Healthy Eating Tips From a Dietitian to Keep Your Food Resolutions
With the new year comes new resolutions. Many of us have set goals to eat better and lose weight. To help us meet those goals, we've consulted a dietitian for advice on how to eat right in the new year.
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Year after year, some of the most common New Year’s resolutions have to do with eating well and losing weight. If you’ve ever declared a New Year’s resolution, you know how hard they are to keep, but if you have a good plan, your eating resolutions can be achieved. Whether you’re looking to overhaul your diet or you just want to make a few adjustments, we talked to licensed dietician and nutritionist Lauren Grosskopf about how to get started on our resolutions around food to help us make our goals manageable.
Setting And Meeting Goals
Yummly: With all this talk about "new year, new you," people make vows about eating out less, creating a diet plan, and making lifestyle changes, so can you tell us: what is the healthiest way to lose weight?
Lauren Grosskopf: Small changes lead to big results. Doing anything drastic won’t lead to long-lasting habits. Make a small, obtainable goal each week: aim for 5 servings of vegetables each day, increasing your water intake, etc. These small goals will eventually become habits - leading you to a place of losing weight without compromising your health or putting your body under drastic change.
Y: When we set weight loss goals, we all want to see immediate results, but we know that’s not realistic. Since there isn’t a “quick fix,” we wanted to know what healthy food is good for losing weight. There’s a lot of information (some good, some bad) floating around the internet about one common question: “What foods help burn belly fat?”
LG: Increasing intake of vegetables and fruits over other foods. There’s not a secret food, just being aware of your choices. There’s always a time and a place for indulging, but making positive decisions on food choices each day will be most effective in reducing belly fat.
For some vegetable inspiration, here are some of our favorite vegetable recipes to try.
Changing Eating Habits For Weight Loss
Y: There are a lot of people with healthy new year's resolutions who are willing to change their eating habits, but some want to know if you can lose weight just by eating healthy.
LG: Eating healthy is an element of losing weight (or maintaining a healthy weight), but there also needs to be an exercise component. The idea of exercise can be daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. Taking more walks outside, trying that new yoga class, or even doing some free weights during your favorite show are all great options.
Y: Ketogenic diet, paleo, low carb, low calorie, low fat — there are so many different diets out there that promise weight loss. Can you tell us: What is the healthiest diet in the world?
LG: There’s not a “healthiest” diet that’s the right answer for everyone, and unfortunately the word “diet” means restriction to a lot of people. Give yourself options and keep an open mindset on what is right vs wrong. Science has proven that a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy are the most effective in maintaining a healthy weight. Focus on more weekly goals vs daily goals, knowing that food is meant to be enjoyed – if one day doesn’t look right to you, it’s perfectly acceptable to start over the next day. Be open to experimenting with your meal planning and know that it will shift with the season, as you age, and as your overall tastes change. Change is good when it comes to meal planning, it keeps food exciting.
Y: Over the last decade or so, people have been evangelizing the Mediterranean diet, but people want to know: Can you lose weight on a Mediterranean diet?
LG: Yes, definitely. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on plant-based foods, healthy fats, whole grains, and lean protein. I’ve also seen some journal studies which have strongly suggested the Mediterranean diet could improve your mood.
If you're looking for Mediterranean recipes, here are some of our favorites:
Losing Weight Fast
Y: One of the biggest questions people as is "How quickly can I lose weight?" How would you answer that?
LG: Recommendations for weight loss will vary from person to person, but generally planning to lose one pound per week is considered to be a reasonable goal.
Y: Another burning question is "What should I eat every day to lose weight?" Is there one answer that could apply to many people?
LG: A tasty, colorful, nutrient-dense menu filled with vegetables, fruit, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy.
A Healthy Breakfast
Y: A lot of people are scouring the internet for a balanced breakfast and healthy breakfast ideas. In your opinion, what breakfast foods are good for losing weight?
LG: Foods that are satisfying both in taste and satiation: oatmeal, Greek yogurt, eggs are all great options to kick-start the day. Pair these with nuts, fruit, or granola for a balanced meal to begin your day.
Y: You've mentioned fruit is good for you many times, but there are a lot of websites that suggest not eating bananas. Is a banana a good breakfast?
LG: A banana is part of a good breakfast – it’s loaded with potassium, vitamin C, and fiber. But a banana alone may not keep you full, adding a protein and fat – such as yogurt or nut butter would be a great way to build a balanced breakfast.
Here are some of our favorite healthy breakfast recipes:
Lunch And Dinner
Y: There are a lot of people planning strict diets that eliminate processed foods, but that requires re-working their on-the-go lunches. Do you have suggestions on what healthy food is good to take to work to snack on?
LG: Apples and mixed nuts, carrots and hummus, string cheese, roasted chickpeas, etc.
Y: When people start their eating resolutions, one of the fears is feeling hungry, especially at work and at school, where they need a lot of energy to get through the day, even if the goal is to eat better and not necessarily to lose weight. Can you tell us what healthy food is filling?
LG: Eggs are extremely filling and have all 9 essential amino acids. Avocados, whole grains, nuts, oatmeal, fruits and vegetables, tuna, Greek yogurt, etc. Mix and match with these to find the most filling option for you.
Y: For those people are looking to lose weight, what can they eat to fill up and lose weight?
LG: Choose foods that are nutrient dense and mix and match with those that keep you feeling full and satisfied. When you’re feeling full and satisfied, you’ll be less likely to reach for those less nutrient dense options and focused on positive health choices.
Y: Since there's a lot of emphasis on curbing high-calorie food like dessert, and replacing it with healthy alternatives like fruit, what fruits are the most filling?
LG: Bananas, apples, berries, watermelon, avocado. Fruit generally has a high amount of fiber and a ton of water, these two work together in providing a fuller feeling in your belly.
Y: For regular meals, like lunch or dinner, what foods fill you up faster?
LG: Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, and dairy. Foods that are nutrient dense fruits and vegetables have a ton of fiber and a high amount of water, this can add bulk to your diet. Lean proteins are also effective, think fish, chicken, eggs, or even nuts can be great for providing satiation. Whole grains, such as popcorn, can be a great snack providing fiber. Dairy also offers fat and protein to help round out any meals/snacks.
Here are some ideas for healthy lunches and dinners
What To Drink
Y: Now that we've covered food, let's look at drinks. Juice cleanses and detox drinks are very common. Do you have an answer for "What should I drink to lose weight?"
LG: Water or lemon water is a great way to stay hydrated throughout the day, staying hydrated keeps your body running at its peak. Flushing out toxins, keeping your skin vibrant, giving you more energy. Replace sugary drinks with water or sparkling water. Coffee and wine are totally acceptable in moderation. However, if you’re looking to lose weight just by changing what you drink… Juice cleanses aren’t the answer, they may make you feel in control mentally, but it’s not necessary. Your body is extremely intuitive and can handle all the cleansing and detoxing on its own. Plus restriction won’t provide long-lasting results, nor should it be a lifestyle that we aim to maintain.
Y: Now it's time to get personal. Since this is your job and, by default, your lifestyle, we have some questions about how you, personally, put your knowledge into practice. As a dietician, how would you go about planning a menu to lose weight if you needed to?
LG: Everyone is going to have a different approach for losing weight, its personal to lifestyle and food choices. I personally would plan my meals around color and taste – leafy greens and other brightly colored fruits and vegetables (peppers, sweet potatoes, etc), lean protein (fish is a great option), whole grains (farro, quinoa, etc.), and dairy. A big issue with menu planning can be variety, but when you plan around seasonal produce being the star of the meal – you constantly have a refresh in new recipes and flavors.
Y: Since it's already your habit to eat well every day, what is your favorite non-processed healthy snack?
LG: Apple slices and almond butter, I never get sick of it and it always keeps me full.
Y: We've all heard the old adage that breakfast is the most important meal, could you tell us your favorite healthy breakfast?
LG: I usually eat Greek yogurt and fruit for my weekday breakfast. It’s well balanced in that it contains protein, fat, and carbs.
Y: Lastly, as a dietician, what does a healthy diet look like to you?
LG: Healthy is going to be different for everyone based on genetics, activity level, food preferences, etc. There’s always going to be some level of balance that could change daily, weekly, or monthly. It’s important to be educated on your food choices and understanding how your body reacts to those choices. Choose foods that are nutrient dense, satisfying, and keep you feeling good – leafy greens, brightly colored fruits, and vegetables, lean proteins, whole grains, and dairy are all going to be part of a healthy diet.
Setting and meeting your eating resolutions is a lot of work, but meal planning is easy with Yummly. There are millions of recipes to choose from to help you get on the right track this year. Whether you're looking for healthy snacks to take to work or you need good ideas for working vegetables into your diet, you can find quick and easy recipes right here.