Jumpstart healthy eating habits in the new year

The start of the new year is a time for fresh starts and new beginnings. If your goal this year is to lead a healthier lifestyle, one of the best places to start is with your diet. After all, healthy eating in the new year can have numerous benefits such as increased energy levels, improved digestion, better sleep, and even weight loss. Healthy eating can also help you reduce stress levels, improve blood pressure, and enhance overall health.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the prevalence of obesity in the United States was 41.9% as of March 2020. If you’re like millions of other Americans, chances are one of your goals for 2023 is to eat healthier. Here are some simple tips to get you started on your journey towards better health this year. 

Start simple 

The most important thing when it comes to healthy eating is to make sure you’re getting all the essential nutrients your body needs. Try adding more colorful fruits and vegetables into your diet—aim for at least five servings per day—and whole grains like quinoa or brown rice. Make sure you’re also getting enough protein from sources like lean protein meat, nuts, and seeds. Adding healthy fats like avocados or olive oil can also help keep hunger away throughout the day. 

Make meal planning easier

Meal planning is one of the most helpful strategies when it comes to healthy eating because it allows you to have control over what goes into your meals while making sure that they stay nutritious and delicious. This will also help you make sure that you’re getting a balanced diet and avoiding unhealthy snacks and fast food.

To make meal planning easier, set aside some time each week (like Sundays) where you plan out meals for the upcoming week with all their necessary ingredients so that you don’t have any excuses not to use them throughout the week. It can also help save time and money since you won’t be scrambling to figure out what to cook or buy at the last minute. Meal planning also allows you to control the portions of your meals, so you’re not overeating.

Choose healthy options

When shopping for food, opt for nutrient-rich and plant-based whole foods like fruits and vegetables instead of processed or packaged items from the grocery store. This will help ensure that you’re getting the vitamins and minerals your body needs. It’s also important to limit sugary drinks and alcohol, as well as unhealthy fats.

Snack smartly 

Snacking can be a great way to get extra nutrients and fiber into your diet while helping to feel full and keep cravings at bay between meals. Choose snacks that offer nutritional benefits, such as nuts and seeds, yogurt with berries or other fruits, hummus with veggie sticks, nut butters on whole-grain toast or crackers, air-popped popcorn sprinkled with herbs or spices instead of butter and salt, or trail mix made with dried fruit and nuts. 

Prepare meals at home

Eating out all the time can be expensive and it’s often hard to find healthy options when dining out. To save money and eat healthier, try preparing healthy recipes at home. This also gives you more control over portion sizes and ingredients, so you can tailor your diet to meet your specific needs.

Avoid fad diets 

It can be tempting to try the latest fad diets that promise rapid weight loss, but fad diets are often extreme and not sustainable in the long-term. Stick to healthy eating plans that include all different types of foods from the food pyramid, such as fruits and vegetables, dairy products, grains and proteins as well as healthy fats like olive oil and avocado. This way you’re getting all the nutrients your body needs without depriving it of anything important or putting your health at risk. 

Drink water 

Staying hydrated is key in maintaining good health all year round. Aim to drink enough water throughout the day so that you don’t feel thirsty—but don’t overdo it either! Drinking too much water can be just as bad as not drinking enough; try filling up a reusable water bottle once in the morning and once at lunchtime to stay hydrated without overdoing it. And if plain water isn’t for you, try adding some lemon slices or mint leaves for flavor! 

Mindful eating   

Eating mindfully means being aware of how much food you’re consuming and paying attention to how different foods make your body feel. Take the time to sit down during meals without any distractions from technology or work so that you can savor each bite and really appreciate the flavors and aromas of what’s in front of you. Chew slowly so that your stomach has enough time to signal fullness after eating smaller portions rather than plowing through larger amounts quickly. 

You might also try keeping a food journal where you track not only what types of food you ate but also how they made your body feel afterwards so that you can become mindful of which foods have positive impacts on your health versus those that do not. 

Seek professional help

If you’re having trouble following a diet or achieving your goals, consider seeking the advice of a registered dietitian or nutritionist. A dietitian can provide you with personalized diet advice and help you create an eating plan that’s tailored to your needs.

Kick off this new year with a commitment to healthier habits

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be difficult; by starting off small and making smart food choices whenever possible, you can easily begin introducing healthier habits into your life this new year. With a few simple steps here and there towards bettering your diet combined with regular exercise, you’ll soon be on your way towards better nutrition this year. And they’ll help ensure that you reach your goals in no time!

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Disclaimer: The information presented in this article is intended for general informational purposes only and should not be considered, construed or interpreted as legal or professional advice, guidance or opinion.

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