Happy New Year! Many of us have started making our New Year’s resolutions or at least thinking about some changes we want to make in 2018. One popular goal this time of year is to start eating healthy. This is a great goal, however what does eating “healthy” mean? Depending on preferences, culture, traditions and budget, we all have our own eating style. So everyone’s definition of healthy varies greatly, even among dietitians. For one person, eating healthy means eating home cooked meals instead of eating out every day. Another person may think eating healthy means eating vegetarian. I think a better goal is to starting eating “healthier“. There is room for improvement in everyone’s diet, and making a few small changes to your current eating style can make a big difference in your overall health.
Trying to overhaul your diet typically doesn’t work and often causes stress and anxiety. Instead, embrace who you are and how you eat. Then consider these tips to making healthier, long term changes that won’t be overwhelming.
- Don’t give up favorite foods. If you are too strict and tell yourself you can never have a cookie, you will obsess about the cookie. This usually leads to overeating at some point because you are not satisfied. Instead, eat your favorite foods in smaller quantities and less often.
- Have a plan. Whether you are eating at home or eating out, try to balance your meals. Eat lots of vegetables, always have some protein and watch the amount of carbs you eat at each meal. Instead of fries or a loaded baked potato at a restaurant, ask for a salad or apple slices. Here are some more ideas from the USDA’s MyPlate MyWins! website: https://www.choosemyplate.gov/make-small-changes
- Don’t eat boring food. A common complaint I hear from my patients is they are sick of eating the same “diet” foods every day. My response is always, “then don’t!” Healthy food doesn’t mean tasteless, dried out chicken breast and steamed plain vegetables every day. Vary up your protein sources – pork tenderloin, lean ground beef, beans and eggs are examples of nutritious sources of protein. Roast, saute or use a crockpot to vary how your meats are cooked. Steamed vegetables, especially microwavable bags are quick and easy, but that’s not the only way to cook vegetables. Try roasting them in a hot oven drizzled with a little olive oil and your favorite seasonings, this is my favorite way to eat my veggies!
- Win 5 out of 7 days. It is ok to splurge once in a while, just not daily. Try to eat healthy during the week and maybe indulge a little on the weekends. Planning for it also helps with spiraling out of control or feeling you “blew your diet” and give up.
Try this delicious one-pan recipe that is easy, healthy and full of flavor:
Delicious One-Pan Pork and Vegetables
- 3/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 small new red potatoes, unpeeled, quartered
- 1 cup baby carrots
- 1 cup fresh broccoli florets
- 1 medium red onion, cut into 8 wedges
- 1 large garlic clove, finely chopped ( or 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 boneless pork loin chops (4 oz each)
- Heat oven to 425o F. Spray cookie sheet pan with cooking spray. In small bowl, mix Italian seasoning, salt and pepper (and garlic powder, if using).
- In a large bowl, mix potatoes, carrots, broccoli, onion and garlic (if using). Sprinkle with oil and half of herb mixture; toss to coat evenly. Place in center of pan.
- Bake 25 minutes; stir vegetables. Sprinkle remaining herb mixture over pork chops. Place pork chops around vegetables. Bake 10-15 minutes or until pork reads 145o F, and vegetables are tender.
Nutrition Information per Serving
310 Calories 23g Carbohydrates
4g Fiber 28g Protein
The biggest take-away from all of this is to set realistic goals for yourself. Remember, there is not one right way to get healthy. Small changes to your diet can bring big changes to your health.
Here’s to a Happy and Healthy 2018 for all!