegetables+ 2 roti||Spinach pasta (in winters)/ Seasonal soup+ Light Sprout tomato salad/ Yogurt+ fruits
(before going to bed)
|Herbal green tea (Eg. Chamomile, ChaiSpa’s Nidra etc.)||Honey lemon water/ Apple cider vinegar with warm water|
- This diet plan was created keeping in mind the average spending capacity of a working person.
My New Year Resolution
We have forever been under the microscope to look ‘perfect’. People force themselves into the conformity of these strange ‘body goals’ where they either end up starving themselves or binge eating. However, our lives are short. And they are not about being skinny or curvy. Life is about being healthy. In 2019, my New Year resolution is about grow into a person who is comfortable in her skin. Becoming happy with yourself and treating yourself right doesn’t just begin with eating healthy and keeping away from harmful habits. It also means enjoying the little things in life like an old classic with rusty pages that take you back to wonderland or a fruity cup of green tea. This year, while my New Year resolution will hopefully take me towards a healthier path, make sure your resolution takes you where you want to go while doing what makes you happy. And remember, there is no failure, you either win or you learn.