Looking to make a healthy New Year's resolution, one that'll be a pleasure to keep? Why not work on Ways to Eat Better this year? Your body will thank you, and you might even fit into your old jeans again (bonus!). If you're not sure where to start with your list of ways to eat better, I can help! Here are my suggestions for 13 ways to eat better in the New Year.
1. Avoid the Middle of the Grocery Store
Did you know the layout of the grocery store is specifically designed to make us all chubby? It's true! The healthy stuff (like fresh produce) is on the outside rim of the grocery store. The inside aisles are loaded with the nasty junk, like boxed and canned food.
2. Aim for 5
Adults are supposed to get 5 servings of fresh fruits and veggies every day, but not many of us do. This is one of the easiest ways to eat better! Start eating your 5 servings a day!
3. Change to 2%
Whole milk is fattening and high in cholesterol. Make the switch to 2%, or, if you can stomach it, skim, and you'll knock out a few unnecessary calories and maybe even lower your cholesterol, without giving up the benefits of milk.
4. Go Veggie
I'm not suggesting you give up meat entirely, but a few days a week, see if you can work in a vegetarian meal. You'll save money on groceries and promote your heart health. Sweet, a double-whammy!
5. Avoid Fast Food
In short, fast food is disgusting. It's loaded with fat, calories, sodium, and worse (like lethal e. coli). For this year, give it up. You'll be so glad you did.
6. Ditch the Soda
Soda is empty calories, plain and simple. I know it tastes good, and you feel like you might be addicted to it, but try to cut down, or quit altogether, and you might even lose ten pounds this year!
7. Carry a Water Bottle
If you're not drinking soda, then how will you stay hydrated? With water. Keep a reusable water bottle with you everywhere you go, and sip from it when you think of it. Hello, healthy hydration!
8. Cook at Home
If you prepare your own meals at home, you'll be able to control portion sizes, ingredients, easily count calories, and even save money. This is one way to eat better we ought to all try this year... and next... and next!
9. Keep a Food Journal
Keeping a food journal might seem like a hassle, but it is the best way to keep yourself accountable and track what you eat. Tracking your meals and snacks can help you see if you are eating enough or too much of a certain type of food and it can help you see how much you consume in a day. It really does help!
10. Limit High Calorie Drinks
Do you like to indulge in a gourmet latte or decadent adult beverage? Having a frappucino or high calorie cocktail once in awhile is okay, but if you like to treat yourself to these types of drinks a few times a week, the calories, sugar and fat add up quick. Try to limit the number of high calorie drinks you consume on a regular basis and stick with water for the most part.
11. Eat Less Processed Foods
If you are constantly on-the-go, it can be hard to plan or make your meals ahead of time but it is in the best interest of your health and waistline to avoid processed foods as much as possible. Processed foods provide little in the form of nutrients and are often full of chemicals and preservatives which can hinder your health and weight loss goals.
12. Do Not Avoid Fat
For years we were under the assumption that cutting fat out of our diet was the key to weight loss, but now we know it is not exactly true. Cutting out saturated fat is always a good idea, but there are other types of good fats that have health benefits that we do not want to eliminate from our diet. Monounsaturated fat from avocados, olive oil and certain nuts help metabolize fat and decrease “bad” cholesterol while increasing “good” cholesterol so do not be afraid of it!
13. Eat Slowly
I have the worst habit of practically inhaling my food when I eat. I have no idea why I do it and have had a hard time trying to break the habit. Eating too fast not only prevents us from really enjoying our food, but it can also cause gas and bloating. Research has found that just by eating slower, you consume less calories which can result in weight loss. Our brain typically takes 20 minutes to register that we are truly full so if we finish our meal before the 20 minutes is up, we might end up overeating.
With so many ways to eat better this New Year, there's no reason you can't succeed! The first suggestion (about skipping the middle of the grocery store) is probably the easiest, and the one we don't do enough... but which of these tips do you think you'll use? And why? Do tell!
This article was written in collaboration with editor Lisa Washington