Healthy Solutions For Your New Year’s Resolution

Healthy Solutions For Your New Year’s Resolution

The new year inspires many an ambitious promise of self-betterment. Unfortunately, such laudable (and common) objectives as “eating healthy” and “losing weight” may be doomed by a lack of planned, actionable steps. “When people make big, global resolutions they tend to fall apart because the goals are too vague,” says Debbie Cooper, RD, LDN, Network Clinical Nutrition Manager at St. Luke’s.

As a start, Cooper suggests swapping sugar-sweetened beverages for non-caloric drinks. “If you want to cut calories and lose weight, that’s something tangible you can do,” she says, citing the variety of flavored waters and seltzers on the market. Unsweetened iced tea, another good choice available in diverse flavors, is also easy to cold-brew in the fridge—or infuse water with lemons, cucumbers, mint leaves, and other fresh flavors.

Although Cooper notes that restaurant portions are typically double those of home servings, dining out needn’t be a downfall. She recommends asking for a take-home container when the entrée arrives and transferring half the meal immediately. “Taking it off the plate is a safeguard that keeps you from continuing to pick after you’re full,” she explains. People who dine out frequently could trim the number of restaurant dinners per week from four visits to two. However, if work keeps you on the road at mealtimes, make sensible ingredient choices—and start with a modest green salad to take the edge off a roaring appetite.

Target eating foods that are roasted, grilled, or steamed rather than fried, and try to eat proportionally: Fill half your plate with vegetables and fruits, and limit protein to a 3-ounce portion (the size of a deck of cards). And don’t neglect energy-sustaining complex carbohydrates. “Make sure they’re healthy carbs from whole grains, which provide fiber,” says Cooper, who points to ChooseMyPlate.gov as an invaluable, customizable meal planning website. Lastly, avoid skipping meals to cut calories since this slows metabolism and actually makes weight loss more difficult.

Cooper proposes adhering to an 80:20 diet ratio, the larger number representing healthy-choice foods. With the smaller portion, “give yourself permission” to eat what you enjoy. In moderation.

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