Starting the year out right, realistically

By Lindsay Adams
Jan. 2, 2018 at 3:45 p.m.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year, a great time to reflect on aspects of our lives that we can improve. Many of you have probably already created your list of New Year's resolutions, and many of those lists likely include some type of health-related resolution.

All too often, the resolutions we create can set us up for failure. For example, we may want to lose 10 pounds per week or follow a very strict fad diet. In reality, these are not very attainable, sustainable or even healthy goals.

Here are some ideas for some great and reasonable goals to help create an overall more nutritious lifestyle.

Eat more fruits and veggies. Beyond all the fad diets and nutrition misinformation that abound, this is one common theme that never seems to go away, and that's because it is well founded. We know that increased intake of fruits and vegetables can help increase your intake of fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals. All of these nutrients and food components result in a number of health benefits, including improved digestion and decreased risk of medical conditions such as heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Five to nine servings of fruit and vegetables are recommended per day. Are you meeting this recommendation? If not, this is a great goal for you.

Try new foods. Scan the grocery store for fruits and vegetables that you have never heard of and then Google the benefits. Try new types of grain such as quinoa, barley, buckwheat, oats, bran, corn, flaxseed, millet, rice, rye, sorghum and spelt. Search the food on the internet to get a new recipe to try. We so often get into a rut with the foods we eat and miss out on the different nutrients that a variety of foods can introduce into our diets.

Eat at home more often. We never know what is added to our foods at restaurants. Not only does it save us from many unwanted ingredients, but it saves money, too.

Eat more meatless meals. A vegan diet tends to be very high in fiber and low in cholesterol and saturated fat and is associated with decreased risk for a number of diseases. Even if a full-time vegan diet is not feasible for you, start trying to remove animal products from several of your meals throughout the week. Include plant-based proteins, such as beans, legumes, nuts or soy products, to make a tasty vegan dish to expand your nutritional horizons.

Clean out your kitchen. Go through the fridge and the pantry to get rid of any old food items that may have been pushed to the back for a little too long. Then, get all your pots and pans organized, so when you go searching for your casserole dish, they don't all come crashing down. Our cooking space is a more pleasant place to work (and play) when it is clean and clutter-free.

When you are setting your New Year's resolutions, remember that sometimes it's the little ones that can result in big changes. Here's to a happy, healthy 2018!

Lindsay Adams is a registered dietitian with. Detar Healthcare Systems. Send questions or comments to dietitians@vicad.com.


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