Re-thinking your New Year’s resolutions

to-do-listThe holiday season brings parties, presents and an endless array of festive foods. Some people adopt a holiday eating or exercise strategy to offset all the snacking and sipping, while others willingly overindulge, planning to start the new year with a clean slate and new diet plan — the popular but usually ineffective “I’ll start tomorrow” strategy.

  • Need some holiday eating tips? Develop a “sugar strategy” to tackle sweets.

For many people, the new year means a new diet in hopes of achieving a healthy weight. January 1 could be renamed Diet Day given how many people wake up thinking about which foods they “can” and “can’t” eat. While some diet strategies can be effective, The Healthy Eating Plate is an easy-to-follow, science-based guide to help you create healthy & balanced meals in the new year.

  • Remember to fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables, and divide the remaining half between healthy whole grains and healthy protein. Add in some good fat (like olive oil), and make sure you drink wisely (skip the sugar-sweetened beverages!) and your 2014 will be full of healthy, flavorful meals.

Aside from what you eat, though, we suggest focusing equally on how you eat. In the new year, in addition to thinking about your nutrition needs, pay the same attention to how you’re eating.

  • Are you sitting down to eat with minimal distractions, and truly enjoying your meals?
  • Are you paying attention to your food, noticing tastes and textures, savoring each bite, chewing it well, and stopping when you’re no longer hungry?
  • Are you allowing yourself to enjoy treats in moderate amounts, realizing that oftentimes you’re satisfied with a few bites instead of an entire dessert?

These are just some ways of becoming a more mindful eater, a topic we’ll soon discuss more in-depth on The Nutrition Source. While eating nutritious foods is a big part of becoming healthier, the other — often overlooked — half of the equation is developing healthy eating habits, and eating more mindfully. In 2014, don’t resolve to follow a diet, resolve to nourish both your body and mind with each meal by slowing down, paying attention, and truly savoring your food.