From New Year's Resolutions to Healthy Habits
One of my main goals as a dietitian isn't to get the client to lose weight. I never recommend someone make a New Year's resolution to lose 30 pounds. Instead, I encourage clients to set a goals to form healthy habits. Healthier habits might result in weight loss, but it's more important to form healthy eating habits than to have quick weight loss.
As we head towards the New Year, here are two healthy habits to consider...
1. Eating 5 servings of fruits & vegetables daily.
Why? Plants are nutrient-rich foods. They provide many vitamins & minerals. They also contain healthy compounds you may have heard of, like quercetin & resveratrol. Figs (pictured) provide antioxidants from polyphenols & antioxidants.
What about the cost? Look for discounts. When I make my grocery list, I usually don't plan on purchasing a specific fruit or vegetable. Instead, I look for the best deals at the store. Besides sales, you might find that produce has been marked down due to bruises or other imperfections. It's okay to buy frozen or canned produce, too, if it's cheaper than fresh. Just be sure to rinse away any salt or sugar used to help preserve it.
Easy way to eat more: You don't have to jump right into having salads daily. Start by adding vegetables to foods you already enjoy. Stir tomatoes & peppers into your scrambled eggs. Add carrots to your chili. Chop tomatoes, onions, and peppers for pico de gallo on Taco Tuesday instead of using canned salsa.
2. Making at least half your grains whole grains.
Why? Whole grains provide more fiber than refined grains. Fiber can help us feel fuller after eating and can help us have regular bowel movements. Whole grain foods help stabilize blood sugar, instead of causing a blood sugar spike like processed carbs.
Don't be afraid of the cost. More and more store brands offer inexpensive whole grain options. It used to be just the expensive natural or organic brands that offered whole grain, but store brands offer it too!
Easy swaps: Make oatmeal with rolled oats or steel cut oats for breakfast. Einkorn & barley groats can also be used to make breakfast porridge. Choose a whole grain bread, like wheat, barley, rye, or even oat bread. Switch from white rice to brown rice or black rice. Try whole wheat crackers over saltines. You might find that you like the taste better!
What healthy habits are you working on? Any habits that you are struggling to change?