Sunday, January 8, 2017

4 Nutrition Habits to Practice in 2017

What are 4 nutrition habits you can adopt in 2017 that are easy and will lead to a healthier you?   So many people make New Year’s Resolutions with broad goals that they never attain.   Goals such as “I will lose weight.”  “I will exercise more.”   No specifics and no real changes in your habits.  What are some nutrition habits you can easily adopt in 2017 that will improve your health, the way you look and the way you feel?  Try adopting one of these habits a month and see how easy it is to eat healthier in 2017.

Nutrition Habit #1:  Eat breakfast
Eat breakfast every day.  So many people skip breakfast, send their kids off to school without any breakfast and then wonder why they feel so tired by 10 AM.  Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day and the way to fuel up and “break the fast” of not eating all night.
  • Whole grains – breakfast is a great time to add some whole grains to your day.
    • Cereal – choose a whole grain cereal like oatmeal, Cheerios.  In fact, all General Mills cereals are whole grain so choosing a whole grain cereal for you and for your kids is easy.
    • Bagels, English Muffins – no time?  Pop a whole grain bagel thin or whole grain English muffin in the toaster.
  • Fruit – eat a banana, drink 4 ounces of 100% juice, add some raisins to your oatmeal.
  • Protein – add some protein to your breakfast for “staying power”.  Carbs are digested first and protein next.  You won’t be as hungry at 11 AM if you had some protein in your breakfast.  Drink some low-fat milk, eat a low-fat yogurt.  Enjoy some scrambled eggs.
 Nutrition Habit #2:  Eat 5 A Day
Eat at least 5 fruits and vegetables a day.  So many people are missing the mark on fresh fruits and veggies.  Make it a habit to eat fruit at breakfast every day.  In a rush, grab a banana to eat at work.  Drink 4 ounces of 100% juice.  At lunch, have 2 fruits or one fruit and one vegetable.  Pack an apple and some baby carrots.  At dinner, have 2 vegetables.  My husband’s mother said it wasn’t dinner unless 2 vegetables were served.  If this is too much for you, then start with at least one fruit or vegetable at every meal.  And French Fries don’t count.  Eating at a Fast Food place?  Choose the apple slices and/or the salad to get your 5 A Day.

Nutrition Habit #3:  Whole Grains
Make every day a whole grain day.  So many Americans aren’t eating even one serving of whole grains a day and USDA recommends half of all your grains (breads, cereal, muffins, etc.) should be whole grain.  If you aren’t eating any whole grains, try adding one whole grain a day.  A better habit is to have at least 3 servings of whole grains a day.  MyPlate has a number of tips to help you eat more whole grains every day:
  • Cereal – choose whole grain such as a General Mills cereal or oatmeal.
  • Bagels – choose whole grain like a whole grain bagel thin.  Make a sandwich for lunch on a whole grain bagel.
  • Chips/Popcorn – choose whole grain chips like Sun Chips.  Buy some SkinnyPop popcorn.  It comes in 100 calorie bags, easy to pack for a snack.
  • Crackers – choose Triscuits, Wheat Thins.
  • Rice – choose brown rice.
To read more about how to add whole grains to your day, go to How Much Whole Grain Should You Eat a Day?  

Nutrition Habit #4:  Add Some Fiber to Your Day
Add more fiber to your day.  I have never heard anyone make a New Year’s Resolution that says, “I will eat more fiber every day.” But for so many Americans, that should be a goal.  So many Americans eat refined foods like white bread, pastries, donuts and don’t even think about how much fiber they are getting each day.  If you want to know how many grams of fiber you need each day, go to Kellogg’s Nutrition Fiber Tracker.  This quick fiber calculator will tell you how many grams of fiber you should be getting each day.  Start small with fiber grams.  It takes a while for your body to adjust to adding more fiber to your diet.
  • Cereal – look at the nutrition label and choose a cereal with more fiber.
  • Breads – even whole wheat bread varies in fiber content.  Choose a bread that gives you more fiber per slice.
  • Crackers – choose whole grain crackers to add some fiber.
  • Fruit and Vegetables – fresh fruit and vegetables will add more fiber to your diet than processed.  Choosing the apple instead of applesauce will add more fiber
Choose one of the above nutrition habits and make this your nutrition habit for January 2017.  In February add another nutrition habit.  Add one nutrition habit a month for the first 4 months of 2017 and you will have healthier eating habits, you will feel better, and look better.   

Sources:  MyPlate, How Much Whole Grain Should You Eat a Day?, Kellogg’s Nutrition Fiber Tracker, Image Source:  Quaker Oats

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