Need some help kicking your New Year into gear? I'm not as big on resolutions (which can seem kind of lofty and unattainable) as I am on lifestyle changes. Here are some of the ones I recommend to all of my new clients to get them off to a good start. Eat a balanced diet - Choose vibrant carbohydrates from colorful fruits and vegetables and whole grains such as oats, brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat products. Add natural healthy fats such as nuts, seeds, avocadoes and quality oils such as extra virgin olive oil and the others listed above. Choose healthier proteins from legumes/beans, lean meats, tofu, tempeh, cage-free eggs, and natural cheese such as cottage. Say NO to trans-fats — You'll find man-made trans-fats in partially hydrogenated vegetable oil and in lots of packaged foods. Replace solid vegetable shortening with healthier liquid oils such as expeller pressed high oleic sunflower, high oleic safflower, sesame, olive or peanut oil. Choose real butter or all natural, non-hydrogenated margarine over typical store-bought margarine, butter-flavored sticks, and solid shortening in a can.
Add berries - fresh or frozen to your diet - remember: color is key when it comes to good health. Berries are great alone, on cereal, in whole grain muffins and quick breads, with yogurt, and with nuts. Here's a berry salad you won't be able to resist. Eat your greens! This can't be overstated! Eat some kind of green every day. Experiment with new greens - maybe try one new green vegetable for each month on the new year: January: Kale, February: Collard Greens, March: Mustard Greens, April: Baby Spinach, May: Arugula, June: Dandelion, July: Bok Choy, August: Swiss Chard, September: Mache, October: Turnip Greens, November: Beet Greens, and December: Broccoli Raab. Get your omega 3s - think fresh fish and flaxseed. Here's a simple, super salmon recipe and you can make your own tasty salad dressing with flaxseed oil.
Make the switch to healthier whole grains - think brown rice, quinoa, rolled oats, whole wheat bread and spelt pasta as well as buckwheat, millet and wild rice. Try these Blueberry Spelt Muffins and this Wild Rice with Oranges and Currants. Cut way back on refined white and brown sugar - make it the occasional treat, not the norm. Choose fresh fruit, dried fruits, a little honey, some naturally dehydrated cane syrup, or pure maple syrup in small amounts. Learn to sweeten cookies and baked goods with dried fruits and a minimal amount of natural sugars. Say NO to high fructose corn syrup, which you'll find in all kinds of commercial baked goods, sodas, yogurt, pudding, bread, etc. If soda is a must for you, choose natural sodas, many of which are fruit juice or honey sweetened. If you're on a budget, make your own spritzers with 100% fruit juice mixed with sparkling water. Limit snacking - and when you do get the munchies, try nuts, fresh fruits, sliced veggies with hummus, whole grain crackers and a slice of natural cheese. What healthy changes are you planning for the New Year? I'd love to hear!