As January ends and special diets wane….what’s next? After a month of shunning alcohol, burgers, fries, and desserts, what comes next may be unclear. Let’s take the guessing and googling out of it. When it comes to a healthier you, start with these three things that can also assist with weight loss.
Eat more vegetables
- Put vegetables where you can see them on the counter or in the refrigerator.
- Include them at all three meals. For breakfast, include leftover roasted veggie in eggs, add cherry tomatoes as a side with breakfast, or consider cucumbers and Greek yogurt.
- As a variation on bread with an egg cooked in the middle try an egg cooked in a pepper ring.
- Have a salad plus a veggie at a meal.
- Include veggies as part of a snack—hummus and raw veggies.
- Place a plate or container of raw veggies on the table, so before having a second helping of food eat some raw veggies.
- Shift the proportion. For example, add peppers, onions, and tomatoes, to the beans and meat in your best soup, chili, or stew recipe.
- Add veggies to pasta and grains.
Eat less sugar
- Reduce the size of a dessert by sharing them or serving them on a smaller plate or bowl. Also, have dessert fewer days per week.
- All sources, natural (honey, maple syrup) or otherwise, are considered sugar.
- Some food labels now explain the ‘Added Sugars’ in the food. Every 4 grams of sugar means 1 teaspoon of added sugar, so 12 grams of added sugars = 3 tsp. added sugar.
- Try to keep added sugars to under 6 tsp. (24 grams) per day.
Eat whole foods
- If you have spent January following Whole 30 or eating paleo then you have a head start on this one!
- Focus on foods that have minimal processing and packaging whenever possible.
- Strive for half of every plate of food to be veggies and fruits, ¼ whole grain or starchy vegetable, and ¼ of the plate as protein.
- Make processed foods a small part of a meal, for example, pasta as a side dish or add chicken and lots of vegetables to the pasta.
- Have snacks that are whole foods rather than packaged bars. Try hummus and vegetables, fruit and nuts, Greek yogurt and fruit for protein-carb combinations that refuel muscles.
The end of January does not need to be the end of eating nutrient dense. Keep what worked for you during the month and consider adding in one or two of these ideas as you transition into February.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
Nutritious, delicious, and practical meal prep for the whole family? It can be done. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.