When the calendar pages flip to a new year, many of of us feel motivated to wipe the slate clean and re-focus on our health. As you contemplate what changes to make, forget quick fixes and fad diets and take it back to the basics to create a long-term, balanced habits.
Hydration. Focus on drinking half your ideal body weight (in ounces) of water per day. For example, if you’re ideal body weight is 140 pounds, aim to drink 70 oz of water each day. Why? Proper hydration is key for maintaining energy levels, regulating appetites, flushing toxins, and more. Being even slightly dehydrated can temporarily decrease your metabolism.
Tip: Have a hard time with plain water? Try flavored seltzer water, herbal tea, or create your own fruit and water infusion (my favorite is cucumber and lime!).
Fiber. While not always a sexy topic, next to water, fiber is one of the most important things to focus on for your health. Adequate fiber intake (at least 25 g/day) is critical for regulating hunger, blood sugar levels, cholesterol markers, fat metabolism, and bowel movements. Six to eight servings (½ cup cooked, 1 cup raw) of non-starchy vegetables a day will help you get you to your target. Note that rapidly increasing your fiber intake can cause intestinal distress so start slow. Add 5g to your daily intake for one week and then increase another 5g the following week until you are at 25g/day. Be sure you are drinking plenty of water as you increase your fiber intake.
Tip: Looking for an easy way to consistently get your 6-8 servings of vegetables a day? Subscribe to a CSA Program. You’ll get a fresh box of seasonal produce each week! Real Food. If your food swam in an ocean or lake, walked in wide open pasture on two or four legs, grew on a bush or tree, or was plucked from the ground, most likely it is “real food.” If it came out of box and has a list of ingredients you can’t pronounce, most likely it is highly processed. Challenge yourself to ditch the processed food for 1-2 weeks (or more!). Focus especially on eliminating sources of added sugar and processed starches. This is a great way to jumpstart a healthier habits and you’ll notice an immediate difference in how you feel.
Tip: Plenty of local, real food can be found this time of year. Find a year-round farmers market to stock up.
Bonus tip: For guidance on where to start, or help developing a more sustainable, long-term food plan, reach out to Kelly Wilson (a Registered Dietitian and our SE MI Local Food Coordinator) at [email protected] .
Kelly Wilson, RDN is a registered dietitian, farmer, and the SE Michigan Local Food Coordinator for TLD. She is passionate about partnering with everyBODY to find the nutrition plan that meets their personalized goals and lifestyle needs. Contact here at [email protected] for a complimentary consultation.