Top 3 Health Tips for 2014

Happy 2014!  I hope everyone is having a wonderful start to the new year and looking forward to all it has to bring. I am excited for a new year. This is the most exciting (and busy) time of year for dietitians. I look forward to the new challenges of helping individuals with their health goals and also working on my own. What are you challenging yourself with this new year? Here are my top 3 health suggestions for the new year:

This picture sums up your overall health in a nutshell. Food first. This has always been my mantra as a dietitian and with my own personal health goals. If the fuel isn't fantastic, there is no way anything else can make up for it. Get back to basics, eat real food!  70% of your grocery cart should be foods with minimal ingredient lists (think 1 to 3 ingredients) and the other 30% should be less than 5 ingredients. The only exception is if you are making something from scratch of real whole food ingredients. The more ingredients the less you really know what you are eating. Simplicity is best.

Portion control and balance. We need to get it together people. We eat wayyyy to much of most foods!  Pay attention to what you're eating more of and stop. I highly doubt you are over-eating on vegetables. Our meals focus on large amounts of carbohydrates and starchy foods (bread, pasta, rice, potatoes, corn) and high-fat foods (meat, cheese, ranch dressing, mayonnaise). This does not a balance make. It is all about balance. When you do not have balance with your meals (veggies, lean protein, whole grains, fruit and dairy) you will body will keep craving food because it is not getting what it needs. So what do we do?  We continue to feed ourselves with the wrong foods, over-eat and never catch up on our nutrients. The size of YOUR fist (not your big brother's or husband's) is a great place to start with portion control and it's so portable, you can use it anywhere!  Once you make it through 2 weeks of adjusting to actual portion control and balance your body will thank you with energy, better sleep and weight loss. 

Take Chia seeds, every day. I get asked numerous times a week about the newest pill that is talked about on television for weight loss. Guess what?  There is no magic pill. It is all about #1 and #2 above. If you find yourself still struggling with increased appetite and cravings, chia seeds are where it's at. Start with 1-2 tablespoons a day and divide it according to the times of the day you notice increased appetite and cravings. I get so very hungry at around 10 am, so I put a tablespoon in my dairy delicious Greek yogurt (extra protein at snack time doesn't hurt) and boom!  Hunger and cravings be gone!  Now this won't be an instant fix, give it about 2-3 weeks to notice a change, but you will notice it, trust me. 

There are many more tips I have upstairs and I will be sharing them with you throughout the month of January to help keep you focused on YOUR health. Make 2014 your year to take care of you and make it permanent!