Are you eating too much junk and too little real food?
If so, you are not alone.
And even if you decide to change your diet it can be really tough to know where to start and how to keep your healthy diet going.
That’s why I reached out to some of the finest nutrition experts out there and asked them:
I believe in a real food approach for health. So that would be my top recommendation for someone looking to eat more healthfully in the new year: Rather than get hung-up on numbers on a scale, total calories or grams of carbohydrates, make this the year you explore the benefits of a real food diet. This means foods that are:
1. Minimally processed (i.e. More vegetables, fruit, legumes, fish, lean meat, nuts and seeds and less processed meats, processed fats and oils, refined carbohydrates and flour-based products).
2. That contain a single or few ingredients.
3. Made without artificial sweeteners, flavors, dyes or preservatives.
– Vanessa Perrone, MotiveNutrition.com
When people decide to “eat healthier” it can mean so many different things. Low fat, low carb, gluten free, sugar free, vegan, paleo — it’s easy to get confused! Instead of focusing so much on what to cut out, my #1 piece of advice would be to add in more greens. Dark leafy greens are packed with nutrients, so the more you eat them, the more nourished your body will be and the less you’ll crave unhealthy food. Focus on eating greens every day – whether it’s in a salad, cooked greens, a green juice, a green smoothie.
– Jenny Sansouci, HealthyCrush.com
The short answer is you find the easiest way possible to make healthy eating a habit.
Here’s what I recommend:
1. Write down specifically what unhealthy eating behaviors you want to change (e.g., drinking soda, eating too many cookies, snacking at night, cooking unhealthy dinners, etc.)
2. Take small steps to change these bad eating habits (e.g., not buying soda or cookies at the grocery store, stocking your refrigerator with healthy snacks so you don’t binge at night)
3. Cue the healthy behaviors every day (e.g., find a healthy recipe to use for dinner before you leave work, pack a healthy lunch and healthy snacks the night before, place healthy snacks in your cupboard and refrigerator to make healthy snacking simple)
– Scott Christ, The Healthy Eating Guide
“The problem with many new years resolutions is that they’re hard to stick to, so make sure to set a goal that is realistic and achievable. The most important part is to just eat whole, unprocessed foods and exercise. That is a much worthier goal (and easier to stick to) than aiming for an X number of pounds or inches. If you improve the function of your body, weight loss often happens automatically.”
– Kris Gunnars, AuthorityNutrition.com
Start your day with protein! Skip the sugary cereal – that’s void of anything nutritious – and you’ll stay satisfied until lunchtime. (Studies also show that people who eat protein in the morning, as opposed to empty carbohydrates, weigh less.) Good protein options are greek yogurt with fruit, smoothies with protein powder, oatmeal with milk and nut butter and of course, any kind of eggs!
– Emily Dingmann, A Nutritionist Eats
“I’ve learned that healthy eating has to be built around each person’s individual food preferences, so my advice would be to identify at least 10 healthy foods that you really love, and make sure you always have those on hand. (And getting the unhealthy foods out of the house can also help you choose those healthy foods when you’re hungry!)
My personal list for the healthy ten includes nuts, sugar snap peas, low-fat cheese sticks, eggs, grape tomatoes, sugar-free yogurt, low-fat ranch dip, sweet mini-peppers, celery, and peanut butter.”
– Kalyn Denny, Kalyns Kitchen
“Every day for a week, write down a list of the junk food that you eat so you can know how often you eat something that isn’t nutritious. This knowledge will help you figure out where you need improvement.”
– Lisa Cain, Snack Girl
“First off, I’d say a resolution to “eat healthier” isn’t specific enough. I’d suggest stating your desire in the present tense and deciding on a phrase such as: I am a water drinker. or I eat food that makes my body strong and healthy.”
– Stephanie O’Dea has written NYT best-selling cookbooks, and Totally Together: Shortcuts to an Organized Life.
Remember there is no perfect diet. Simply commit to eat better, not perfectly, because perfect will always bite you in the ass!
– Roni Noone
When it comes to eating healthier, the best thing you can do for yourself is to learn basic cooking skills. When I lost 40 pounds more than 15 years ago, it was because I’d learned to make healthy meals at home that would please the entire family. I lightened up our favorite fast food meals, so the kids were happy and so was I. Dining out, whether it’s fast food or fine dining, can be a diet disaster.
Most of us don’t have the self control to ask the chef to steam our vegetables, hold the sauce, or not bring the bread. Making dining out a once-in-awhile treat, instead of daily lunch or dinner event, saves calories and your health. Restaurants are notorious for adding an abundance of the three ingredients that make us feel satisfied – salt, sugar and fat.
When you cook at home, you control these additions to your meals. There is an abundance of resources on the internet to get you started, and almost every city has cooking classes you can attend. Cooking can be a ton of fun, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. Your health and waistline will thank you.
– Mother Rimmy
Take it very very slowly and commit to just one little easy change. And once that has been established to choose another little thing. The key to healthy eating is to change slowly and steadily over time making the process as pleasurable as possible.
Maybe that means having a big glass of water as soon as you wake up while you are waiting for coffee or tea. Or having a piece of fruit for breakfast. Or maybe packing a healthy snack so you are never caught hungry without a healthy option. And be extremely patient with yourself because changing behavior takes time and practice.
– Martha McKinnon, Simple Nourished Living
Pretty great stuff, right? If you’d like some more awesome new years resolution ideas and how to make them a booming success, make sure to check out how to:
Before you go I have two things to ask of you:
Good luck with your diet hacking & Happy New Year! 🙂