Tips for Improving Nutrition in the New Year
The new year is good time to adopt eating habits
that can help you lose excess pounds,
maintain a healthy weight,
and improve your overall health.
Try these 15 tips for a healthy diet in the new year:
- Fill half your plate with vegetables
Fewer than 1/3 of US adults consume the recommended 3 servings of vegetables each day.1,2
Include dark, leafy greens as well as orange and red vegetables that are high in fiber, potassium, folate, and vitamins A, C, and K. Because they are naturally low in calories, filling up on vegetables can help satisfy your hunger without adding unwanted pounds to your frame. In addition, data show that a diet rich in vegetables helps lower risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer3
- Choose water instead of sweetened beverages
Data show that many Americans get too many calories from the beverages they drink. In addition to causing weight gain, sweetened beverages increase risk of diabetes and heart disease1
- Replace processed sweets with fresh fruit
Fruit is naturally low in calories and provides vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that can help promote health3
- Reduce and measure portions
Reducing and measuring portions is key to losing excess weight and maintaining a healthy weight. Use nutrition facts labels to guide your portions. Choose a smaller plate for your meals. Share entrees or ask for a small (child's) portion when eating out
- Eat 120 or fewer calories per day of treats
Many snacks and treats such as cookies, cake, chips, and ice cream are high in sugar and fat. In addition, many treats offer little in the way of nutrition.1 Limiting the number of unnecessary calories you eat can help you better manage your weight
- Eat more meals at home
Eating at home helps ensure that you will have meals that are lower in calories, sodium, and fat.3 Restaurant portions tend to be too large. In addition, it can be easier to avoid appetizers and desserts when you are eating at home
- Focus on fiber
Low in fat, legumes such as kidney beans, pinto beans, black beans, lima beans, black-eyed peas, chickpeas, split peas, and lentils are excellent sources of fiber, protein, potassium, folate, and zinc. Soak dry beans over night or rinse canned beans to reduce your salt intake3
- Read food labels
Reading grocery and restaurant food labels that list calories, fat, cholesterol, sodium, carbohydrates, sugars, fiber, and protein can help keep you aware of what you're eating. With a focus on health, many restaurants are happy to provide nutrition information if you request it4
- Maximize Mediterranean meals
The Mediterranean diet is among the healthiest on the planet. Enjoy its many benefits, including reduced risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and certain cancers5
- Consume consciously
Data show that unconscious eating can add hundreds of unwanted calories a day to your diet. Do not eat while multitasking. Set a place at the table. Sit down. Chew slowly and focus on everything you are consuming. Savor the taste, texture, and aroma of your food
- Jot in a journal
Write down everything you eat. Even a 1-week food diary can reveal habits you might have overlooked. Keeping a food journal can help you make conscious changes to your eating habits that can improve your overall health2
- Eat whole, unprocessed grains
In addition to the whole grains with which you are accustomed, include ancient grains such as quinoa, amaranth, teff, millet, sorghum, and freekah for added fiber, minerals, antioxidants, and protein2
- Include probiotics in your diet
Foods such as yogurt, kefir, miso, sauerkraut, tempeh, and kimchi can contain microscopic organisms that help with digestion and boost the immune system. They also can help maintain healthy skin and improve nervous system function.6 Look for products that advertise probiotics on the label
- Stop eating when you feel satisfied rather than full
Once you've eaten what's on your plate, pause before eating more. It can take 20 minutes after eating before you feel satisfied1
- Keep healthy options handy
Replace your cookie jar with a bowl of fresh fruit on your table or counter, wash and prepare raw vegetables and store them at easy reach in your fridge, keep a container of ice water flavored with lemon, lime, or your favorite fruit at your fingertips, and stock your pantry with whole grains and low-calorie snacks. Avoid purchasing and keeping high-calorie treats on hand. Foods that are out of sight often are out of mind!
It's never too late to start eating right
and improve your health.
We can help!
Call Summit Medical Group Nutrition Services today
1. United States Department of Agriculture. Choose My Plate. Selected messages for consumers.
www.choosemyplate.gov/print-materials-ordering/selected-messages. Accessed January 8, 2015.
2. United States Department of Agriculture. Choose My Plate. Dietary guidelines consumer brochure.
www.choosemyplate.gov/print-materials-ordering/dietary-guidelines.Accessed January 8, 2015.
3. United States Department of Agriculture. Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2010.
www.health.gov/dietaryguidelines/dga2010/dietaryguidelines2010.pdf. Accessed January 8, 2015.
4. United States Food and Drug Administration. Overview of FDA Labeling Requirements for Restaurants, Similar Retail Food Establishments, and Vending Machines. www.fda.gov/Food/IngredientsPackagingLabeling/LabelingNutrition/ucm258732. Accessed January 8, 2015.
5. Oldways. Mediterranean Diet and Health. http://oldwayspt.org/resources/heritage-pyramids/mediterranean-diet-pyramid/med-diet-health. Accessed January 8, 2015.
6. American Gastroenterological Association. Probiotics: what they are and what they can do for you. www.gastro.org/patient-center/diet-medications/probiotics. Accessed January 8, 2015.
- Red and Green Holiday Tossed Salad
- Red and Green Holiday Fruit Dessert
- Veggie Lasagna
- Vegetable Barley Stew
- After-exercise Berry-blast Smoothie
- Summertime Shrimp Salad
- Healthy, Tasty Olive Oil Dressing
- Low-sugar Granola
- Tuna Pasta Salad
- Tofu Vegetable Stir Fry
- Healthy Breakfast Burritos
- Heart-healthy Spaghetti Sauce
- Parsnip Vegetable Soup
- Zesty Chicken and Pasta
- Warm Quinoa Salad
- Wholesome Whole Grain Muffins
- Tangy Asian Marinade
- Mediterranean Herbed Chicken
- Garlic Greens
- Fresh Spring Greens and Fruit Salad
- Healthy Rice Pilaf
- Microwave-baked Apples
- Broiled Salmon With Sauteed Kale
- Glorious Garden Gazpacho
- Chicken Salsa
- Chicken With Broccoli
- Delicious Warm Spinach Salad
- Puttanesca Sauce: A Mediterranean Delight
- Black Beans and Rice With Mango
- White Beans, Turkey Sausage, and Kale
- Rainbow Trout and Lentils
- Savory Salmon Salsa
- Fresh and Delicious Guacamole
- Lentil Stew
- Butternut Squash Soup
- Healthy and Delicious Ratatouille