Instead of setting a big weight loss goal, what if this year you approached your New Year’s resolution a little differently? Losing weight is not the end of good health, and it can easily lead to unhealthy dieting practices in the future. So, instead, what if you set a goal that encourages living a healthier life instead of focusing on a number on the scale?
Eating a nutritious diet is about more than just losing weight. Your diet can affect your longevity, your risk of chronic disease, and even your mood. And a nutritious diet doesn’t mean restriction – it means learning how to eat healthy while still including all the foods you love in your life.
Sure, weight loss may come with time, but don’t make that your only motivation. You’ll likely have moments when the number on the scale doesn’t budge — or you may notice fluctuations in your weight for all sorts of other reasons (bloating, menstruation, weather, illness, many other factors).
Instead of getting frustrated with the number and giving up on your health when “things aren’t working,” focus on the other signs. How does this new health decision make you feel? What are some of the positive physical changes you see (clearer skin, less bloating, regular bowel movements, more energy)? What about mental changes?
If that sounds like something you want for your health this year, you’ve come to the right place. We asked some nutritionists to share some achievable, healthy decisions that you can easily adopt in 2022 that will leave you feeling healthy, energized, and ready for the year ahead. No scale required.
Don’t wait until your body is too hungry or excessively full. Dr. Rachel Ball, PhD, RD of CollegeNutritionist.com says to feed yourself when you need to, and stop when you’re not hungry.
“The hunger scale goes from 1 to 10, where 1 is starving, and 10 is very full,” Paul says. “Aim to stay in the 3 to 7 range, where you wait to eat until you’re hungry, and stop eating when you’re full. No food is allowed, and you can always eat a certain food again, the next time you’re hungry.”
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Who doesn’t love this eye-catching, colorful plate of food? Incorporating a variety of colors on your plate is a great way to ensure you’re getting all kinds of nutrients in your diet, says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices.
“All these different colors represent the different antioxidants, phytochemicals, and nutrients you need to support a healthy body,” says Mackenzie Burgess, RDN and recipe developer at Cheerful Choices.
Colors usually fall into five different categories: red, yellow, orange, green, purple, blue and white, says Burgess.
“While it’s unrealistic to eat every color in one meal, try incorporating these different colored foods throughout the week with the goal of eating as many as possible,” Burgess says.
“We all schedule business meetings, hair appointments, and dinner reservations into our calendars, so why not work out?” asks Amy Judson, MS, RD, CSSD, LD, author sports nutrition book And a member of our Medical Expert Council. “I’ll exercise more” sounds good, but often the hardest part is actually getting it done. So, set your goal in scheduling the exercise in your calendar and if you have a conflict, reschedule it, just as you would with a business meeting. “
Goodson recommends “scheduling” your workout three times a week at first. Once you start having those meetings regularly and you’re satisfied with them, you can add them up in another day or two.
“This is a great way to make exercise a tangible part of your life,” says Goodson.
“While the recommendation is to eat 25 to 38 grams of fiber per day, the average American eats only about 10 to 13 grams,” says Goodson. “Fiber helps feed the good bacteria in your gut and certain types of fiber, soluble fiber, can help lower cholesterol. 25 grams may seem like a lot, but look for ways to add small amounts of fiber to every meal and snack.”
Goodson recommends eating high-fiber foods like oatmeal for breakfast, apples as a snack, sandwiches made with 100% whole-grain bread, and stir-fries with half rice and half cauliflower rice.
“All of these foods will help you increase your daily fiber intake,” says Goodson.
According to Lisa Young, Ph.D., RDN, author of Finally full, finally skinny And a member of our Medical Expert Council, eating a nutritious diet doesn’t mean cutting out foods and eating less.
“Often this tactic backfires,” Young says. “The best way to eat less unhealthy food is to eat more healthy food.”
Instead, it’s about incorporating the right types of foods into a diet that works for you. So what are those healthy foods that you should always include in your meals? Fruits and vegetables!
“Focus on adding a fruit or vegetable to every meal,” Young says. “Add a cup of berries to oatmeal or enjoy an omelet with spinach and cheese for breakfast. At lunch, top your sandwich with avocado, lettuce, and tomato. For dinner, start with a vegetable soup or salad and enjoy cooked vegetables like sauteed bok choy or roasted cauliflower.” .
says Cheryl Mussatto MS, RD, LD, author of brain nutrition. “Why aren’t vegetables full of fiber, nutrients and antioxidants included as part of this meal? Considering that 90% of US citizens don’t meet Dietary Guidelines for Americans The recommendation to eat 2 to 3 cups of vegetables each day, and starting your day with vegetables is an opportunity to squeeze in one of them.”
“For example, add a handful of baby spinach to scrambled eggs or add a slice of tomato to your avocado toast,” continues Musato. “Another fun idea is to stir shredded zucchini into pancake batter or have a side of last night’s roasted veggies alongside a whole-grain pancake. And of course, yogurt-based smoothies are always perfect for adding veggies like cabbage, cooked carrots, and sweet potatoes, or Even beets.”
Not a fan of fruits or vegetables? Instead of doing a full 180 this year, why not slowly work your diet up over time? A great way to do this is to try a new fruit or vegetable each week, and assess what you want to keep or not keep in your diet going forward.
Trista Best, MPH, RD, LD, of Balance One Supplements says. “By revisiting some old fruit or vegetable you didn’t like or trying new ones, you can open up a whole new world of nutrient-dense foods.”
“If there were vegetables you didn’t like before, you can also choose to try a new cooking method,” Best continues. “If there are too many new fruits or vegetables per week, allow yourself to serve one every two weeks or on a monthly basis. By the end of 2022, you will be surprised to know how much variety you have now in your diet and new recipes you can incorporate into your regular meal routine.”
says Maggie Michalczyk, RDN, founder of OnceUponAPumpkinRD.com and author of The Big Great Pumpkin Cookbook. “Honey is a pure and natural sweetener that contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and antioxidants. Just a drizzle can transform and uplift many different recipes, plus honey is a natural energy booster making it a great choice to add to a cup of tea.”
“We continue to learn a lot about how the gut relates to things like digestion, mood, the immune system, and more,” Michalczyk says. “If you’re looking to make simple healthy changes in the new year, consider making small changes to benefit your gut. For example, incorporating a probiotic into your routine, adding more fermented foods to your diet, or taking small steps to reduce stress in general, every This is really good for our overall gut health.”
While packaged and processed foods can be convenient on the go, nutritionists advise focusing most of the time on eating real whole foods instead — the types of foods you might find in the vicinity of the grocery store.
“Excessive consumption of fast food is bad for your health,” says Shannon Henry, RD at EZCare Clinic. “Although it’s fine in moderation, junk food can lead to obesity, strokes, and more. For your New Year’s resolution, focus on eating less junk food and more whole foods — including vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds. And whole grains, and fish.”