Starting the New Year by Eating Healthy

familyAs the winter season continues, as holiday party sweet-treats and dishes tempt us and add on extra pounds, and as the new year steadily approaches, we must decide which habits we want to leave behind and what resolutions we want to take on. New Year’s resolutions can both feel and be difficult to maintain, especially after months of eating holiday food and desserts. Thankfully, every day is a new opportunity to adopt healthy habits in efforts toward a healthy lifestyle free of disease. To stay motivated and committed to your resolutions, start small by setting realistic, achievable goals and strategies for yourself.

Healthy eating begins with mindfulness and awareness of what food you’re consuming, and how much is on your plate. When you pay attention to what you’re eating, you can make small changes that make a big difference. [1] It’s the overall pattern of your eating choices that counts, one that emphasizes lots of colorful fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, lean proteins, and limits saturated and trans fats, sodium, and sugar. In making your resolutions, keep it simple by gradually adding more vegetables into each meal, cutting out sugary sweets or replacing them with a piece of fruit, or even drinking more water throughout the day. [2] As you practice mindfulness in the new year, try these healthy-eating tips to help you along the way:

  1. Involve the Whole Family: Make a family commitment to eat well and get more exercise in the new year, helping you meet your goals and stay committed to a healthy lifestyle. Make it fun, and let your children pick out a new fruit or vegetable in the grocery store each week, and figure out together how to cook or prepare it in a healthy way.
  2. Eat Seasonally: A great way to incorporate more vegetables and fruit into your diet, eating seasonally also means putting less strain on your wallet because you’re buying from the abundance of produce the season has to offer, as well as supporting your local farmers.
  3. Cut Out Processed Food: Replace processed food that is nutrient-poor with delicious, fiber-rich alternatives like fresh fruit, chopped veggies, and whole-grains. Eat more vegetables and fruits, whether fresh, frozen, dried or canned. Add them to dishes your family already loves and use them as healthier sides, snacks and desserts. If you choose canned, watch for added sodium and sugars. [3]

[1] This Holiday Season, Eat Mindful, Not Mindless

[2] 5 Heart Healthy Resolutions for the New Year

[3] Healthy Eating Habits Start at Home

 

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