The desire to make a diet change to get healthier is often the top spot on New Year’s resolution lists. However, by mid-January those ideas have been abandoned only to repeat the cycle the following year. Instead of making major dietary changes that don’t stick you can try to incorporate small swaps for lasting healthy changes. Consider the following as some swaps you can make for a healthier new you.
1. Swap Refined Grains for Whole Grains
According to the US Dietary Guidelines, at least 50% of our total daily intake should be whole grains.* Unlike refined grains, which are stripped of their nutrients during the refining process, whole grains have their bran intact. This means foods such as brown rice, oats, quinoa and bulgur offer a complete package rich in fiber, B vitamins, magnesium and other essential nutrients.*
2. Swap Salt for Herbs and Spices
Even if you don't have high blood pressure, it's still wise to watch your sodium intake. Most people are getting more of the recommended 2,300 mg per day.* Substitute salt with freshly picked herbs and spices. Cooking them into the dish can maintain flavor while keeping the sodium content low. Shop the spice aisle and create your own blends of spices, just make sure they're labeled "free of salt."
3. Swap Processed Meats for Lean Meats
In 2015, the World Health Organization issued a serious warning: eating processed meats like hot dogs, sausage, corned beef, bologna and bacon could cause health issues.* We're not suggesting you need to cut processed meats completely but to cut back on the amount. Instead of processed luncheon meat you could try canned tuna or salmon. Swap corned beef and bologna for turkey or chicken breast without skin.
4. Swap Soda for Flavored Sparkling Water or Seltzer
Most sodas are loaded with high fructose corn syrup and other types of sugars, so it's filled with empty calories. There is no added sugar in sparkling water, and it may contain trace minerals such as magnesium and calcium. Using sugar free flavoring in your water will help keep you from sugar laden drinks without sacrificing taste. You'll be able to enjoy your bubbly beverages without the added sugar.
5. Swap Fast Food for Pre-Made Meals
You can avoid the unhealthy options at the drive-thru by pre-packing meals and snacks when you’re on the go. Hard-boiled eggs, veggie sticks with hummus, or apple slices with peanut butter can keep you satisfied long enough to avoid the drive-thru.
Additionally, when eating out at restaurants ask the vegetables to be steamed rather than fried in butter and seek lean dishes like chicken or fish instead of burgers.
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