With the start of a new year come new goals to help you become the best you can be. Inevitably those goals include making better food choices. These changes can seem overwhelming and unachievable, but even small changes eventually make a big impact. Here are three habits that can help start your journey to good nutrition and a healthier you.
Set Achievable Goals
One of the biggest mistakes people make is setting unrealistic expectations for themselves. Instead of making it a goal to never eat sugar; make a goal to eliminate sugar from your diet for three days each week. This goal is much more attainable and measurable, as you can actually see if the goal was met. Being able to achieve and celebrate small victories along the way will help you reach your ultimate goals.
Preparation is Key
Just as winning a basketball game takes practice and preparation, so does reaching your nutrition goals. If you are unwilling to take the time to plan meals or prepare foods, then chances are you are not going to succeed. Each week, take time to plan your meals and snacks. This will make eating healthy much easier, especially on those long days when you don’t know what’s for dinner and end up in the fast food drive-through line. After your trip to the grocery store, take 30 minutes to cut up fresh fruits and vegetables. Having them sitting in your refrigerator ready to eat will make it easy to grab a healthy snack when you are on the go.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Because our taste buds are always evolving, that food you disliked as a kid might now be one of your favorites. Make it a goal to try one new and nutritious food each week. Things such as quinoa, kale and hummus are delicious and have great health benefits. A quick search on the Internet will find endless recipes to make trying something new simple and tasty.
Creating good nutrition habits today will lead to a lifetime of better health. Good nutrition requires positive thinking, planning and often a sense of adventure. By implementing the three habits above, you are setting yourself up for nutritional success during the new year and beyond.
Recipe: Black Bean and Sweet Corn Quinoa Salad
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
¾ cup uncooked quinoa
1 ½ cups chicken or vegetable broth
1 teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup frozen sweet white corn (ORGANIC)
2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
½ cup cilantro, chopped
1. In a medium pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When simmering and hot, add the onions and sauté for four to five minutes, stirring often. Add the garlic and stir for a minute or two until the garlic is fragrant, being careful not to burn the garlic.
2. Add the quinoa and cover with broth. Stir in cumin, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and let simmer for 20 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Stir in the frozen corn and black beans. Cover and let the pot sit off the heat until the corn and beans are heated through, about five to six minutes. Stir in the cilantro. Serve warm or chilled.
— Recipe courtesy melskitchencafe.com
Taryn Palmer is the YMCA dietitian in Twin Falls.
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source: Taryn Palmer YMCA dietitian