The start of the new year is a time when people get excited to make this year their best year ever. They often set lofty and even unhealthy resolutions for achieving their goals, especially when it comes to weight loss. But why not ditch the resolutions and make every year your best year yet? Whether you’re trying to reduce body fat or you just want to eat better, it’s best to focus on the small changes you can make on a daily basis. Keep it simple, delicious and doable — essentials for making it sustainable.
Here are 6 essential nutrition tips to look and feel your best in 2016!
6 Health Essentials
1. Eat More Mindfully
Increase your mindfulness at the table by taking a few deep breaths and giving thanks for what’s on your plate. Take smaller bites, chew your food thoroughly and engage your senses. This will greatly improve digestion, increase nutrient absorption and help you feel full faster.
2. Hydrate With Water
Hydration increases metabolism, supports detoxification, promotes healthy digestion and benefits overall health. Hydrate each morning with a large glass of water and pack a BPA-free bottle to refill throughout the day. Fresh/frozen berries are a delicious way to infuse your water with flavor. You can also add lemon to water (and even food) for flavor and health benefits.
3. Choose Whole Foods
Stop counting calories and start focusing on nutrients by choosing natural, whole foods (veggies and fruits) over man-made, processed products (baked goods). Whole foods, a.k.a. one ingredient foods, naturally contain more nutrients including fiber that support blood sugar levels and digestion. In general, the less refined a food is the more nutrients it contains.
4. Find Healthier Alternatives
Rather then forgetting your favorite foods, find healthier alternatives by getting in the routine of reading food labels. Look for minimal ingredients. Avoid labels with refined sugars, flours, and any ingredients you can’t pronounce. Aim for less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. Try these 12 Smart Food Swaps to improve your daily diet. Remember, it’s not about depriving yourself but finding healthier versions of food that you enjoy. If it’s not enjoyable, then experiment with other options or make it a “cheat” meal.
5. Grab More Greens
Most people eat twice as many grains (especially refined grains) as they do greens, which should be the other way around. Veggies are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. Include more veggies by juicing, adding to salads/snacks, and using for pasta, wraps and rolls. If you can’t resist bread, select sourdough or “sprouted” varieties and make it a half sandwich.
6. Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are some of the most nutrient-packed foods on the planet. Fermented veggies, such as sauerkraut, are excellent sources of immune-boosting vitamin C. Fermented dairy is loaded with B vitamins and antioxidants. Fermented foods are also a great source of probiotics or “good” bacteria that increase nutrient absorption, improve digestion, support detoxification, increase immunity and balance hormones. For maximum health benefits, include a small amount of fermented foods (kraut, kvass, kim chi, yogurt, kefir, pickles, etc.) at every meal, or at least once daily.
Good Health Begins With Nutrition, Cate’s Nutrition Kitchen