This is the first post in a series on healthy eating by dietician and nutrition consultant Elizabeth M. Ward.
I may be a dietitian, but even my diet suffers during the holidays: I nibble on more high-calorie treats than I should, and fail to include enough nutritious foods like fruits and vegetables. As we all recover from the season of excess, it’s time to put in place new strategies to make it easier to eat healthy. When kick-starting my new year, I start with fresh produce, and I make sure to include at least five servings of fruits and vegetables every day. In addition to being packed with nutrients, produce also provides carbohydrates for energy, and vitamins, minerals and plant compounds called phytonutrients to help protect against colds and flu. Between dragging yourself to the gym, working and other activities on your list of things to do in 2015, eating right may feel like another chore. So, here are four simple and delicious strategies for keeping your diet healthy every day, from now until the New Year comes around again (and beyond).
Capitalize on convenience.
When you’re tight on time, there’s no need to miss out on great-tasting vegetables. You can have a variety of salads on the table in less than five minutes with Eat Smart Salad Kits. Lately, my family can’t get enough of Wild Greens and Quinoa with avocado herb dressing! Make a complete meal that trumps take-out in minutes by adding protein-packed foods, such as cooked chicken, pork, fish, tofu, or eggs to any Gourmet Vegetable Blend Kit. To find Eat Smart products, check out the Store Locator for locations.
Take it on the run.
You’re bound to get hungry from dashing around doing errands. Resist the lure of mall food courts and fast food joints. Take nutritious mini-meals with you on the road. Examples of satisfying snacks include raw broccoli and sugar snap peas, paired with hummus; carrots and peanut butter; a carton of Greek yogurt and fruit; and a handful of nuts and dried fruit.
Smooth it out.
Smoothies are a great way to include the nutrients you need to support good health and stay energized. Mix fruit and vegetables with milk or Greek yogurt for a filling and delicious drink that keeps hunger at bay for hours. Get creative with your combinations! For example, instead of an all-fruit smoothie, consider adding cooked butternut squash or carrots to banana-based beverages.
It’s a relief to know that you have nutritious foods on hand for quick meals. When preparing a healthy chili, macaroni and cheese or lasagna recipe, make a double batch. That way, you’ll have leftovers for lunch or for dinner the next day. Pair every entrée with vegetables and fruits. Starting the New Year with healthier eating habits isn’t always easy, but these tricks make it simpler to stay energized. Happy, healthy New Year to you!
Elizabeth (Liz) Ward, MS, RD, is a freelance writer and nutrition consultant. She is the author of several books including her latest, My Plate for Moms, How to Feed Yourself & Your Family Better. As a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association (now the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics) for nearly 10 years, Ward was featured in nearly 1,000 print and broadcast interviews, including CNN, U.S. News & World Report, The New York Times, and The Boston Globe. She has also been a guest on NBC’s Today Show, the Dr. Oz Show, and appeared regularly live on the Morning News on Fox 25 in Boston for six years. Ward has been an invited speaker at more than 100 professional meetings. Ward lives in the Boston area with her husband and three children.