A Dietitian’s Top New Year’s Tips

Here we are again! Another year passed and a fresh new beginning is upon us. I hear from customers, friends, and family that they are (once again) pledging to make this their healthiest year yet, will finally start exercising, and WILL lose those extra pounds. As a Dietitian, I get excited about anything that brings motivation to others but what happens EVERY year that keeps you from achieving your goals? There are so many reasons these good intentions end up being a thing of the past but this year we are here to help! During the month of January we will be sharing a series of posts to help guide you to health in the new year.

Below are my top 3 tips for 2018!

Tip #1: It’s not what you add, it’s what you take away.

I get a lot of questions about superfood powders, chia seeds, cider vinegar, the list goes on and on. Maybe you read about them in a magazine or heard Dr. Oz singing the praises of the latest and greatest product that is guaranteed to fix all of your problems. The truth is, there are health benefits to all of the products listed above but simply adding them to your day and changing nothing else with not truly improve your health. The focus should instead be on what you are NOT putting into your body. Eating out one time less per week and cook at home that evening (Here are some recipes to get you started). Maybe try decreasing your soda intake by one can per day and replacing it with one cup of infused water. These are small changes that will produce true health changes and keep you on your wellness journey!

Tip #2: It’s all about the veggies!

Think of all the fad diets out there…what is the one thing they have in common? Yep…Veggies! Want to know why? Because vegetables are undeniably beneficial to your health. They contain fiber which helps fill you up and promotes healthy digestion. They contain vitamins/minerals and phytonutrients. Phytonutrients are a portion of fruits and vegetables that help clear the junk out of your body and fight against inflammation and disease. Most varieties (with a few exceptions) are also low in calories meaning you will decrease your calorie intake without even trying simply by adding more vegetables to your meals. Not a huge fan of vegetables? I am a firm believer that it is not the vegetable you dislike, it is the way it was prepared. The same vegetable can taste vastly different depending on the cooking method. Personally, brussels sprouts are my all time favorite vegetable when they are roasted. However, I despise steamed brussels sprouts. I love raw carrots but cooked carrots I could do without. It is important to experiment with a variety of vegetables to find the ways that you and your family enjoy them. Find some inspiration here or message us directly for our go-to vegetable recipes!

Tip #3: Follow the plate method

You have likely seen the USDA’s MyPlate. The one that I prefer is slightly different, see picture below. This method works for almost everyone and is a great first step in changing your health in the new year. Every time you eat, your plate should look like this plate. Literally half of your plate should be filled with non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are all vegetables except corn, peas, beans, potatoes, and winter squash. I still recommend people enjoy these starchy vegetables they just go on a separate portion of the plate. Starches (carbohydrates) should fill only 1/4 of the plate. Starches include the vegetables listed above, fruit, milk, yogurt, breads, and grains. The remaining 1/4 of the plate is for protein, any protein of your choice. By simply following this plate you will automatically decrease your carbohydrate intake (the Standard American Diet is very high in carbohydrates), increase your vegetable intake, and control your meat portions. This leads to increased health on many levels.

Let’s discuss an example of just how to use this plate method in daily life. Think of the last time you ate spaghetti. What portion of your plate did the pasta cover? Most people will answer with 100%. Then you added sauce on top with little specks on meat, and of course there was a bread stick or two. Does that look like the plate above? Nope. Does that mean spaghetti is off limits? Of course not! Let’s ‘re-plate’ our meal to fit the model above. Place pasta on 1/4 of the plate, add some sauce on top. To increase our protein at this meal, make meatballs or grilled chicken vs. ground meat in the sauce. Lastly, fill half of your plate with veggies! Let’s throw a side salad on there and maybe some green beans too for good measure. See how easy that was, and all we had to do was visualize the plate! But wait, what about that bread stick? Well, you have some options. The way our plate looks now there is no room for the bread stick in the starch portion. If you are dying for that bread stick simply cut down your pasta portion to allow for the extra carbohydrate. You always have choices!

Do you make New Year’s resolutions? Comment below with your 2018 plans! Instead of  one large goal for the entire year I am setting monthly challenges/goals for myself. The following are a couple of my monthly goals I have planned for 2018…increase my meditation practice by practicing once in the morning and once in the evening, decrease time on personal social media by deleting the apps on my phone thereby making it harder to mindlessly log in, exploring a world religion/culture I know nothing about.