How are your New Years resolutions going? Did you resolve to eat healthier, lose weight, or exercise more? Being a few weeks into the New Year is when the new resolutions tend to start losing momentum, and maybe it’s time to re-group.
If your goal is to be healthier, whether or not you want to lose weight, both fitness and nutrition changes are key. Yes, doing one or the other is helpful, but to truly be healthy you need to incorporate both. Obviously when you are incorporating fitness, you are adding something to your life. It may be new to you, or you may be taking it up a notch. When it comes to nutrition, many make changes by eliminating certain foods or food groups. I encourage my clients to instead add foods. Think about all the delicious, colorful, nutritious foods, and add them in to your day.
Although salads are an easy way to incorporate a variety of vegetables, here are some other ideas to add nutrition to your day.
*Smoothies are great if you are not a big fan of greens, but want to take advantage of their nutrients. Spinach and kale make great additions to smoothies, and if paired with fruit, you’ll hardly notice them. Frozen fruit works well in smoothies and is picked and frozen at the peak of freshness, so it is full of nutrients.
*Roasted veggies are good all year, but especially in the cold weather months. Simply chop any veggie into bite sized pieces, drizzle with a little olive oil and seasoning, toss and bake in a 400 degree oven until done. Time will vary depending on the vegetable and size, so start checking at 15 minutes and go from there. Experiment with seasonings, parsley, oregano and thyme are my favorite standbys.
*Then there is soup. It may take a little time, but the rewards are so worth it! If you take the time to make a big batch of vegetable soup you will end up with several delicious and nutritious meals. If you have left over roasted vegetables from another meal, toss those in towards the end of the cooking time. Less chopping and more flavor! Add beans or quinoa to your soup for protein and variety.
If you focus on adding in more colors and nutrients, you are less likely to want the non-healthy options. Slowly, over time your taste buds will adjust and you will crave the healthier foods. Tuning in to your body is helpful too. If, for example, you find yourself wanting ice cream you can tune in to your body to decide if it’s emotional or simply that you are craving something creamy. If you are reaching for the ice cream out of stress, or some other emotion, try distracting yourself until the feeling passes. If you want that cool, creamy treat, try substituting the ice cream with a blended frozen banana with milk of choice. (I add a little cocoa powder to mine. Mmmm!) Substituting healthier options helps with the transition as your body adjusts to the changes.
Depriving yourself of unhealthy food options works, but really, who wants to go through life thinking about what you can’t have. Why not focus on the beautiful, nutritious things you can have? We are so fortunate in the USA to have access to fresh fruits and veggies! My hope is that people will become as excited to eat roasted veggies as they are about their favorite dessert. I also hope that fitness becomes something that we view as a celebration of what our bodies can do, rather than a punishment for what we have eaten. May you continue to add to your health and your life!