My 4 Nutrition Changes for 2018
By: Samantha McCarthy MS, RD/LDN
As the holiday season comes to a close, you may start thinking about the New Year and your health. We over-indulge every holiday season, and millions of us start those well-intended New Year’s resolutions. After working with hundreds of clients, I can tell you one big thing every dieter does wrong: too many changes at once.
We are all busy people. We have countless things to do and no time for anything else. Trying to incorporate a total lifestyle change into your already busy schedule is cause for failure. This is why so many people fail at their resolutions. Expectations are too high. To create lasting habits, focus on one small change at a time. Once you master that change, then you can move onto the next one. Here are my four recommended changes for your new year (not in any particular order):
Change One: Cut Back on Added Sugars
This is a big one, so I recommend taking this in small doses, literally. If someone asked me to recommend one diet change for Americans, I would say reduce added sugars. Added sugars are in almost every processed food, so it is not easy. Start reading your ingredients lists. You can find added sugars there. If sugar (or any of the hundreds of names it goes by) is one of the first 3-5 ingredients, be cautious. Try to limit that product.
Change Two: Eat less Processed Foods
If you cut back on added sugars, you are automatically going to be eating less processed foods. But, not all processed foods have added sugars. Processed foods like meats, chips, crackers, pretzels, canned foods, and frozen meals may not have added sugars, but should still be limited in the diet.
Change Three: Cook more at home
If you cut out added sugars and processed foods, what’s left? Real foods! Foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, dairy, and healthy fat sources. This is what you should be cooking with at home to replace all of the processed stuff. Cooking more at home will lead to less fast food, pizza, subs, giant restaurant meals, and all other temptations found at food establishments. You will end up consuming less calories, saturated fat, sodium, and added sugars.
Change Four: Don’t Skip Meals or Snacks
It sounds silly. Eat more and you will lose weight. But again and again I see clients skipping meals and snacks assuming they are doing their bodies good and eating less calories. Well, most of the time, that is not the case. Skipping meals and snacks can not only slow your metabolism down, but it also leads to overeating at the next meal. You can end up starving, reaching for the quickest food you can grab, usually something processed. This leads to overeating. At the end of the day, you have consumed more calories, not less. Aim for 3 small meals and 2 snacks throughout the day.