By Kara Simpson, Trainer and Health Coach at Milestone Fitness
A new year often brings new goals or accomplishments you wish to fulfill that maybe you’ve let yourself slack on lately. This time of year makes a great starting point for people to begin their journey of becoming a better version of themselves. This often leads to wanting to become more healthy after a season of indulgence. Instead of focusing your nutrition goals on a new diet plan, eliminating food groups or getting to a lower body weight, I challenge you to think about your nutrition goals in a different way. What can you start adding to your life to help you achieve better health? Here are a few of my suggestions.
1- Eat More Colorful Food. On average, only 1 in 10 Americans are getting enough fruits and vegetables. If you’re not eating a variety of colorful vegetables, then you’re missing out on so many key nutrients that help you feel energized, help establish good blood pressure, maintain vital body functions as well as help prevent against disease. Start looking at your diet currently and find meals that you can start adding fruits and vegetables to. If youre morning breakfast consists of the same oatmeal with bananas, maybe try switching it up with some berries or pomegranate seeds. Or try a new breakfast omelet/frittata with seasonal vegetables and your favorite toppings. Can you add some raw veggies to your lunches and switch up your dinner vegetables to add some more color? Experimenting with new vegetables to roast, fruits to put in salads or smoothies, greens to add to smoothies can all be easy ways to get more color in your diet.
2- Cook From Home. Learning to make a few healthy meals at home can make a big difference when it comes to better nutritional health. Knowing what you’re putting in your meals by limiting the unnecessary ingredients can keep it healthy while also benefitting your budget. Start with 1-2 meals if you’re new and keep them as simple as possible. Establish some confidence in the kitchen before you try more complicated recipes and go with a meal you know you and your family will enjoy.
3- Limit Processed Foods. This technically is something that you’ll be taking away from your diet, but my hope is that by adding more colorful fruits and vegetables, you won’t be interested in the processed foods. Reducing foods that you eat from a package can have major health benefits because it forces you to eat real, whole foods from nature that our bodies need to thrive. Start checking labels and if a food has ingredients that you can’t read or don’t know what it is, you probably shouldn’t be eating it!
4- Drink More Water. Finding a way to drink water throughout the day can be challenging for some people. I find that if you have a big water bottle that you carry with you can be helpful as well as setting reminders on your phone throughout the day. Once you start to develop the habit of drinking water, say before each meal, it will become an automatic behavior that you will greatly benefit from (try googling benefits of drinking water for reasons why).
5- Prioritize Protein & Balance Your Plate. Protein is one of the most important nutrients that our bodies can have to help maintain lean muscle mass, increase metabolism and increase satiety. Balancing your plate with colorful fruits/vegetables as well as healthy fats at every meal can help you establish better health long term.
6- Aim For a Little Better. You don’t have to eat perfectly to be healthy. Making the better choices most of the time will lead to better health. If you’re constantly choosing to eat the desserts, have the wine, indulge at dinner, choose the French fries, then over time those habits will stay with you (& often lead to more poor decisions). Aiming to be a little bit better in every choice you have (because you always do have a choice) will result in a waterfall of good decisions.
Creating healthy nutrition goals should focus on creating healthy habits based on your personal goals. These are meant to be things you can do forever, not just for a few weeks. If you want to learn more about creating healthy habits for life, our next nutrition group starts January 20 2019. Email email@example.com for more details.