Our society’s obsession with diets and weight has led many people to have unhealthy relationships with food. While it’s important to stay at a healthy weight, you don’t need to sacrifice tasty meals or eliminate whole food groups to stay fit. You need a well-rounded diet that provides you with the proteins, fats and carbohydrates to meet your needs and the right amount of average calories to maintain a healthy weight.
You can resolve to make small, easy changes that will help your overall nutrition. Resolutions should be based on specific behaviors rather than a number on the scale. Ease into one or all of these resolutions to feel great and healthy in 2014.
1) Cut down on higher fat meats.
Resolve to choose leaner choices of protein such as poultry, fish, nuts, beans and soy products. Red meats generally contain higher levels of saturated fats, which are harmful to heart health. Try to limit red meat to no more than twice per week and aim for smaller portion sizes. The palm of a woman’s hand is about the size of three to four ounces, which is the correct portion size of these meats. Challenge yourself to create a meatless meal at least one day per week.
2) Don’t eliminate all carbs; cut down on the refined ones.
Though many diets may require you cut out all carbohydrates, eating whole grain and high fiber carbohydrates help your body have energy all day and contribute to better digestive health. Try whole wheat breads, pastas and crackers, or other grains such as quinoa, brown rice and oats. These provide many more health benefits than low fiber starches such as white rice, pasta and bread. Remember, portion size is still important even for healthy grains, especially if you are watching your weight.
3) Eat healthier fats.
Unsaturated fats found in foods such as nuts, avocados and olive oil can actually be beneficial to your body as long as you don’t eat so much that you consume too many calories (all fats have the same number of calories per gram). While it is impossible to eliminate all saturated fats, you can keep the number as low as possible by avoiding butter, full-fat dairy products, excessive red meats and processed foods.
4) Rediscover fruits and vegetables.
Resolve to try a new vegetable or fruit each week or try preparing them differently. By finding ways you enjoy eating fruits and vegetables, you’ll be more likely to include more of them in your daily diet.
If you have questions about diet and nutrition, please ask your physician and/or consult a registered dietitian. You can also attend a New Year, New You seminar at Bon Secours In Motion. Learn more.