New Year, New You: Five Tips to Eating Your Best in 2017

The gyms are packed, diet books are flying off the shelves… it must be January!

The New Year brings with it promise of better health habits because it represents an opportunity to turn over a new leaf.

The most popular New Year’s resolutions tend to be nutrition-related and for good reason. Improving your eating habits can make you feel better, look better and be the healthiest you ever!

Skeptics of New Year’s resolutions say they don’t work because people set their sights too high. Take a look at the goals you’ve set for yourself and think about whether they’re realistic, specific and achievable.

Research shows that you’re more likely to be successful when you start with seemingly small changes, such as adding an extra serving of vegetables to your lunch or bringing healthy snacks to work. Once you master a smaller change, you’re ready to add on more small positive changes. This builds your confidence and momentum until before you know it, you’re healthier than ever!

Here are my top 5 healthy eating changes that will help you eat (and feel) your best this year:

  1. Eat More Plant Protein

Research suggests that eating more plant protein is not only linked to being healthier, it may help you live longer! Switching out some red meat in your diet for beans, peas and lentils along with nuts and seeds means you’re getting added benefits such as more fiber and phytochemicals, plant nutrients that fight disease.

Why all the fuss about fiber? Many of us aren’t getting enough, with most people getting only half the fiber they need in a day. Fiber in whole grains, beans, peas and lentils helps you stay full longer to manage your weight, lowering the risk of everything from type 2 diabetes to heart disease and several types of cancer.

Boost your plant protein and fiber intake by adding some natural nut butter such as almond butter to your oats or smoothie bowl at breakfast. Add chia seeds, hemp seeds or ground flax seeds to your yogurt, oatmeal or cereal.

At lunch and dinner, have some Gabriella’s Kitchen High Protein pasta. Half a package has 26 grams of vegetarian protein.

Other quick and easy ways to boost the plant protein in your day include adding hemp and chia seeds to salads, yogurt and cereal and tossing in some cooked beans and lentils with your quinoa, chilli, soup, pasta or roasted vegetables.

  1. Follow the 80 Twenty Rule

Have you tried diets but “fell of the wagon”? The best part about healthy eating is there’s no falling off… all foods can be included in the right amounts.

The 80 Twenty Rule is simple: eat as healthy as possible 80 percent of the time and enjoy less healthy foods 20 percent of the time. It’s that simple. And it works.

Not only does eating this way help you stay sane and eat the foods you love, it can also help you manage your weight!

Having a few high-calorie treats every so often can help you lose weight by boosting your metabolism. Research suggests that eating healthy for several days and then eating what you want for a couple of days can not only boost weightloss, but helps suppress your appetite so you stay on track with eating healthy the rest of the time.

  1. Eat Mindfully

Do you eat most of your meals in front of the TV, computer or otherwise distracted? Chances are, you’re overeating without even realizing it.

Mindful eating is the exact opposite of this. It’s eating without distractions and requires you to pay attention to your food. How does each bite taste? How does it smell? You’ll be amazed at what you’ll learn.

Another fantastic part of eating mindfully is taking the time to ask yourself: “Am I physically hungry, or am I eating for some other reason?” you can help identify your patterns around emotional eating when bored, frustrated or lonely.

Not sure how to get started with mindful eating? Follow along with my mindful eating video.

  1. Crush Cravings

I’m all about making comfort foods healthier so you get a win-win: you’ve crushed your cravings AND gotten some bonus nutrition in. Give yourself a pat on the back!

Craving pasta? Give Gabriella’s Kitchen Superfood Teff pasta a try! It’s non-GMO, naturally gluten-free, and serves up 9 grams of protein and 6 grams of fiber in half a package. Added bonus: about 20% of the fiber in the Teff Pasta is resistant starch which may help you manage your weight.

Craving something sweet? Blend frozen fruit with almond milk for homemade healthy “nice cream”.

Want a salty snack? Have a handful of salted nuts to tide you over.

  1. Spread the Word

Write down your healthy eating goals rather than keeping them in your head. Better yet, tell other people about them. This makes you accountable and more likely to stick with your plan. You don’t want that nosy lady from accounting asking you what happened to your health kick, do you?

If you want to raise the stakes even more, why not put some money where your mouth is? Do a healthy eating competition with friends where you put money in the pot each week… and the winner takes all! Or try an app where you set a goal and pay money if you don’t follow through… or earn money when you do. How’s that for motivation!

Looking for more nutrition tips and healthy recipes? Find more in the Gabriella’s Kitchen blog and check out 80TwentyNutrition.com!