Learn which diets to avoid this year, and how to make healthy changes you can stick to in Nutrition for the New Year!
If you’ve resolved to be healthier this year, you’re not alone! Many people swear they are going to start this fabulous diet and go to the gym on January 1, only to find themselves back on the couch binging on Netflix and pizza by February. So what happened? Despite our best intentions, changing old habits can be hard. And feeling like you’ve failed can be even harder. To avoid crashing and burning on a new diet and fitness regimen, I’m here to tell you what is out this year and what is more likely to lead to healthy changes that you can actually stick to.
Out: Juice Cleanses. They aren’t real food. You need real food to survive. A diet of liquid sugar is void of protein, fat, and fiber and can lead to spikes in blood sugar, mood swings, and binging once you realize how hungry you actually are. Also, you don’t need to detox. Your kidneys and liver do that for you. You can read more about that here.
Out: Gluten Free. If you have Celiac, please keep eating a gluten-free diet. Otherwise, there is no need to go gluten-free. Gluten itself doesn’t cause weight gain. What causes weight gain is eating excess calories. Instead of the expensive gluten-free bread that tastes kind of bad and has added fat and sugar to mask the awful texture, try some good old-fashioned whole wheat bread (it has filling fiber and healthy vitamins). If you are trying to lose weight, try adding more veggies to your meals in place of refined carbs. Put your (lean!) burger patty on top of a big bowl of veggies, or swap pasta for zucchini noodles! Most whole, minimally processed foods are already gluten-free and don’t cost a bazillion dollars.
Out: Cutting out whole food groups. If you aren’t eating grains, fruit, beans, nuts, or dairy, what ARE you eating? While it’s good to emphasize whole foods like fruit, veggies, and lean protein, it’s not healthy to remove entire food groups from your diet. It’s also not healthy for half of your diet to be bacon (sorry paleo-ers). Your body needs fat, like the healthy kind found in nuts, olive oil, and avocados, as well as carbohydrates and nutrients from whole grains. And don’t even get me started on calcium. A healthy diet includes everything in moderation (and veggies more than in moderation!), so that you don’t get frustrated and eat an entire bag of Oreos on a particularly stressful day and write off being healthy for the rest of the year.
Now that you know what nutrition fads are soo 2015, how should you approach a healthier 2016? Here’s what is IN for me this year, and maybe it will be doable for you too:
IN: Getting all food groups! I’m going to resolve to add more veggies, whole grains, and even more healthy fat! Days of fearing carbs and fat are over, and a healthy, balanced diet is the way to keep your body healthy and your mind sane. This includes allowing room for having a small treat, like a glass of wine, each day.
IN: Less waste. Another one of my nutrition resolutions is to waste less food. Did you know that the majority of space in landfills is taken up by food waste? One way to contribute to easing up on this trend is to eat all of the edible components of a food. Kale stems, broccoli stems, carrot peels. All of them are edible. (So are potato skins, and they contain all of the fiber!) I’ve also started saving the butts of my veggies and turkey and chicken carcasses to make my own chicken stock. I invite you to waste less food by being mindful and buying only the amount of food you will eat. And if you know you won’t eat something before it goes bad, put it in the freezer!
IN: Eating more mindfully. This one is hard for many people. But it’s so important in order to get the most out of your mealtime experiences. Eating less comes more naturally when you listen to your body’s cues. Are you actually hungry? Or maybe you are dehydrated and need water? Or possibly it’s not food you are craving at all but a friend or a hug. Listening to your body and really savoring your food is a great way to feel more satisfied with less food.
IN: Being kind to yourself. So what if you ate a piece of birthday cake two days in a row or ordered the fries instead of a salad. We are human and we make mistakes. Being gentle with yourself instead of beating yourself up for a missed workout will help you stay on a healthier path. If you can forgive yourself and keep going, you a much more likely to stick to your goals. And you will find yourself enjoying everything – food, relationships, life – even more.
What are your nutrition goals this year? Let me know in the comments section below!