Now that it’s February, and that New Year feeling has faded to a memory, you may find that your resolutions have fallen by the wayside. Especially when it comes to dieting, it’s often hard to stick to your goals. Why is that? For many people, it’s because the plans they make for their dietary choices are more about what they shouldn’t do than about what they should. Are you making nutrition your goal, or are you just practicing damage control?
By damage control, we’re talking about trying to manage your weight, lower your cholesterol, stabilize your blood sugar, or any of the myriad other problems people associate with a poor diet. Damage control is making decisions about what you eat, based on what you fear or see as a crisis. However, as with most situations, dietary goals that are framed in the negative are much harder to live with. This year, why not ditching the guilt and angst that surrounds your eating habits, and set some goals for what you actually wants. Here are a few suggestions to get you started.
- Nutrition Goal #1- Eat more produce. We’ve all heard the 5 a day rule, but recent studies indicate that going above and beyond that number can dramatically decrease your risk of illnesses like cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure, and type 2 diabetes. What’s the secret to eating more fruits and veggies? Have some fun with it! Fresh produce is appealing, colorful and delicious, and it comes in such a wide variety that you’re sure to find several favorite foods if you do some experimentation. Visit your local farmers market and try something you’ve never had before. Don’t think you have time for that? No problem. Frozen fruits and vegetables pack a nutritional punch too, and are convenient and easy to prepare. Looking for a sweet treat? Throw some frozen fruit into the blender for a delicious smoothie. Want some sneaky ways to fit more produce into your life? Toss some dried fruit into your chicken salad, or some vegetables into your scrambled eggs. Add extra lettuce and tomato to your sandwich, and keep fresh grapes in your fridge for snacking. When you look to add food instead of focusing on taking other foods away, you’ll find that your mindset shifts to a more positive place, making it easier to attain your goal.
- Nutrition Goal #2– Work in some healthy fats. Avocado is creamy, versatile, and full of healthy Omega 3s. Use it as a sandwich spread, slice it and eat it as a side dish, or toss it into your omelet or salad. While we’re on the subject of salads, don’t forget to sprinkle some nuts on yours, to boost your healthy fat intake. Salmon and other fatty fish are also a good way to get your Omega 3s. These unsaturated fats decrease inflammation in the body, lowering disease risk and helping with disease management. What’s better than that? They also taste decadent and delicious.
- Nutrition Goal #3– Start your day with protein. Most of us get plenty of protein in the second half of the day, but many of us neglect to work it into our mornings. This is a mistake! Protein helps us feel full and maintain our energy levels, and our bodies use it to build new cells. Those who keep up a balanced distribution of protein all day have an easier time maintaining weight, too.
- Nutrition Goal #4- Put some diversity in your menus. Experiment with new recipes, try new cuisines, and cook with new spices. Try grains other than wheat and rice, like quinoa, barley, buckwheat, oats, bran, corn, flaxseed, sorghum, and spelt. Play with new spices, instead of relying on salt and fat. Learn to cook new recipes, and work a meatless meal into your menu once a week.
- Nutrition Goal #5- Make your environment work for you. Set up your kitchen to invite healthy food choices and experimentation. Make an effort to eat at home more often. Keep healthy snacks around for when you need something to munch. By creating an environment that encourages healthy eating, you’ll be making it easy to keep sight of your goals.
Notice: none of the goals we listed are framed in a negative statement, encouraging you not to do something, or to give up something you enjoy. Working within a parameter of positivity, what are some goals you can set for yourself? If you need help setting nutritional goals, or would like to learn more about our clinic’s holistic approach to a healthy way of life, call for your free consultation today.