GETTING HEALTHY IN THE NEW YEAR: tips from a registered dietitian

The start of a new year brings new years resolutions that, lets face it, never last. Whether that’s starting a new diet, or finally getting into that fitness regimen you’ve been putting off, there are things you can do to ensure that you make healthier decisions in the new year, or even in the middle of the year! That being said, here are my 6 tips to getting healthier in the new year!

TIP 1: MOVE MORE!

If you know me in real life, especially if we work together, you would know that I’m probably the biggest advocate for the stairs. We have 6 stories at my job if you include the lobby, and you better believe i’ve climbed all 6 multiple times in the almost 6 years i’ve been there, and i’ve encouraged probably all of my coworkers at some point to join me! Not only will it burn calories, but it will build leg muscles and make you stronger in no time!

Don’t have stairs? Park further away from your destination and walk the rest of the way. Take public transportation? Get off a stop or 2 early and walk the rest of the way to your destination.

Slow walker? THATS OK! As long as you’re moving, that’s what matters! (As long as you’re medically cleared of course!)

TIP 2: TOSS THE SUGARY DRINKS!

Here’s some fun facts for ya: 1 pound of fat weighs 3500 calories. 1- 20oz soda or sugary drink (the ones you get in the vending machines!) has 250 calories (give or, take depending on what you get). Let’s say you drink 2 of those per day, that’s 500 calories. Now let’s say you have 2 a day for a week… that’s 3500 calories in 7 days. Remember that pound of fat?? Change nothing but eliminating sodas and sugary drinks and you’ve already lost a pound!

As far as diet drinks go, I personally avoid artificial sweeteners like the plague. But you do you.

TIP 3: MODERATION

As a dietitian, I like to make sure people are successful in their nutritional goals. Most of the time those goals are weight loss, or nutritional management of certain diseases , etc. the first thing I tell people is that they CAN EAT WHATEVER THEY WANT, now here’s the important part, IN MODERATION !!! Avoiding a cookie that your “diet” won’t allow will only make you crave that cookie and then binge on cookies at a later date. Or will make you buy “healthier” versions of that cookie that won’t satisfy the craving. Have the cookie, but have 1 cookie, not the whole batch! Craving satisfied and you’re brain won’t see it as a forbidden food, so you’ll want it less!

TIP #4: STOCK YOUR FREEZER!

Keeping veggies on hand all the time can allow you to eat more of them! My freezer is always jam packed with frozen veggies from Costco and Trader Joes and I use them daily! Add them to any and everything! You guys know that my biggest tip is always to add more veggies to stretch your meal. It can take a meal from 2 servings to 3, especially if you make a stir fry/one pot dish.

When you’re cooking veggies, be sure to steam them or roast or cook in a pan, DO NOT BOIL THEM, all of the nutrients will go with the water you throw down the drain. It IS ok to boil veggies if you’re making soup, because you will be eating the broth, and all the nutrients from the veggies, with the contents of the soup!

My favorite ways to make your typical unhealthy meal into even a semi healthy one is to add veggies- lasagna, mac and cheese, gravies, pasta dishes, etc. My father in law made this delicious gravy for thanksgiving by adding pureed veggies- it was honestly the best gravy i’ve ever had!

TIP #5: PLAN AHEAD

At least for the first few weeks, take time out to think of meal ideas for the week! It doesn’t have to be hard- lean protein, veg, and starch! Make half your plate veggies (hot, cold, salad, any kind of veggie!). Pinterest has tons of ideas! If you’re sick of the same thing over and over again, switch up the spices you use, or put a spin on something you make a lot. If I made a pasta or gnocchi based dish, and I have a lot of leftovers I love putting them in individual Corningwear dishes with a drizzle of cheese on top and I bake them in the oven- were BIG fans of that here!

It helps to have a few go-to no brainer healthy meals that you can just whip together in a pinch. I usually do organic ground turkey from Trader Joes, any frozen veg that I have in the freezer, cauliflower rice or a grain (like quinoa), and I add low sodium chicken or bone broth for a little extra flavor- cooks in less than 40 minutes and it’s all in one pot! Those are ingredients that I buy over and over for days when I really don’t want to think about what I’m making for dinner!

Check my recipes tab for some of my favorites!

TIP #6: CHECK YOUR INGREDIENTS

This is something I do with every new food item! You want to make sure that the food you want is the food you get! And don’t be fooled by the label- if it says NO SUGAR! LOW FAT! yet the flavor is birthday cake or chocolate donut, chances are it’s going to have a ton of unhealthy ingredients that allowed those otherwise fatty, or sugary flavors to be free of sugar and fat.

Take cereal, for example: General Mills or Kellogg’s not only contain GMOs in some way, but they also have a loonnggg list of not so great ingredients. Barbara’s brand cereal (I eat the Puffins every day for breakfast) have just a few REAL ingredients and they taste great!

Bottom line, if the list of ingredients is a mile long and has things that you’ve never heard of, i’d put it back. Or at the very least, compare brands and get the lesser of 2 evils! I actually just started following this account called @just.ingredients on instagram and they have tons of comparisons of different brands of products!

An informed decision is always a good decision!

I’m definitely getting off on a tangent now, so ill end this here, but if you have a favorite go to meal or any more great tips, leave them in the comments so others can benefit too!

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