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Eating for the Best You in the New Year

By: Sarah Muniz, RD, LDN, Avance Care Registered Dietitian

Happy 2017! With the start of a New Year, we often choose to start New Year’s resolutions of losing weight, exercising more and trying out the latest fad diets. It seems as though we’re often trying to figure out what we must take away to help us reach our goals. Instead, let’s focus this year on adding positives to our daily diet and our weekly meals as opposed to removing and restricting ourselves, leaving us feeling deprived. Let’s add color! Let’s add healthy fats! Let’s add new fruits and vegetables! Let’s add a new recipe to the family meals! Let’s add more fiber! Let’s add a workout partner, an accountability partner, and build a great circle of support! Let’s add joy back into our cooking and eating!

Here are some ideas you may consider adding to your new year!

Start and end your day with something plant-based.
o Add a piece of fruit to your breakfast routine.
o Add some chopped veggies to your scrambled eggs.
o Add some dark leafy greens to your morning smoothie.
o Add a side salad to dinner.
o Add some sautéed or pureed veggies to your pasta sauce.
o Add some extra frozen veggies to your frozen dinner.

Eat more fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors.
o The more color your incorporate, the more vitamins and minerals you’ll consume!
o Aim to incorporate as many different colors as you can into every day.
o Think of adding reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, purples, whites and browns!

Reward yourself to reinforce successful changes, but not with food.
o Treat yourself to a manicure, go see a movie or buy a new shirt!
o When you see food as a reward, you fail to connect that food is fuel.
o Food rewards teach you to expect food when you’ve done something well and can prevent you from listening to your hunger cues.
o Food rewards also teach you that the food rewarded is more desirable than other foods.

When eating out, make reasonable choices to keep your meals healthy.
o Choose baked/grilled over fried.
o Ask for sauces and salad dressing on the side.
o Order water with your meal to avoid adding empty calories.
Every day is a good day to invest in yourself and invest in living a high-quality life. Healthy eating and staying active can help you to achieve that.5 When you think of the food you eat to fill your hunger, think of what that food will provide you in terms of nutrients, energy, and fuel for your system. Focus on adding “nutrient rich” foods in place of saying that you need to eat more “good” foods and less “bad” foods.3 Instead, think of foods as either helpful or not helpful towards reaching your goals. Maintaining a positive outlook on what you choose to put in your body will encourage you to build good habits and these good habits will help you to sustain a healthy lifestyle long-term.

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Here are some tips for choosing “nutrient-rich” foods and beverages:
Fill half your plate with colorful fruits and/or vegetables at every meal.

Choose whole grains at least half of the time. Tip: The first ingredient on the food label should read “whole grain” or “whole wheat.”

Add other healthy protein sources to your diet. These include: beans, nuts, seeds, and seafood.

Add more lean protein sources to your diet. Choose skinless poultry, beef and pork with less fat marbling, white meat in place of dark meat, and choose grilled, baked or broiled over fried.

Add low-fat dairy to your diet. If you’re lactose intolerant, calcium-fortified soy beverages are a great alternative.

Choose water most of the time and try to limit sugary-sweetened beverages.

Limit foods with added fat, sugar and salt.

As 2017 kicks into full swing, take some of these ideas that work well with your lifestyle and invest in improving your health. What works for one person does not work for all. So, focus on being the best you that you can be and stay committed to being proud of yourself!

References
1. http://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/top-10-diet-and-nutrition-resolutions#1
2. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/your-health-and-your-weight/say-yes-to-non-food-rewards
3. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/dietary-guidelines-and-myplate/eating-right-isnt-complicated
4. http://www.eatright.org/resource/health/lifestyle/seasonal/make-resolutions-stick-focus-on-family
5. http://www.eatright.org/resource/food/nutrition/healthy-eating/bite-into-a-healthy-lifestyle

Categories: Healthy Living,  Uncategorized
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