You’ll actually look forward to making these simple changes.
The start of a new year brings the inevitable barrage of “New Year, new you” marketing everywhere. I’ve worked with hundreds of people on their nutrition goals, and I can promise you that the quick fixes and fad diets never work and healthy eating habits don’t happen overnight.
But that doesn’t mean you should throw all your healthy eating ambitions out the window. There are ways to make sustainable nutrition changes that will last through all of 2024 and beyond. In this article, I’m sharing my favorite healthy eating habits that I use with clients that have nothing to do with counting calories or macros and don’t require weekly weigh-ins.
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Eat more healthy fats
It always surprises me that people are still scared of eating fat. While eating too much saturated fat isn’t recommended, including healthy unsaturated fat in the diet is beneficial in many ways. For one, research suggests eating foods with omega-3 increases “good” (HDL) cholesterol and reduces cardiovascular disease risk.
And eating foods that are rich in healthy fats, like walnuts, has been linked to better cognitive function in older adults. Adding more omega-3 rich foods, like nuts, seeds, and avocados to the diet will not only help your heart and your brain, but it will satiate you between meals, which may prevent overeating.
Here are some of my favorite fat-filled recipes:
- Vegan Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Breakfast Cookies
- Cinnamon Roasted Almonds
- Banana Chia Walnut Oat Cups
- Blueberry Maple Walnut Trail Mix
- Strawberries & Cream Chia Seed Pudding
- 3-Ingredient Blueberry Chia Jam
Include plants at every meal
There’s a reason that the plant-based trend is growing in popularity among nutrition professionals—it’s really good for you! The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends vegetarian diets as one of three healthful dietary patterns.
Research links vegetarian diets with reductions in diabetes, cancer and heart disease. And these results aren’t surprising given the abundance of fiber and antioxidants and scarcity of saturated fat in vegetarian eating patterns. To reap the benefits, include some form of fruit, vegetable, bean, legume, whole grain, nut or seed at every meal and snack.
All of our recipes are plant-based– check out the database of vegetarian recipes.
Spread your protein intake throughout the day
Protein is known for its role in muscle building, but it also plays a part in regulating hunger levels throughout the day. As a matter of fact, research suggests that higher protein diets promote weight maintenance. And researchers believe eating 25 to 30 grams of protein at each meal is the sweet spot for positive health outcomes.
Most people eat plenty of protein at larger meals, like lunch or dinner, but they skimp on this macronutrient at breakfast and snacks. A simple way to rectify this common mistake is to include more protein rich ingredients in those meals, such as adding chia seeds or soy milk to your oatmeal or smoothie, or snacking on cottage cheese or edamame in between meals.
Here are some of our favorite protein-rich recipes:
- Lentil Salad with Sun-Dried Tomatoes & Feta
- Potatoes, Greens & Tofu Scramble Breakfast Bowl
- Vegan Tofu Nuggets
- Tempeh Stir-Fry with Broccoli & Hoisin Sauce
- Moroccan Lentil Soup
- Spaghetti with Garlicky Kale Ricotta
The bottom line
These three eating habits are great for your health and have nothing to do with deprivation. As a matter of fact, these tips encourage you to add in more food, rather than take way. To get started, choose one that sounds appealing to you and focus on that practice for one meal a day until it becomes second nature.
Then add in more meals and more habits. Before you know it, you’ll be building a healthy diet that works for you and your lifestyle.