New Year, Improved You

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NUTRITION

by Grace Iberle, RDN, LDN, CHC, CPT

For this New Year’s resolution, instead of simply “eating better,” make your resolution more specific and you will be more likely to achieve it. The reason many resolutions fail is because they are vague and there is no plan of action. Focus on incorporating healthier foods, which in turn will leave less room for the unhealthy ones. Take a look at your current eating plan and assess where you can improve!

Include fruits and vegetables in all meals

Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and disease fighting phytochemicals; which can reduce your risk for heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, & certain cancers.  Aim to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables and integrate them into snacks as well.

Put it into Action: Keep a bowl of whole fruit on the table in plain sight. Keep a bowl of cut-up veggies in a see-through container in the fridge. Make a fruit smoothie with some greens mixed in for breakfast or make a veggie-packed omelet or egg muffins. Eat a salad or have it as a side with lunch. Eat carrots and celery with hummus as a snack or an apple with peanut butter. Add in vegetables to your meals, for example cut up onions, peppers, mushrooms to your pasta sauce.

Eat fish 2-3 times per week

Fish is full of heart healthy fats, especially omega-3 fatty acids, and is a good source of protein. Include salmon, herring, sardines, char, Atlantic mackerel, and rainbow trout as these all have lower mercury levels. If you are pregnant or breastfeeding, only eat fully cooked fish and avoid fish with high levels of mercury such as king mackerel, marlin, shark, swordfish, tilefish (Gulf of Mexico), orange roughy and bigeye tuna.

Put it into Action: Order seafood when dining out. Have a poke bowl for lunch. Mix a can of salmon with an egg and breadcrumbs to make mini patties to bake. Mix a can of light tuna with Greek yogurt and add in celery and onion for a healthy and easy tuna salad. Experiment with different flavors: lemon, garlic, dill, orange-ginger, teriyaki, or low-sodium soy sauce.

Drink water, milk, or unsweetened tea or coffee with your meals

Sugar sweetened beverages can add on the added sugars and excess calories. Staying hydrated is important to keep our bodies running optimally.

Put it into Action: Stay hydrated by starting your day off right by drinking a big glass of water. Carry a water bottle around with you, if it’s in sight, we’re more likely to drink it!

Choose whole grains

Whole grains are higher in fiber, protein, and have more vitamins and minerals compared to refined grains. Consuming whole grains will give you a more stable release of energy and keep you feeling full for longer.

Put it into Action: Purchase brands that say 100% whole grain and check the ingredient list for the first ingredient to say “Whole _______.” Experiment with different whole grains such as amaranth, brown rice, buckwheat, bulgur, millet, barley, quinoa, spelt, oats, rye, whole grain wheat, wild rice.

If you have multiple goals you want to work towards, make a list, start from the top and once one becomes a habit, move onto the next one.

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