Can you believe we are just a few days away from the New Year? Now that the holidays are over, it’s time for me to relax, rest, and refill my cup, and I hope you get to do the same!
Resolving to Eat Healthier in the New Year
Do you like to write new year’s resolutions? I find it important for myself to focus on two, maybe three, personal goals that I would like to achieve in the next year. When I’m writing my resolutions, I focus strongly on self-care. You see, I’m a Libra and I spend a lot of time helping and caring for others. I can easily put my needs aside.
One of my favorite quotes is “You cannot pour from an empty cup. You must fill your cup first.” I’m not sure who said it, but it resonates with me. As a nutritionist, refilling your cup means feeding your body good quality, clean food. Giving your body the fuel it needs is essential to tackle each day with sustained energy and a focused mind. And when you feed your body quality food, the end result is feeling and looking healthier!
So, let’s get back to those new year’s resolutions! The question I get asked the most often is: how can I eat healthier? And, my best advice to answer that question is to eat clean. Eat foods that are whole foods, closest to their most natural state, and avoid processed and packaged foods that are loaded with artificial preservatives and additives.
If you are writing new year’s resolutions and one of them is eat healthier, here are five tips on how to do just that!
1. Eat a Rainbow of Fresh Produce
We know that eating a diet high in fresh, seasonal produce is the cornerstone to every healthy diet. It’s also important to choose fruits and vegetables that provide an abundance of color. The color pigments found in plants have been shown to positively affect our body. Lycopene, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, and anthocyanidin are some of the more common pigments found in the produce we eat. They are powerful antioxidants and reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease.
2. Incorporate Fermented Foods or Beverages into Your Daily Diet
Fermenting foods and beverages were common practice in nearly every traditional culture. Yogurt, kefir, sauerkraut, kimchi, and kombucha are examples of foods that are produced through fermentation. They are powerful sources of probiotics which help keep the gut in harmony, suppress the overgrowth of bad bacteria, improve immune function, aid the body in assimilating nutrients, and rid the body of toxins. Set a goal of incorporating at least one probiotic food into your daily diet.
3. Use High Quality Fats
Stick to the traditional fats such as animal fats, butter, coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil, and strictly avoid partially and fully hydrogenated fats (trans fats). Animal fats, coconut oil, avocado oil, and clarified butter (ghee) are excellent for high heat. Grass-fed butter and coconut oil are healthy substitutions for shortening in baked products, and extra-virgin olive oil is the perfect start to a heart healthy marinade or salad dressing.
The worst fat to consume for your heart and overall health is trans-fat. Read the label and look for partially or fully hydrogenated oils in the ingredient list. If they are listed, then the product contains trans-fat. Main food sources are margarine and shortening, and products made with these ingredients. Removing this fat from your diet is one of the healthiest things you can do for your overall health!
4. Choose Environmentally-Responsible Proteins
Conventionally raised meat, fish, dairy and eggs are higher in unhealthy fats and lower in fat-soluble vitamins. They are often routinely fed antibiotics, GMO feed or food, and, in cattle (including dairy cows), growth hormones are used as well.
Choose the alternative. The proteins listed below are not only better for the animals and the environment, they’re healthier for you while also providing a superior flavor.
- Grass-fed beef and dairy
- Pasture-raised pork, lamb, poultry, and eggs
- Wild-caught fish and seafood
5. Watch What You Drink
Many people don’t consider the health consequences of beverages. Soda and sweetened drinks are high in empty calories in the form of sugar. An easy way to cut calories and slim your waistline is to make water your number one choice for the new year!
I encourage people to drink at least half their body weight in ounces. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, half your body weight is 75 pounds. Your daily water intake minimum should be 75 ounces. To make your H2O a little more fun, drink sparkling water with a squeeze of lime, lemon or orange. Also try herbal teas or my simple lemon-ginger tea.
Beth Blessing (Organic Beth) has a Masters in Nutrition and is the co-founder of Green Bean Delivery. She is a mother of three that loves supporting family farms and searching for unique, artisanal products. Her goal is to help others eat better and live a more natural, holistic life through healthy recipes and practical tips. Follow her on Facebook: @OrganicBeth