Writer / Joni Fiscus, Registered Dietician at IU Health West Hospital
Every year millions of Americans make New Year’s resolutions, many of which are to eat better, go on a diet or lose weight. There are many fad diets that circulate, but many are usually abandoned come February. Instead, I recommend focusing on small things you can change in your everyday life to eat better and feel better year round.
Substitute everyday items with healthy alternatives.
There are a wide variety of healthy alternatives for your favorite foods that are not nutrient dense. Look for fat-free, low-fat and low-sodium options for your favorite foods. Keeping an eye on the amount of saturated fats, sodium, cholesterol and added sugars is a good way to be intentional with your eating habits.
Eat your fruits and veggies.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Dietary Guidelines for Americans puts an emphasis on consuming lots of fruits and vegetables and says they are vital to a healthy lifestyle. Try to create a rainbow on your plate. The variety of colors ensures you’re getting a variety of vitamins and minerals.
Try a protein-packed diet.
There are many lesser-known protein sources out there than just beef and chicken. Foods like seafood, eggs, soy products and nuts are all sources of protein that are easy to incorporate in the meals you already make. When cooking with meat and poultry, try baking or grilling the meat instead of serving it fried or breaded.
Indulge in moderation.
You can still eat your favorite comfort foods, even when you’re trying to eat healthier. Any food is OK to eat in moderation, and indulging every now and then will not ruin your healthy lifestyle. Good nutrition and regular exercise will help you feel good about your health.
Your diet is an important part of your everyday health, but it’s only a piece of the bigger picture. Remember to stay on top of regular visits with your physician and address any questions or concerns you may have with your doctor.