10 diet resolutions for 2014

  1. NewYearCalendarOn your mark.
  2. Get set!
  3. Diet!

The New Year diet season is straight ahead, so here’s a ready-to-use list of common sense and nutritionally sound diet resolutions for 2014.

  1. Stop dieting!  Yes it’s true, “diet” is a four letter word.  It makes healthy eating and weight management sound temporary, which they are not.  You should be thinking about a lifetime of healthy moderate eating, not a temporary diet, followed by a return to your old poor food habits and weight regain.
  2. Ditch the popular fads: gluten free, Paleo, low carb and any upcoming eating regimens that disparage entire food groups.  If any of those actually worked, would we still have an obesity epidemic?  No.  You may lose weight temporarily, but hardly anyone can stick to these silly diets for very long.  And since they teach you nothing about moderate eating, you go right back to your old habits.
  3. Emphasize vegetables.  I know, the standard guidelines always talk about “fruits and vegetables”, and fruit is wonderful (in season), but vegetables pack more nutritional punch, are generally lower calorie, more filling and can be prepared in lots of different ways.
  4. Stop being afraid of fats.  A modest intake of healthy fats is linked to lower risk for many chronic diseases.  Fats like olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocados and other vegetable oils add flavor, make meals more satisfying and make it easier to stick to a healthy eating plan.   But emphasis on healthy fats.  Loading up on saturated fats from meats and dairy doesn’t have the same benefits.
  5. Cut back on sweetened foods, whether sweetened with sugar, honey, high fructose corn syrup, agave or any artificial sweetener.  Excess sweetness in foods ruins your appreciation of the subtle flavors of natural foods.
  6. Eat less meat.  This isn’t just a personal health issue, it’s an environmental issue.  Livestock agriculture places enormous energy, water and resource demands on the planet.  Plus if your meal is overloaded on meat, there is less room on the plate for healthy plant foods.  Does this mean giving up meat?  No, just serve smaller portions or eat meat less frequently.
  7. Enjoy foods in small portions, even rich desserts or tempting treats.  But, if you can’t stick to a small portion or certain foods (chips come to mind), then avoid them.
  8. Ditch the Good-Bad food lists.  This kind of thinking just sets you up to crave certain things.  Pay no attention to celebrity Good-Bad food lists.  Celebrities aren’t known for nutrition expertise.
  9. Move more.  Exercise isn’t limited to an hour in the gym, wearing special gym clothes.  Walking to work or school is exercise.  Climbing stairs is exercise.
  10. Don’t make every occasion about food or drinking.  Putting out the same old chips or drinks or doughnuts for a social gathering or book club or meeting or social event just encourages overeating.  It’s not necessary.

There you have it, a ready-to-use list that can improve your health and nutritional profile in 2014.


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