If you’re like most of our clients, you want to start your New Year off right and kick your health into high gear by improving your diet. Although you may be tempted to completely overhaul your diet, it’s unrealistic to make a lot of changes all at once (cutting out sugar, salt, processed food, white breads, etc.) and expect yourself stick to all of the changes, especially over the long-term. For the best long-lasting results, it’s better to pick several, achievable dietary changes that reap results, rather than try to change your entire diet at once. Making manageable changes will help you to stick to them and by next year, you won’t find yourself wanting to completely revamp your diet again.
Here are four ways to transform your diet and get on the healthy track without having to change every single food you put in your mouth.
Veggies are packed with fiber to fill you up with very few calories. Plus, they’re nutrient powerhouses, packed with phytonutrients and anti-inflammatory compounds, so they’re a sure-fire way to instantly improve your health, assist in weight loss and fight disease. Breakfast is typically the hardest meal for people to include veggies, so here are three ways to add a veggie punch at breakfast:
Kale Recharge Smoothie: This smoothie is perfect for helping to neutralize toxins (kale aids the liver in both phases of its detoxification process) and for flushing bloat (thanks to its powerful nutrients, water and potassium). Drink this with your breakfast and you’ll get kale and carrots first thing in the morning.
Healthy Green Detox Smoothie: Start your day off with this spinach-rich smoothie. The pineapple and avocado make it sweet and creamy, and the spinach is surprisingly mild so you actually can’t even taste it. Combine the smoothie with some protein like Greek yogurt or eggs, or add protein powder to the smoothie.
Egg and Mozzarrella Breakfast Pizza: This healthy version of pizza boasts mushrooms, onions and peppers, and is just 190 calories.
For those with an active social calendar, this can be the hardest one. But alcohol taxes the liver (and the entire body) in a major way. When it comes to a healthy diet, one of the biggest issues is that alcohol adds a lot of calories and makes you feel hungrier, while also lowering inhibitions, so you care less about what you eat.
-If you’re a social drinker, employ strategies like limiting alcohol to one night a week and downing a lot of seltzer or water in between your one or two drinks.
-Focus on socializing and not on the drinking.
-Schedule a workout session the next morning that you know you have to get up for; you won’t want to have a hangover.
Common herbs and spices add flavor to food without calories, fat or sodium, which can help if you’re looking to lose weight. Plus, they’re packed with phytonutrients so they may help protect against diseases, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease. Here are a few spices to try:
- Cinnamon appears to reduce inflammation and it may lower your LDL cholesterol (aka “bad” cholesterol). Add it to your coffee or oatmeal in the morning (try ½ teaspoon to start), or throw a bit on your afternoon snack of apples and peanut butter.
- Ginger seems to have anti-nausea properties that may help with upset stomachs and motion sickness. It can also hinder blood clotting and inflammation. Grate ginger root and throw in a stir-fry or add finely grated ginger to sweet potatoes for an extra kick.
- Turmeric is from the same family as ginger and has been shown to reduce inflammation in arthritis patients. Turmeric is also being investigated for its possible benefits in Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and other clinical disorders. Sprinkle some on some roasted cauliflower or in your eggs.
- Instead of sugar, add nutmeg to your coffee. Add a pinch of nutmeg to cooked greens like kale or spinach.
- Add cayenne pepper instead of salt to your pasta or chili for a kick.
- Mix together ginger, walnut oil, lime juice and garlic for a delicious dressing or marinade.
Omega-3s are powerful anti-inflammatories that are helpful in fighting everything from heart disease to depression and arthritis.
Soy Ginger Salmon: Salmon is rich in omega-3s and ginger helps fight inflammation, making this dish an inflammation-fighting powerhouse.
Mediterranean Fish Tacos: As an added bonus, the vitamin C from the tomatoes in this dish enhances the absorption of the iron in the fish.
Baked Tilapia with Wild Blueberry Apple Chipotle Chutney: This dish contains cumin, which is another potent anti-inflammatory that can help combat inflammation.