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Daniel Santibanez

JD, MPH, RD, LDN, CNSC

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Make One Less Resolution for the New Year

12/31/2015 06:00AM | 5452 views

This time of year so many of us can fall for the “diet trap” – resolving to make extreme and abrupt changes to our diet or exercise routines. But, improving our eating habits and increasing our physical activity doesn’t have to be tied to an arbitrary day such as January 1st or “any Monday”.

In fact, as a RD I’ve learned from my clients the realistic and effective approach is to embrace an over all healthy lifestyle. This means being conscious about our choices and adopting changes slowly over time so that they’re doable, they’re realistic, and, most importantly, they’re on your terms.

So, how do you start? Here are some things to keep in mind and ways to start making small changes now that will make a big difference in 2015 and beyond.

  • Forget Fads. Don’t follow fad diets that dictate what and when to eat, steer clear of diets that eliminate major food groups or micromanage six small meals daily! A healthy diet comes down to variety, moderation, and adequacy. A diet is adequate, or balanced, when you consume enough calories and eat your daily requirement of vitamins and minerals.
  • Increase Variety. Choose fruits and vegetables of all colors for a range of vitamins and minerals our bodies need. Obtain protein from many sources, such as meat, beans, nuts, and seeds. Eat a variety of whole grains and starchy vegetables for energy, protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • Think About Portions. There are tools out there to help you. MyPlate offers a great visual to help you think through how to balance fruits, vegetables, grains and protein at each meal. Also look for portioned-controlled options, to help you stay on track, for example if you like to drink soda Coca-Cola has 7.5 oz. mini cans.
  • Don’t Forget Superfoods. Did you know many superfoods – those rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals – are traditional Hispanic foods? Whether it’s quinoa, black beans, or colorful fruits, vegetables, and herbs – Hispanic cuisine is bursting with flavor and nutrients.

As the year ends, make a resolution to drop the extreme diet mentality. Instead, tune into your eating habits and needs. Make simple changes and be easy on yourself. Realize not every day or every meal will be perfect, if you veer off course aim to reset at your next meal. Focus on overall diet over several days. It’s fine to make a second trip to the dessert bar at your niece’s quinceañera, just don’t make it a daily habit. Don’t wait for January 1st, start today.

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