New Year: New Foods
One of the best goals that you can set for yourself in the New Year is a goal that affects all areas of your life: good nutrition. When your body is getting the proper nutrition it needs, you will feel better and have more physical and mental energy. Here are some nutrition goals for 2015 to get you on your way:
1. Try new foods. Ever tried quinoa? How about star fruit? A good way to get more variety in a healthy diet is to stop eating carrots sticks and apples every day and start trying new fruits and vegetables. Get out of your healthy eating rut and try something new!
2. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Your new goal is to have between 5 and 9 servings of fruits and vegetables per day. It sounds like a lot, but it’s actually a very attainable goal. And, since you’re trying new foods, it’ll be easy to fill your daily quota.
3. Reduce your intake of refined and processed foods. Sugar, white rice and white flour are fine to enjoy every once in a while, but not on a regular basis. These foods are stripped of most nutrients and benefits in the refining process. This means that when you put them into your body, they digest at a faster rate than they should, making your blood sugar and energy levels fluctuate. Also make it a point to eliminate as many processed foods from your diet. They are often high in sodium and trans fats.
4. Eat breakfast every day. Start your day off with a high fiber, high protein breakfast. This way, you’ll be less prone to feeling acutely hungry later in the day, making you more prone to poor food choices.
5. Spices for variety. When you cut a lot of sodium out of your diet, sometimes your food may begin to taste bland, since you’ve been used to the taste of processed foods. This is where a well-stocked spice cabinet can come in handy. Try new spices in your foods, so you can enjoy variety and new flavors in your diet.
6. Eat more meals at home. Restaurant food can be delicious, but it’s often unhealthy. Fast food especially has poor nutritional quality and high sodium, and trans fats that you should avoid. Make it a habit to eat more meals at home, where you can prepare food with whole ingredients, rather than succumbing to the siren calls of a hot cheeseburger and fries.
7. Check your portion sizes. Many people don’t realize their food portions are far larger than they should be. A general guideline is to have half your plate be vegetable, ¼ protein and ¼ starch.
8. Healthy snacks. A good way to keep yourself eating nutritionally dense foods is to prepare some healthy snacks ahead of time, so you have a healthy option when your stomach is growling or you’re in a hurry.
9. Avoid soda or other sugary drinks. Nothing will hydrate your body like water will. Avoid soda and other similar drinks because they contain ingredients (like sugar or aspartame) that are harmful to your body, as well as habit forming.
10. Eat seafood. Too many people underestimate the value of seafood. It’s a great way to get your omega-3 fatty acids and is a lean way to get protein.
Ring in 2015 with a fresh perspective and a motivation to eat healthier foods!
Photo credit: roseannadana / iWoman / CC BY-ND