Taking "Diet" Off Your List in 2016

It’s a New Year and for many people that means a list of resolutions to accomplish during the next 366 days (2016 is a leap year so you get an extra day to meet your goal this year- yay!).  I propose that you don’t put the word ‘diet’ on your list and instead, create goals that lead to greater wellness.  Think positive with a focus on adding in amazing, good-for-you things that will mean less room for the ‘bad guys’ of the food world.  Good health will follow!


Here are my top 5 things to add to your 2016 New Year’s Goals list:


1.   EAT SEASONALY, LOCALLY, FRESH – The easiest way to greater health is to eat by these three guidewords.  This might mean a lot more plants that you currently eat, but your body will be better off for it.  Food that is grown locally is fresher, supports local farmers and reduces the carbon footprint on our environment.  Need a good place to start? Look for a farmers market in your area or sign up for a local CSA box (Community Supported Agriculture) that delivers fresh, organic produce from farmers near you… not shipped in from a foreign country.  I use Farm Fresh to You . They deliver organic fruits and vegetables and you can customize your box contents and your delivery frequency. You might even get exposed to some new produce you may not normally buy… that’s how I learned to love delicata squash.  Use this code (carl6213) and get $10 off your first box.


2.   PACK A SNACK – “Hunger Emergencies” are one of the biggest pitfalls to healthier eating.  We reach out for the nearest thing to put in our mouths to chase the “hunger bear” and most of the time it’s not even close to healthy.  What to pack? Make your own trail mix (cashews, sunflower seeds, almonds, goji berries, cacao nibs, walnuts), keep a piece of fruit with you (tangerines and apples travel well) or keep a better-for-you bar from Vega , Aloha or Perfect Bars in your purse or car to help you say no to the drive-thru or donuts.     


3.   LEARN TO COOK – I’m always amazed how many people don’t feel comfortable in the kitchen and so they buy premade meals or eat out often.  Cooking your own meals is not only better for you, it will save you money, too. Sur La Table and Williams Sonoma both offer cooking classes, but many local community centers and even some restaurants offer lessons as well.  And if you just can’t find time (or money) to sign up for a class, then look to You Tube for some inspiration. 


4.   MAKE SLEEP A PRIORITY – This one probably isn’t a surprise, but getting a minimum of 7 hours (all in a row!) of sleep each night helps with stress, builds your immune system (aka helping fight colds) and helps control weight.  See my earlier post to learn more about the amazing benefits of sleep.  


5.   HALF YOUR PLATE WITH PLANTS – when you fill your plate at your next meal make this your goal. The more dark greens, the better.  Our country is deficient in vegetables (and fruit). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention did an analysis that showed only 13.1% of adults eat enough fruit and only 8.9% eat enough vegetables.  Want to improve your health dramatically this year? Then make plants a priority when you eat.   

Add one more if you’re feeling really bold this year… 

6.  BREAK UP WITH SUGAR – in every form. From sweetened beverages and foods from refined white flours to over-sweetened yogurts and salad dressings, sugar is hiding everywhere.  There are over 50 different names for sugar on food labels.  Get to know them and then stay away.  This kind of break-up will help you lose weight and improve heart health. It’s not easy, but it has a great impact.  

These are just a few ideas for wellness goals… what is on your list?

Wishing you a happy, healthy 2016!