For New Year’s resolutions related to losing weight, the first concern is usually how long you can keep that promise. It’s easier if you have some basic concepts in mind that help you develop better habits for grocery shopping, meal preparation, and of course eating. Try these tips for a healthier, diet-smart New Year.
- Grocery shopping is where your diet starts. A good way to fill your cart with healthier choices of fresh and whole foods is to shop produce, refrigerator, and frozen first.
- Spend more time exploring store areas that offer lean proteins, low-fat dairy, and fresh vegetables. It’s a good way to find items you’ve overlooked before.
- Spend less time in, or even avoid, the aisles stocked with soft drinks, snacks, and candy.
- Purchase enough staples and other items you need for cooking. Cooking meals is a reliable way to cut calories, and being prepared means you will be more likely to get busy in the kitchen.
The Staples Sampler
Some great choices to keep around include:
- Beans and lentils, dry or canned
- Tuna, a shelf-stable protein
- Low-sodium pasta sauces and canned soups
- Low-sodium broths and meat or vegetable stocks
- Protein bars and shakes for meal replacements in a pinch
- Whole grains such as wheat pasta, wheat crackers, brown rice
Focus on Variety
- Make half your plate fruits and vegetables. Choose red, orange, and dark green vegetables like tomatoes, sweet potatoes, and broccoli, along with other vegetables for your meals.
- Focus on whole fruits. Find the ones you enjoy most, and make those your go-to snacks. Take the time to sample many types of apples, mandarins, grapes, etc. There’s a good chance you will discover a treat you’ve been missing.
- Make half of your grains whole grains. Explore the cereal section the same way you choose favorite fruits and vegetables.
- Choose low-fat and fat-free milk or yogurt. Think in terms of shopping for a delicious fruit smoothie or protein shake, not just a glass of milk.
- Vary your protein routine. A good way to step up your protein dishes is to find recipes for chicken and pork that greatly differ from the recipes you have been using.
- Your grocer carries fresh seafood because it’s delicious. The good news is that seafood has protein, minerals, and omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy fat).
Cutting Back vs. Cutting Out
- Try not to view your plan as being all about what you can’t have. Think instead of what you can do with new flavors, new recipes and ingredients, and better choices.
- Drinking and eating less sodium, saturated fat, and added sugars isn’t just a matter of ruling out certain items. It’s a process of leveling out and then reducing your total intake.
- Keep a consistent schedule for regular meals and snacks. Don’t go hungry all day to save space for a huge dinner.
- Pay attention to serving size information on the label on the box or bag. That’s a clear signal that you should not eat right out of the container. Instead, remove one serving and place it in a bowl or plate.
Find Your Plan
Research shows that people who make meal planning and preparation a regular routine have success with losing weight and improving their diet. Meal planning also saves money and reduces food waste. Get started with these resources:
- Imagine the convenience of having meal plans, recipes, and grocery shopping already done. How about a handy guide for a 3-day meal plan, or a week’s worth of meal plans that can boost your immune system? For those and other nutrition tips and recipes, visit UAB Nutrition Trends.
- The MyPlate Plan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture shows your food group targets, detailing what and how much to eat within your calorie allowance. Your food plan is personalized based on your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level. https://www.choosemyplate.gov/MyPlatePlan
The best way to keep your weight loss resolutions for the year is to call on the experts. UAB Weight Loss Medicine is a comprehensive program designed to help patients lose weight, keep it off, and improve overall health. A team of dietitians/behavioral counselors, physicians, and psychologists can safely and effectively provide the tools and tactics you need. Call UAB Weight Loss Medicine at 205-934-7053 to make an appointment, or click here to learn more.