JEFF TIEDEMAN: Healthy eating for the new yearHave you set any New Year’s resolutions? I suspect many of you have — or at least are thinking about some. A lot of these, I’m sure, are centered on food and improving your health. And if they’re not, maybe they should be.
Have you set any New Year’s resolutions?
I suspect many of you have — or at least are thinking about some.
A lot of these, I’m sure, are centered on food and improving your health. And if they’re not, maybe they should be, since during the holiday season, most of us have the tendency to overindulge. (I didn’t pass on all the cookies and candies, and we had our fair share of appetizers and lovely dinners.)
If this sounds a little preachy, I plead guilty. But I’m not going to apologize. After all, a big part of the reason our country is in a health care crisis is because of bad eating habits and lack of exercise — and this affects all of us.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. Making lifestyle changes when it comes to exercising and to what you eat doesn’t have to be painful.
A recent study found that people who engaged in 15 minutes a day of moderate physical activity had a 14 percent lower risk of heart disease compared with inactive people and that the benefit increased with more activity and may provide more motivation to the physically fit.
And food-wise, there are a lot of healthy dishes — both main and sides — that will make you forget about those calorie-laden meals that many have become accustomed to having. (Even a lifetime of eating junk food can be reversed with healthier eating habits.)
A good place to start is trying to eat 2 cups of fruits and 2½ cups of vegetables a day — a recommendation of the American Dietetic Association — as well as adding more seafood as a lean source of protein in your diet.
At our house, Therese and I try to eat fish (salmon, tuna, halibut, etc.) at least once a week and every dinnertime meal will feature at least one or two vegetables. And we always have two or three kinds of fresh fruit — apples, bananas, oranges, pears, etc. — available for snacking. A couple of meatless meals a week also are on our menu. (See Broccoli and Rigatoni and Pasta e Fagioli recipes on Page C2.)
Here are a few more things you can do to have a healthier New Year. They are from Susan Streitz, licensed registered dietitian and Medical Nutrition Therapy supervisor at Altru Health System
n Write down your goals in specific terms. Being specific means you are more likely to achieve them.
n Those who fail to plan, plan to fail. You must plan your meals if you truly want to improve your diet. You must schedule exercise into your day if you really want to fit it in. The busier you are, the more important this step is.
n Eat breakfast. Eating breakfast stimulates your metabolism so that you can burn calories more efficiently throughout the day. It also helps prevent overeating at the remaining meals of the day.
n Eat more fruits and vegetables. Not only are they great sources of antioxidants, fiber, and flavor, they offer great ways to expand a meal and increase satisfaction with few calories.
n Snack healthier to snack less. Have a snack you look forward to, such as an Anjou pear with cheese. The temptations in the office break room won’t be nearly as tempting if you aren’t hungry when you see them.
n Don’t overeat. Use smaller plates, glasses and utensils. Research has proven that using bigger dishes results in eating larger quantities.
n Avoid mindless eating. Instead of snacking while watching television, get on the treadmill. Burn calories instead of add calories.
n Celebrate the milestones. Reward yourself, with a nonfood, nonbeverage item for small accomplishments along the way. They will encourage you to keep on keeping on.
Tiedeman is the food editor at the Herald. Reach him at (701) 780-1136 or toll-free at (800) 477-6572, or email at email@example.com.