The New Year is a great opportunity to create new habits and start eating right. Maria Biondi, RDN, CDN, Wellbeing Coach for NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, suggests the following tips for a nutritious diet and a healthy year ahead.
“As folks look towards the New Year, many of them want a fresh start and to live a healthier lifestyle,” says Biondi. “It’s great that people become excited about their health during this time of the year, and we want to make sure they have good nutrition all year round.”
1. Eat as natural as possible.
Try to choose foods that come from the earth. This seems like a simple rule, but it actually eliminates most foods we eat every day. Cookies, ice cream, and even most granola bars have hidden food additives and added sugars. If possible, try whole foods with little added ingredients. You can try swapping processed food for nuts and a whole fruit as a healthy snack.
2. Eat breakfast.
Breakfast gives you energy and is a great way to begin your day, by starting your metabolism and blood sugar on the right track. In fact, it has been proven that skipping breakfast can put you at higher risk for heart disease, high blood sugar, and a slower metabolism. Whether it’s a quick whole wheat toast with nut butter or avocado, hard boiled eggs, or instant oatmeal, make sure to eat a nutrient-dense breakfast to start your day right.
3. Eat smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day.
Going long periods of time without eating may slow down your metabolism. A study conducted by the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics found that those who ate six smaller meals throughout the day had better weight loss results than those who ate three larger meals.
4. Switch to whole grains.
Brown rice, oatmeal, and quinoa in moderation are great for keeping you full and curbing your sugar cravings. Try swapping out white bread for a whole grain option, as white breads contain less fiber and may have processed sugars and preservatives to keep them on the shelves longer.
5. Spice it up.
For generations, herbs and spices were used to treat various illnesses and ailments in cultures around the world. Today, spices such as turmeric, cinnamon, and ginger are recommended to help your body fight inflammation, high cholesterol, and blood pressure. They can also add great flavor to your dish!
6. Mind your gut health.
Our digestive system is filled with good bacteria that helps us fight off disease. Fiber, prebiotics, and probiotics are great ways to improve our gut health. Foods that provide these helpful bacteria include Greek yogurt with a banana, oatmeal, kimchi, sauerkraut, and pickles.
7. Drink more water (not your calories).
Drinking high-sugar fruit juices and sports drinks can be detrimental to your diet. This can also be true for coffees with creamers and added sugar. Water is zero calories, zero sugar, and keeps you hydrated throughout the day. On average, it is recommended to consume at least eight cups of water daily. Try a refreshing seltzer or fruit-infused water to add some natural flavor to your drink.
8. Be mindful of your alcohol intake.
If you are watching your weight, avoiding or decreasing your alcohol intake can help. For example, mixed drinks are filled with sugary juices. On average, beer can be 155 calories per serving and could contain as many carbohydrates as multiple slices of white bread.
9. Find your balance.
Many diets claim eating less of something is the key to achieving results. However, you should not deprive yourself of any macronutrients like carbohydrates, fat, or protein. The key is to find the right proportions for you. A Stanford University study concluded that an effective weight loss strategy is to eat less sugar and refined flour, and instead choose more vegetables and whole foods such as whole grains, low-fat dairy, and fruits.
10. Remember to get a good night’s rest.
Getting a good night’s sleep may help you feel more rested and make healthier choices the following day. Try to set a time for yourself to prepare for bed and aim for a goal of eight hours of sleep.
NewYork-Presbyterian Queens, located in Flushing, New York, is a community teaching hospital affiliated with Weill Cornell Medicine, serving Queens and metro New York residents. The 535-bed tertiary care facility provides services in 14 clinical departments and numerous subspecialties. Annually, 15,000 surgeries and 4,000 infant deliveries are performed at NewYork-Presbyterian Queens. With its network of affiliated primary and multispecialty care physician practices and communitybased health centers, the hospital provides approximately 162,000 ambulatory care visits and 124,000 emergency service visits annually. For more information, visit nyp.org/queens.