Tips for a Healthy New Year

Match the menu to your daily schedule, and not the opposite; do sports for fun and pleasure; drink a lot of water; cleverly choose your menu's components; stop tormenting yourself over forbidden bites; and don't forget to spoil yourself from time to time, with a truly worthwhile meal, that will charge the batteries. Want to start the New Year off on the right foot with the correct nutrition and healthy diet? Gilit Manchel, clinical dietician, presents: 5 tips for balanced and healthy nutrition.

1. Match the menu to your daily schedule
Every one of us has a different daily schedule. For some of us it's a standard daily schedule – we wake up in the morning, send the kids off to school at half past seven, sit down for breakfast at eight, run to the office and eat lunch there at a regular time, etc., etc. Others wake up later, work at night, spend full days out of the house, can't bear the thought of breakfast or won't eat after 6 at night. The most important thing is to suit your menu to your day and not the other way round. If you don't like to sit and eat breakfast, grab a fruit or health bar. If you don't have time for a set lunch between meetings – remember to prepare a stock of sandwiches or cut up vegetables in advance. Find the solutions that suit you and your schedule, don't leave huge gaps between your meals and allow yourself to reach the point of hunger, so that you won't be temped by unnecessary snacks.

2. Maintain the treats
A diet's greatest enemy is not a set menu or lack of information – in the end we all know what we need to do in order to loose weight. The diet's greatest enemy is the feeling that the diet is a 'punishment', resulting in lowered motivation. Therefore, it is recommended that each one of us find one thing which we won't give up on, even when on a diet – and maintain it. A bag of chips, chocolate, an outing to a great restaurant - all are permissible on a diet, just within proportion.

3. Choose Wisely
Choosing wisely means that on a diet you don't need to avoid anything in particular – but to eat in the correct proportions. The trick is to feel satisfied, and carbohydrates are the most satisfying food component. However, among carbohydrates there are different types of and levels, which are more or less satisfying – for example, a sandwich made of light bread with 5% cheese and vegetables is equivalent in calorie count to two pieces of fruit. Try to eat all the major food groups, and within each group, try to choose the items that satisfy you most along with what you like.

4. Stop cutting calories
If an apple contains 70 calories, and a slice of bread contains 40, and on the bread are 2 slices of cold cut containing about 50 calories each, and a spoonful of mustard, so…fed up yet? Endlessly counting calories won't get you anywhere. It will only turn your relationship with food into an obsession and take all the fun out of food. So instead of carrying your calculator around with you and counting the calories in each bite, try to get your eating into a pattern, in order to prevent big surprises.

5. Drink lots of water
The truth is that water has got a lot of amazing properties – in addition to the fact that it's thirst quenching, drinking lots of water cleanses and hydrates the body, and renews the skin. The most important thing, in our case – is that drinking 2 cups of water before every meal fills the digestive system, creating the sensation of fullness, thereby saving us some calories for what we’d really like to be eating. It is desirable, of course, to drink water over any sort of sweetened beverage, because of every cup of sweetened beverage adds a lot of calories. And if you don't like your water au natural – try adding a bit or fresh mint, or a slice of lemon.