By Mia Syn, MS, RD
Many of us set health-related resolutions at the beginning of the year, yet an estimated 42.4% fail to follow through in the long-term. The key to making those healthy resolutions stick is to make realistic changes that will translate into a lifestyle. Nutrition expert Mia Syn discusses some simple food and beverage swaps that will make 2017 a little more nutritious and help you attain those goals, without feeling deprived.
Eat This: Bean Pastas
Not That: Standard Pasta
The pasta we grew up with and saw lining the shelves of our local grocery store were standard pastas made with refined flour. During the refining process, the nutritious parts of the whole grain containing the fiber, vitamins and minerals, were removed, leaving the starchy portion, which makes standard pasta high in carbohydrates and low on the nutrition scale. Bean pastas are becoming more readily available to us including ones made with edamame, lentils and chickpeas. These are inherently rich in fiber, protein and iron unlike their standard counterpart.
Eat This: Seaweed Snacks
Not That: Potato Chips
Sea vegetables have a nutritional profile that is unmatched by land plants. They boast a cocktail of nutrients that are readily absorbed by the body including vitamin C, calcium and coveted B12, which is primarily found in animal products. Seaweed snacks are becoming more mainstream. Not only do they have the crunch and savory taste that we crave in a chip, they are naturally low in calories and are loaded with nutritional value unlike potato chips.
Drink This: Bai
Not That: Soda
This may be the year to give up the sweet stuff once and for all. Diet or regular, all soda is shown to be bad for not only our waistlines, but our bones and teeth as well. Soda drinkers can rejoice in the fact that healthier options are available that still contain that sweetness and carbonation that we crave. Bai Bubbles are low in calories, antioxidant-infused and sweetened by nature with erythritol and stevia leaf extract.
Eat This: Homemade Salad Dressing
Not That: Low-Fat Salad Dressing
Don’t be fooled by low-fat salad dressings marketed as healthy options in the grocery store. These dressings may boast lower fat than ranch or buttermilk options, but it is likely that sugar has been put in its place. When it comes to salads, healthy fat is important because it is needed to absorb fat-soluble vitamins contained in veggies including vitamins A and K. Instead of opting for store-bought dressings, stick to healthy oils like olive, flaxseed or walnut, paired with a little balsamic.
Eat This: Whole Eggs
Not That: Egg Whites
Egg white omelets are out and whole egg omelets are in. Whole eggs not only boast quality protein that will curb your appetite until your next meal and repair your muscles after a tough workout, they are rich in bioavailable vitamins and minerals that are easily absorbed by the body. These vitamins include biotin, B12, and vitamin D. Egg whites are a pure protein source and are often touted for weight loss. However, despite containing quality protein, it offers little to no other nutritive benefit.
Eat This: Fermented Veggies
Not That: Raw Veggies
Veggies are good to eat in ANY shape or form but fermenting adds just a little bit more on the health front! The process of fermenting turns veggies into probiotic powerhouses brimming with live beneficial bacteria that aid nutrient absorption and support metabolism. In turn, this helps create a healthier gut flora in our body, which is associated with enhanced immunity, better body composition and mental clarity. Think sauerkraut, pickles and kimchi if you are perusing the grocery store and if you are feeling adventurous in the kitchen, try fermenting your own.