Welcome to The Kit, our new series where we ask experts from different fields which tools they think we need to succeed in life. First up, we asked crystal expert Emmy Lou Knowles about how to tune into your more spiritual side, but for the second edition, we've called upon nutritionist Gabriella Peacock for her advice on the small but significant changes you can make to start 2018 in the healthiest way…
Considering we've all just about emerged from that cheese- and wine-induced coma more commonly known as December, we get it: The thought of healthy eating right now seems like a bit of a hard mountain to climb. But as Peacock promises, it really doesn't have to be, as long as you're realistic with yourself. January isn't the time for a full health makeover (it's far too cold for that), but there are small and easy changes that you can implement to ensure your nutrition gets back on track for the year ahead. Below, she lays out five surprisingly achievable habits to start now.
1. Swap diet coke for kombucha
If you're a Diet Coke fiend and scoff at the idea that water is any real kind of substitute, Peacock has some advice. "I really enjoy drinking fermented drinks such as kombucha, which contains live microbes," she explains. "It tastes great and gives me an energy boost when I'm feeling sluggish. Plus, I like that it has a subtle fizz, although it's still no way as fizzy as Diet Coke." Or you could try kefir.
2. Take a vitamin D supplement
"I would encourage everyone to take a vitamin D supplement at this time of year when the days are short and the sunlight is limited," Peacock recommends. "Vitamin D is a supernutrient (which is actually a hormone), and it's quite difficult to get it through the diet alone. Aim for 10 micrograms daily." Plus we have more info on the supplements to take in 2018 here.
3. Stock up on cavolo nero
Keeping the fridge stocked with healthy foods is a surefire way to eat more of them. And for winter, there's one clear food winner that Peacock can't get enough of. "I always stock up on green leafy veg—kale, cavolo nero, broccoli, bok choy, spinach—as they're all packed with antioxidants, vitamin C, vitamin K and folate, which are all great for the immune system." Perfect for fending off that winter cold.
4. Snack smart
"I always carry snacks for midafternoon cravings and dips in my blood sugar levels such as little bags of nuts/seeds," explains Peacock. "The Punch Foods seed selection is delicious, and they're sprouted, which makes them super healthy. The high protein content of these snacks means the glucose is released more slowly, keeping you feeling fuller for longer, plus nuts are nutritional wonders—high in magnesium, zinc, copper and manganese, plus B vitamins and vitamin E."
5. Train your mental strength
When it comes to good nutrition, Peacock is a firm believer that it's all in the mind. "It certainly helps to be organised, and I really like to use apps on my phone to make lists and set reminders," she explains. "I have started to use the Headspace app and try to do yoga or Pilates a couple of times a week too. If it's sunny, I make sure I take a break from clinic and walk around the block on my lunch break. Basically, I find my mental strength and coping mechanisms improve if I exercise and sleep well."