As we step into the New Year, most of us set resolutions that often revolve around adopting a healthier lifestyle. In a world inundated with processed and convenience foods, it can feel daunting to go against the grain and eat a healthy and balanced plate. To nourish your body in the new year, it’s time to plan your eating around real, whole foods that nourish our bodies but also contribute to long-term health. Let’s dive into the journey of healthy eating in the new year, with a focus on embracing the goodness of whole foods.
The Power of Real Foods:
- Farm-to-Table Freshness:
Embracing real foods means prioritizing fresh, seasonal produce. In New England, we’re a bit light this time of year in local farmer’s markets and community-supported agriculture (CSA) programs, but this doesn’t mean you can’t choose seasonal produce. Here are some seasonal produce options for a list of fruits/vegetables that grow this time of year to help you save more, and enjoy fresh, nourishing fruits and vegetables packed with flavor! Aim for 1 cup cooked, or 2 cups raw for fruits/vegetables per meal to be sure you’re getting the most nutrient dense plate at mealtime.
- Whole Grains for Sustained Energy:
The holidays can be full of indulgent foods, and simple carbs that keep you wanting more and more. This month, try swapping these refined carbs for whole grains in your every day diet, and save the simple carbs for holidays or special events. Whole grains offer more sustained energy and improved digestion for most. Not to mention they can help minimize the blood sugar swings, and food cravings we get from refined carbohydrates. Opt for quinoa, sweet potato, oats, and whole wheat bread over white rice, russet potato, sugary cereals and white breads. These grains retain their natural fiber, vitamins, and minerals, providing a wholesome addition to your meals. Wondering what counts as a whole grain? Learn more here
- Adequate Proteins:
Eating enough protein to support your skeletal muscle mass, is critical to body composition, and food cravings. When you can, choose lean protein sources such as chicken, fish, turkey, beans, legumes, and tofu. These options deliver essential amino acids necessary for muscle repair and overall body function without excessive saturated fats often found in processed meats. Protein is a key component to a healthy diet and a healthy body, and often something that can be left behind when pursuing a low calorie diet in the new year. There is a sweet spot for Protein intake in adults, so reach out to Jocelyn for more customized recommendations to help support your body’s needs.
- Healthy Fats for Brain and Heart Health:
Include sources of healthy fats like avocados, nuts, seeds, fatty fish and olive oil in your diet. To nourish your body and brain this year, include these unsaturated fats to support brain function, maintain healthy cholesterol levels, and provide a satiating element to meals.
Practical Tips for Incorporating Real Foods:
- Meal Prep and Planning:
Invest time in meal planning and preparation to ensure that real foods are readily available. Shop at least weekly, come up with a plan for weeknight dinners, and consider preparing a variety of colorful vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins in advance for quick and healthy meal assembly during busy days.
- Mindful Eating:
Practice mindful eating by savoring each bite, appreciating the flavors, and paying attention to your body’s hunger and fullness cues. Did you know that it can take your brain 20-30 minutes to receive the signal from your stomach that you are full? Practicing more mindful eating fosters a deeper connection with your food, your body, and can prevent overeating.
- Stay Hydrated with Water:
Drink water as your primary beverage, and stay hydrated even in the wintertime when you may not be as cued to drink water. Getting enough fluids is essential for overall health and can also aid in weight management. Try Infused water with fruits and herbs for a refreshing twist!
- Experiment with Herbs and Spices:
Enhance the flavors of your dishes with herbs and spices instead of relying on excessive salt or sugar. Not only do these natural flavorings add depth to your every day meals, but they also come with various health benefits from phytochemicals that may prevent certain diseases.
The Journey Ahead:
Embarking on a journey of healthy eating with a focus on real food is a sustainable and rewarding and nourishing path. Start by focusing on process goals that help you tease out how you will nourish your body this year. There is no perfect diet, so it’s helpful to aim for progress, not perfection. Allow yourself the flexibility to enjoy occasional deviations while making real, whole foods the cornerstone of your daily meals. As we embrace a new year, lets nourish our bodies, minds, cultivate well-being, and revel in the abundance and pleasure that real foods have to offer.
Cheers to a year of vibrant health and wholesome living.