Making a healthy start for the year ahead

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Sussex-based broadcaster and health and wellbeing expert Monica Price talks to the Times about how making the healthiest possible start to the New Year…


January is the winter month known for setting New Year’s resolutions, starting a new diet, and contemplating change. This is often the time when you look at your health and wellbeing and want to make changes.

Rather than setting yourself goals that may be difficult for you to achieve, look at more realistic goals to help make you feel better about yourself.

Try the SMART approach – Small, Manageable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.


  • Instead of starting a new ‘fad’ diet – simply make your diet healthier by adding more fruit, vegetables, fish, lean meats and plant-based foods to your weekly menu.
  • Cut down on your sugary food and drink. Too much sugar in your diet can not only lead to weight gain, but also affects the way your pancreas produces insulin, increasing your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Use your freezer as your friend and cook more than you usually do. You can then portion these into containers and you are ready to have a healthy meal in minutes when you don’t really want to cook.
  • Try making delicious and tasty vegetable soups. You can add any leftover vegetables, beans, lentils, spinach, watercress, onion and garlic for a dish packed with essential nutrients.
  • Instead of eating your fruit cold – why not slice and warm it up. Good choices are apples, fresh or frozen berries, pineapple or orange. These can easily be frozen so you have them to hand.
  • Try swapping one of your snacks high in fat, sugar and salt to a healthier option. By simply swapping one or two sugary snacks you can really make a difference to a healthier you.
  • Keep your body hydrated and drink more water. Your body is mostly made up of water – nearly two thirds – so it’s important to aim for six to eight glasses a day. Try having a glass of water, instead of a fizzy drink or coffee for example. Add fresh fruit to your water to change the flavour. Hydration is needed for your heart and circulation, digestion, for temperature control and for our brain to work well.



  • Go outdoors as much as you can during daylight hours and embrace nature. A short walk or cycle ride is not only good for your body, but exercise helps to release endorphins and contributes towards a better mood and wellbeing.
  • If you are unable to go outdoors then make sure you have plenty of indoor plants. They not only look nice, but research has found that a friendly bacteria in plant soil (mycobaterium vaccae) triggers the release of serotonin, that can help alleviate symptoms of low mood and depression.
  • Variety is important, so take up a new hobby that you really enjoy – you are more likely to stick to it if it’s something that makes you happy.

Remember you have a whole new year to make changes, so treat your New Year as a marathon, rather than a sprint.

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