The calendar has rolled over, so what better time than the present to start setting some new nutrition goals for 2017? Here are five tips from University of Georgia Cooperative Extension to help you reach new heights in the new year.
Eat the rainbow.
We all hear about the newest food trends each year, and often they involve superfoods like kale and pomegranates.
You know what’s not a trend? Vegetables! If you eat a lot of green beans and spinach, but you never touch butternut squash or beets, give them a try this year. Your body will thank you.
Eat protein for breakfast.
Eating breakfast is important, but eating protein for breakfast is just as important.
Ever had that bowl of oatmeal and 20 minutes later thought, “Why am I already hungry?” It’s probably because you made it with water to reduce the calories.
Having breakfast is important, but the quality is even more important. Protein at breakfast seems to help people feel fuller and satisfied longer. So use milk to make your oatmeal, or add some nuts or peanut butter to amp up the protein. Try plain Greek yogurt with fruit for breakfast, or have two eggs and whole-wheat toast. Skip the breakfast biscuits that are all carbs.
Eat some fat (the good kind).
The days of “fat-free” and “low-fat” everything are as gone as ‘80s hair.
Healthy fats, like those found in fish, avocados, nuts and healthy oils like olive and canola oil (not coconut), are good for our hearts and brains, but they also help our meals have staying power. Fats helps us feel full, so don’t try and cut too many calories by leaving out the fats or you may find yourself overeating later.
Yes, we all need to find a great exercise routine, but just getting more physical activity throughout the day will help your body ward off disease and will likely help your mood.
Get up from your desk and take a lap around the building. When you run errands at the big box store, take a lap around the perimeter of the store before you pick up your cart to shop. Get out of your chair and sit back down 10 times in a row. Work those muscles that will keep you moving and independent.
If weight management or being more active is your goal, then you need to know where you are now. Most of us wouldn’t dream of not monitoring our bank accounts, so why not our caloric intake or the number of steps we take each day?
People who self-monitor their food intake and physical activity eat better, move more and have healthier waistlines. So if reaching your goal weight is on your mind, now’s the time to take stock.
If you need help setting a goal, see the Dietary Guidelines for Americans at http://health.gov/dietaryguidelines/2015/guidelines/ and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans at http://health.gov/paguidelines/guidelines/.
Alison Berg is an Assistant Professor and Extension Nutrition and Health Specialist for the Department of Foods and Nutrition at the University of Georgia.