New Year Nutrition – Healthy Eating 101

It’s that time again – it’s a New Year and that means that the “get healthy” resolutions are out in full-force! We’re all excited to make changes and we’ve got BIG plans. We start today with enthusiasm and we’re really rocking it until Wednesday morning. Well, maybe some us make it all the way to Friday, but I think we all know that story. It’s not that our intentions aren’t good or that our goals are crazy, but instead that we often “bite off more than we can chew” going into things. Too many changes too quickly equals quick burnout and a speedy return to old habits.

This year try something different. Maybe instead of going from carb coma to keto and from KFC to kale right out of the gate, focus on small manageable changes. Shift your thinking and patterns slowly, because we all know that slow and steady wins the race, right?

If you’re not sure where to start – here are some great ideas:

Focus on COLOR not Calories

Let’s face it counting calories and tracking macros = NO FUN.  Next time you cook or make meal/snack choices, think about how colorful your plate is instead of how many calories you’re consuming. Make it your goal to have at least 3 different colors at every meal (not counting ketchup and Ranch dressing…). You can’t go wrong when you put nutrients before calories. Remember, no one ever became overweight from eating too many vegetables!!

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Fire up the Stove – Cook at Home

Now, there’s nothing wrong with eating out occasionally, but taking control of what’s in your food and prepping most of your meals at home will more often than not be better for both your waistline and your wallet!

We’re all busy and this doesn’t need to be crazy elaborate stuff! Here are some time saving strategies for all of us that would die of hunger without the drive-thru.

  • Instapot or crockpot cooking is where it’s at. You can do some pretty magical things with a package of chicken breasts and a jar of salsa. Seriously, MAGICAL. These methods of cooking are EASY with a capitol “E”. Just dump all the recipe ingredients in, go out and live your best life (or go to work…) and when dinner time rolls around – you are set!
  • Use frozen veggies instead of chopping your own – super easy, super fast, super nutritious.

Get Wise about Portion Size

So, believe it or not – you don’t have to eat the whole thing. No, seriously. We live in a more is better, push ‘til it fits society and our ideas about what ‘normal’ portions are not necessarily helping our get healthy goals.

Instead of cleaning your plate, cue into your hunger and learn what healthy portions for you are. Eat when you’re hungry, not starving and stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed.

Balance Your Plate

One of the main keys to satisfaction lies in the make-up of your meals. A combination of protein, carbs (no, they are not all evil) and healthy fats helps us stay fueled and feel our best.

The recipe for a balanced plate is simple! Just fill at least ½ of your plate with non-starchy vegetables – greens, asparagus, cauliflower, broccoli, etc.; ¼ with high-quality protein lean beef, lean pork, skinless poultry, fish/seafood, beans/legumes, low-fat cottage cheese, etc.; and ¼ with starchy vegetables or whole grains like potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, brown rice, oatmeal, etc. Add a little fat for flavor – avocado, olives, cheese, butter, or cook using olive oil. With fats, portions are especially important!

Well, there it is. Start by doing one or two of these things or jump in with both feet depending on where you’re at in your healthy eating journey now. Remember that all good things take time and developing new and healthy habits is one of those things. Give yourself some grace because pizza is a life requirement and ice cream is delicious.