A new year brings many good intentions: Losing weight, exercising more, getting organized and saving money are often at the top of the list.
This year, make good nutrition a top priority on your goal sheet. With a few minor additions to your diet, you will feel better, have more energy and give your body the nourishment it needs. Give your body a healthy start in 2014!
Maximize your breakfast
Include a fruit or vegetable as part of your daily breakfast. Fruit and vegetables are loaded with nutrients, while being low in calories. Avoid waiting until dinnertime to squeeze in your recommended 5-9 servings of fruits and vegetables.
Adding spinach, peppers, onions, and mushrooms to a one- or two-egg omelet adds volume and nutrition without added calories. Use less cereal and add some cut-up strawberries and bananas to your bowl.
Be smart about snacks
Remember: The goal is to add more nutrition to our diet this year. Typical snacks are often packaged, processed and high in either sugar, fat or salt.
Prepare your own snacks that are not only healthier, but cheaper as well. Examples include a slice of whole-grain bread with peanut butter, a handful of nuts with a sliced apple, and a slice of cheese with a few whole grain crackers. These snack examples provide protein, fiber and many nutrients – without all the sugar and unhealthy fat.
Portion your plate properly
If you often feel very full after your meals, you are overfeeding your body. Most of us eat too much at one time, which leads to gastric distress and weight gain. Follow these steps for portion control:
• Use a smaller plate. Most dinner plates are too large. Sounds silly, but using a smaller plate really does help you eat less!
• Plan your meal around your vegetables instead of your protein source. Half of your plate should be non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, asparagus, zucchini, green beans, salad greens and vegetable soup. Have more than one type of vegetable.
• One-fourth of your plate should be protein. This would include lean meats, poultry, seafood and other protein sources such as beans, legumes, nuts, and eggs or egg substitute.
• The remaining fourth of your plate should be grains: specifically whole grains that are rich in fiber and essential nutrients.
• Enjoy your food. Eat slowly and stop eating when you are content.
Bone Up On Calcium and D
Most adults do not get adequate daily calcium, and many children are deficient in calcium and Vitamin D, as well. Calcium and Vitamin D have many functions in the body, the main one bone growth and maintenance.
We need 1,000 to 1,200 mg of calcium and 400 to 600 IU of Vitamin D daily (depending on age). One 8 oz. glass of milk has 300 mg calcium and is fortified with120 IU of Vitamin D. Other calcium sources include yogurt, cheese, sardines, salmon, dried beans and sunflower seeds.