New Year, New You: A Four Week Challenge for Change

The Chequamegon Food Co-op wants to help you keep your resolution to eat healthier in 2013. To do that, we have created the New Year, New You Challenge for Change. This challenge is not about dieting; it is about changing the way you think about food. It is about making small changes to the way you eat that will give you big rewards in the way you feel.

If you would like to participate in the Challenge for Change, use this article as a guide for what to do in the coming weeks. If you’ve stumbled upon this article in the middle of the month, just start at week 1 and work your way through the plan until you’ve added each of these healthy habits to your routine. While this challenge is based on information from nutritionists, please consult with your doctor before embarking on this or any nutrition program.

Week 1 Challenge: Introduce more fresh produce into your diet. Aim for three to four servings of fresh fruits and vegetables per day.  The USDA found that the average cost per serving of many fruits and vegetables sits at $0.25 or less. This means for as little as $.64 per day, the USDA says you can meet your daily required intake. This week buy $5 worth of fresh produce for each person in your household.

Week 2 Challenge: Take multivitamins. As you change the way you eat – eating more whole foods, fruits, and vegetables – you should also increase the amount of vitamins and minerals you ingest. Why should you consider still taking supplements, then? Our stressful lifestyles often lead to digestive problems, including decreased absorption of vitamins and minerals. This week purchase multivitamins and take them daily at the same time. Since it is best to take supplements with a meal, choose to down yours either with breakfast or dinner.

Week 3 Challenge: Increase your intake of probiotics and enzymes. You can find these helpful microorganisms and proteins in various foods or in supplements. The most common food sources of probiotics are yogurt, kefir, fermented pickles (yes, pickles!), and other fermented vegetables such as sauerkraut or kimchi. You’ll also find beneficial enzymes in raw honey, raw nuts, raw sprouts, and many other raw foods. Add some of probiotic and enzyme rich foods or supplements to your diet every day. It can be as simple as having a yogurt for breakfast or salad for lunch.

Week 4 Challenge: Add vegan meals to your menu. Studies have shown an increase in calorie burning after vegan meals. In fact, a recent study found vegans generally have a lower Body Mass Index (BMI) than meat eaters. This doesn’t mean you need to swear off meat and other animal products completely. Instead add meals without animal-based products to your weekly menu. Eat five vegan meals this week. While meat-substitutes are an easy way to do this, try eating tofu, beans, lentils, and nuts for your protein sources.

Are you taking the Challenge for Change? If so, please feel free to leave a comment on this post letting us know you are joining in. At the end of the month, we would love to hear how you did in the challenge. Did you complete the whole month? Did you notice any changes in your health? Contact us and let us know how you did!