New year's resolutions don't need to be grand to be life changing. Small, consistent changes can make the most impact and be realistically achieved. Check these 9 small but impactful resolutions to consider this year.
1. Watch Your Portions
It's not only about what you eat. But it's about how much. An easy way to check your portions is to follow the plate method: fill half your plate with vegetables (non-starchy), a quarter with protein and a quarter with carbs. Instead of jumping to the latest trending diet, try this balanced method.
2. Have ¼ Cup of Nuts or Seeds a Day
Nuts & seeds are great for so many reasons. They're a source of fibre (gut health!), protein, antioxidants and contain healthy fats which may help lower your risk of heart disease. Choose unsalted and dry roasted varieties and careful with portions as the calories add up.
3. Track Your Steps
With lockdowns and working from home, taking more than 500 steps a day can be challenging. It now takes more initiative to be active. Track your steps either through apps or a device. Numbers and targets can be more motivating than you think. Add friends for more support and competition.
4. Count Your Calories for 3 Days
I don't usually recommend calorie counting consistently, but trying it for a few days can give you insight on how many calories you really are consuming - and it can be veeeery eye opening. You may even forget to log some of the snacks you had mindlessly. Once you get an idea of your current intake vs your needs, you can adjust and eat mindfully.
5. Add a Vegetable to Every Meal
If you're not fond of veggies, it's probably because you're having them prepared in a way that you don't like. Or you haven't found your favourite yet. Try grilled eggplant in a sandwich, mushroom philly steak, or mix them into your lasagna.
6. Reduce Added Sugars to Appreciate the Natural Sugars
Frequently consuming sweetened foods can make you adapt to higher and higher sugar intakes. By reducing added sugars, we can appreciate the natural ones present in fruits and milk for example. Opt for water instead of pop, reduce up to ⅓ of the sugar in most baking recipes, and enjoy fruit instead of sugary snacks.
7. Try New Recipes
Try different cuisines or new healthy recipes that are simple to make but include nutritious ingredients. Look for recipes that use healthy cooking methods such as baking, braising, broiling, grilling, steaming, roasting, sauteing or searing with a bit of oil.
8. Careful with the Olive Oil
But isn't olive oil healthy? Of course! This cholesterol-lowering, omega 3 rich oil has great benefits for our health (as do other healthy oils like canola, sunflower, safflower, etc.). However, mindfully using these calorie dense oils can help with maintaining a healthy weight.
9. Eat Out in Moderation
Treat yourself occasionally, keeping portions and healthier options in mind. Takeout is often high in sugars, saturated fat, & sodium and often low in fruits, vegetables, & whole grains. Limit how many times a month you will eat out and stick to it. Gradually lower it and incorporate more home cooked meals. This can help lower your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers (1).
Until next time,
Sadaf Shaikh, RD
*Please be aware that these are general guidelines. Nutrition and intake vary by age, sex, height, activity, being pregnant or breastfeeding, and medical conditions. For more information or to book an nutrition counselling appointment, contact email@example.com or visit www.sadafshaikh.ca.
 Health Canada.(2019, December 04). Limit highly processed foods. Retrieved December 31, 2020, from https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/healthy-eating-recommendations/limit-highly-processed-foods/