2021 is upon us! As much as I am excited about the new year, I am already annoyed with some “health” posts and dieting “advice” circulating around social media. So many people want to lose weight, and that is 100% ok. What’s not ok is misinformation and taking advice from non-qualified people, no matter how skinny they are or convincing they seem. If you want to lose weight or make simple lifestyle changes for better health, please read on for my top nutrition tips as a registered dietitian.
I know this may come as a shock, but I just have to clear up some confusion:
- Dieting doesn’t work. Want proof? Look at the number of repeat dieters. You can’t keep doing the same things year after year and expect it to have different, lasting results.
- Just because something is vegan, gluten free, organic, paleo, or keto does NOT necessarily mean that it is healthy. Use common sense. Vegan cookies are still cookies. If something seems too good to be true, it probably is.
- Actually, be watchful of all claims. “Clean eating,” "Non-GMO," "made with real [name of ingredient],” and “refined sugar free,” really do not mean much. It is marketing fluff.
- Nutritionists and registered dietitians are not the same thing. If you need nutrition tips or advice, talk to a registered dietitian. Unfollow self-proclaimed nutritionists, especially if they are trying to sell you stuff or cause you to have negative feelings. I have a previous post that talks about what it means to be a registered dietitian right here.
- Sustainable weight loss takes time and requires consistency. I know this is not what people want to hear, but you have to make sustainable changes and keep working at your health to lose weight and keep it off long term. It's actually not a bad thing though!
So, where do you begin? For many, it can feel overwhelming to start off with some changes, but it doesn't have to be. I have summarized my best tips below because these are common areas where most people need to make improvements. The good news is that they are all easy to start immediately.
My Top 5 Nutrition Tips for a Healthier 2021
1. Do not go on a fad diet in 2021. You do not need to "jump start" or "detox" anything. Shift your focus to health and sustainable changes.
2. Eat more fruits and veggies (lots of fiber = satiety + healthy gut)! Add them to breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks! The more variety, the better!
3. Drink more water…not coffee, smoothies, juice, diet pop, etc. Tap water, unsweetened sparkling water, or fruit infused water are all ok! If you need a reminder, use a refillable water bottle and keep filling it up.
4. Focus on good, balanced nutrition while allowing room for the foods you love. Don’t forget to live! It's ok to include foods like pizza, ice cream, chips, donuts, cookies, lattes, beer, wine, and more. Be mindful of portions though and opt for nutrient-dense foods the majority of the time.
5. Get moving with physical activity you actually enjoy. For me, this is running; I’m obsessed. You can pick whatever you love, including walking! Physical activity obviously burns calories, but there are countless other benefits especially related to mental health and mood.
Eat Your Veggies
Now, in case you need a little help eating more fruits and veggies, you must buy them! This nutrition tip is key! Try a new veggie you don't buy often or find a new recipe with lots of veggies. So many people say they don’t eat enough fruits and veggies but their biggest problem is they don’t buy them in the first place. How can you eat veggies if you don't keep them stocked at home?
Some of my personal favorites when it comes to veggies are:
- Brussels sprouts
- Bell peppers (all colors)
- Butter Lettuce
- Sugar snap peas
- Sweet potatoes
- Butternut squash
- Spaghetti squash
- Cherry tomatoes
- Avocado (I know, I know, this is technically a fruit)
What are veggies that you love from the above list? Pick out at least 10 and buy them the next time you go grocery shopping. After you go grocery shopping, spend a half hour to an hour cutting up and prepping veggies so they are easy to eat or use in recipes. Make sure you buy your favorite dips or sauces to go alongside them. I really love hummus and sour cream-based dips. Many people say they don’t eat enough veggies because they are too inconvenient or they don't have time. Therefore, I challenge you to make veggies a priority so they are an easy choice.
Let’s not make 2021 any harder than it needs to be, so please try working on these nutrition tips. Achieving great health does not need to be stressful, costly, or leave you feeling deprived. If you have questions, feel free to reach out and send me an email at email@example.com.