WAUSAU, Wis. (WAOW) — For some people, the New Year’s resolution is to eat healthier, but you may want to think twice before starting a fad diet.
Banal diets will often produce some results in the short term, but are difficult to stick to in the long term, said Samantha Polgreen, a registered dietitian with the Marshfield Clinic Health System.
Polgren said any diet that excludes whole food groups or is overly restrictive tends not to work in the long term.
She added that for the average person trying to lose a few pounds and lead a healthier lifestyle, those diets aren’t always the best option.
There is no right answer in terms of the right diet because everyone is different.
Instead, it’s a good idea to come up with a plan that is customized for you that is doable on a long-term basis.
“I think working in all the food groups is really important just because each food group has its own subset of nutrients that are important for overall health,” Polgreen said. “Starting small, you know, some people jump into things very quickly, trying to make a lot of changes and doing a lot at once. So it’s really not wrong to start with some small goals and make those things habits and then build on that.”
In general, she added, good plans include heart-healthy eating strategies.
That includes things like vegetables, fruits, lean protein, high fiber or whole grain items, and light or low-fat versions of dairy in general, Bolgreen said. It’s a very safe bet for most people.
If you’re looking to gain weight, she said, focus on nutrient-dense items first.
You can choose the regular version of the items instead of the light or low-fat version.
Another option is to add extra calories or protein without necessarily increasing the volume.
Therefore, things like extra peanut butter or cheese can work well for people trying to gain weight.
For weight loss, keeping a food log can help you find secondary places to adapt.
Also keep your body moving.
If you’re trying to maintain weight, she says to maintain consistency.
“It’s easy to get off track, you know you had a bad day and it turns into two bad days and three bad days and all of a sudden everything goes awry,” Bolgreen said. “So again there I think going back to using a food log even for a short period of time can really be a useful strategy to make sure you’re on the right track and that you’re sticking to the goals you’ve set.”
She also said that a meal pattern should be considered to gain or lose weight, and be consistent with three meals a day.
You can also add some snacks depending on the spacing between your meals.
But she said to avoid overgrowing without eating anything and to avoid grazing, where she eats all day.
Also, try to spread these healthy, good foods evenly throughout the day.