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In the blink of an eye, the holidays are behind us. This year more than ever before, health has been the highest priority. If you are looking for ways you can eat healthy this year, you are in the right place! While I don’t believe there is ever a “right” time to start working towards a new goal (especially when it comes to health), the new year is undoubtedly the perfect time to start fresh and set new goals!
What we eat, drink, and consume plays an important role in our overall health. After all, we are what we eat. So, how can we shift our eating and lifestyle habits to support a healthy body? There are endless ways to do so- most of which you can start today and get a jumpstart before January 1st sets in!
BENEFITS OF GOAL SETTING
Have you ever been to the gym at the start of the new year? If so, you know it’s the busiest time of the year! In fact, you’ll be lucky to find a working machine or matching pair of dumbbells to use. However, as the months move on, the gym crowd slowly starts to return to normal. Why is this? Thanks to nothing more than infamous New Year’s resolutions!
Instead of planning a New Year’s resolution this year, I encourage you to intentionally set one or two goals for yourself. By using S.M.A.R.T. goal setting (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely), you can strategically layout your goals for the new year. By utilizing S.M.A.R.T. goals, you will be able to keep yourself accountable without the overwhelm. More so, you’re more likely to see progress and success, than without it. As a result, confidence soars and motivation skyrockets. Doesn’t this sound like something we all need in 2021?
After helping men and women crush their health goals for over a decade, I can confidently tell you making resolutions around your health is a waste of time. Sorry, I said it. I am here to bring you truth and honesty, so hear me out!
This year, I challenge you to create healthy habits that build over time. I encourage you to focus on small sustainable goals rather than big resolutions.
Why is it that New Year’s resolutions never seem to stick?
I believe this is because of our tendency to focus on the big goal rather than the process in getting there.
To successfully and consistently eat healthier, try building a few small healthy habits at a time. I suggest picking ONE of these habits from the list below each month, and getting consistent with that before moving to a new habit. After a few weeks of doing something regularly, it becomes part of your routine and sets you up for success in the long run.
New Year’s resolutions so often fail because they’re not sustainable and realistic. We go all in for a short amount of time, only to feel defeated by the time Valentine’s day rolls around.
There is no instant gratification when it comes to your health. But trust me, the work is so worth it. You’ve got this!
21 WAYS TO EAT HEALTHIER
There are countless ways to transition into healthy eating habits, but these tips are at the top of my list. I put together a list of the 21 most effective sustainable lifestyle changes I made in my own life that you can implement in the New Year. The key is to form habits over time so those big goals don’t feel so far-fetched anymore! No matter your health goal this year, these 21 ways to eat healthy are sure to help you wherever you are along your health journey!
When a meal is in liquid form, such as a smoothie or soup, it’s easy on the digestive system. This allows your body to absorb all the nutrients it needs while providing gastrointestinal rest. Just like our body, our digestive system likes to rest and take some breaks throughout the day.
Next level tip: Start your day with a balanced smoothie or enjoy a blended soup for dinner.
Blueberry Pie Breakfast Smoothie
Planning what you’re going to eat ahead of time is a recipe for success. If you figure out your meal on the fly, you are more likely to choose something that is more like a snack or isn’t balanced well leading to blood sugar and macronutrient imbalances. This is why I created the Monthly Meal Subscription- to help you tackle the confusion and difficulty of meal prep. With this one-of-a-kind subscription, you no longer have to guess what’s “healthy.” It’s all laid out for you!
Next level tip: read more about the Monthly Meal Plan Subscription, here. There’s never a better time to get started
As often as possible, eat organic fruits and vegetables. It really does make a difference for your health. This will limit your exposure to toxic pesticides, GMO’s, and herbicides. When in doubt, refer to the EWG’s Dirty Dozen list, which outlines the fruits and veggies with the most residual toxins after washing. Always get these items organic.
Next level tip: To learn more about the effects of dietary toxins and how to transition to an organic diet, read “A Nutritionist’s Guide to GMO’s.”
Wild-caught salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids and high quality protein. Most of us have increased levels of omega-6 and omega-9 fatty acids, which can result in a ratio that increases overall inflammation in the body. The protein and essential fatty acids found in salmon is necessary to reduce inflammation in the body and therefore improve many inflammatory conditions. Wild-caught salmon is one of my favorite superfoods!
Next level tip: Not all salmon is created equal! Make sure you are choosing a high quality brand that is sustainably harvested or wild-caught. The best online delivery options for wild salmon and seafood are Sizzlefish and Vital Choice.
Every meal and snack should always contain each of the three macronutrients: protein, carbs, and fat. Let’s not overcomplicate this. Too many individuals are keeping out these key food groups and it just leads to more imbalances and deficiencies. Although going low carb might help you feel great in the short-term, it usually leads to many imbalances that are difficult to reverse. Unfortunately I see this set many individuals back when it comes to their health.
Next level tip: Never skip a macronutrient. This will help regulate your blood sugar, boost your metabolism, and keep you satisfied for hours. For the average person, aim for 5-6oz of protein, 2 servings of carbohydrates (typically 25-35g), and 1-2 servings (2 tbsp) of healthy fats.
Once you’ve nailed down balanced meals, work on increasing your consumption of healthy fatty acids, like avocado, coconut oil, olive oil, ghee, raw nuts and seeds, and grass-fed meat. Consuming adequate fat promotes satiety, healthy hormones and gut function, weight management, and consistent energy levels. You NEED fat to burn fat because fat regulates your internal thermostat. Let the fat fears go in 2021!
Next level tip: Most individuals do well with 2-3 servings of fat at each meal. One serving of fat looks like 8 olives, 1 tablespoon of oil or grass-fed butter, ¼ cup full-fat coconut milk, ¼ cup nuts or seeds, .5oz dark chocolate (85%+), or 1 tablespoon nut or seed butter.
Unfortunately, most restaurants typically use inflammatory oils, fats, chemicals, and preservatives in their food preparation. Unlike restaurant food, you know exactly what is going into your food at home. So, you can rest easy knowing your meals are nutrient-dense, anti-inflammatory, and all-around healthy for you and your family when you are preparing them yourself. This will also help you save on your dining out budget too next year!
Next level tip: Aim to meal plan and meal prep (see #2 above) during the week Monday through Friday. Save dining out or healthy take out for the weekends, such as Friday movie night in and Saturday date night out.
Conventional dairy is highly inflammatory, which negatively impacts your gut lining and its function. Limit your dairy consumption all together next year, especially if you are looking to improve your gut and autoimmune health. And, when you do eat dairy, opt for raw options. Once you heal your gut, high quality dairy can definitely be part of your diet and many individuals are able to bring it back in a way that actually serves them and provides a healthy fat source for the body.
Next level tip: While healing your gut and reversing autoimmunity, give nut and seed milk yogurts, ice cream, cheeses, creamers, and other milk/dairy alternatives a try.
Fiber is essential for healthy digestion and regular bowel movements. Too little fiber can leave you constipated, allowing toxins to be re-absorbed into your bloodstream. Healthy sources of fiber include: gluten free oatmeal, leafy green vegetables, organic apples, seasonal squash, avocado, flaxseed, hemp seeds and more.
Next level tip: If you increase your fiber, you also have to increase your water consumption. Adequate hydration is what binds to fiber and moves everything along. This is key to removing the waste and toxins from the body.
Ideally, you should chew each bite of food 15-20 times. This process prepares the digestive system and begins to break down food, so that your body can absorb the nutrients. When we chew too quickly or not enough, the digestive system can’t digest well, leaving you bloated, gassy, and likely, in pain.
Next level tip: Sit down to eat your meals and schedule a break. In a society where we are always on the go and in a rush, this can impact how we digest and feel after eating. Schedule 30 minutes for your lunch break in 2021.
Starting your day with a cup of coffee (or tea) just got better! By adding a scoop of high quality hydrolyzed collagen peptides to your morning drink of choice, you’ll naturally boost the health of your skin, hair, nails, joints, and more!
When it comes to health, filtered water is non-negotiable. Avoid the frequent consumption of sweet teas, soft drinks, and juice. Instead, drink at least half your body weight in ounces every day. The body needs water more than anything else.
Next level tip: One of the best places to start and improve your health is actually with leveling up your quality of water. I recommend a Berkey water filter that removes the contaminants and heavy metals found in tap water.
Today, most people don’t eat enough protein in their diet. This is one of the causes of fatigue I see in many clients. You should aim to consume your body weight in grams of protein per day, when working out regularly. If not, shoot for .8g per pound of body weight. Eating enough protein increases satiety, energy levels, and muscle mass.
Next level tip: Choose quality proteins, such as wild caught salmon and sardines, grass-fed beef and liver, pasture-raised chicken and eggs, and sustainable seafood. I highly recommend ButcherBox for quality meat and chicken. New members get free bacon for life right now, too!
Being a creature of habit is common. As often as possible, enjoy the foods of the season. Seasonal food increases the variety of nutrients your body gets, while treating your taste buds to different flavors. It also provides more soil-based probiotics when you are eating local produce that’s in season and prevents developing new food sensitivities while you are healing your gut.
Next level tip: Get to know your local farmer! Most farms have a variety of fruits and vegetables that are in season and most of the time practice organic farming, too! Each new week, stock up on a new fruit and veggie. This way you are constantly rotating your options. You might even discover new foods you love!
When you eat is just as important as what you eat. To regulate your blood sugar and support a healthy metabolism, eat every 3-4 hours. Eating more frequently doesn’t give your digestive system adequate time to rest, while waiting longer than 4 hours can cause a dip in blood sugar.
Next level tip: Aim for a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then add in a small balanced snack mid-afternoon. This might look like some bone broth, dark chocolate, smoothie, or mini meal.
Superfoods include: acai, beetroot, matcha, moringa, maca, cacao, avocado, and more. These nutrient-dense foods improve HDL and lipid profile, provide potent antioxidants, improve gut health, support autoimmunity, and increase energy levels.
Next level tip: Add these superfoods to your smoothies. This is one way to ensure you are getting them in daily. This will also enhance the taste of your smoothie, too!
Make a conscious effort to swap the sugar in your coffee. Prepare your coffee at home and skip the Starbucks flavored lattes. Train yourself to enjoy coffee with full fat heavy cream or dairy free nut based creamers. If you need a little touch of sweetness, opt for natural sugar instead
Next level tip: Check out my list of the 5 best natural sugars.
In addition to drinking water, eating foods with high water content can help keep you hydrated throughout the day, while also providing your body with electrolytes. Water-rich foods include: celery, cucumber, watermelon, jicama, berries, and pineapple.
Next level tip: The easiest way to add water-rich foods to your diet is to enjoy a smoothie for breakfast. Are you catching the smoothie trend yet?
Salads are typically nutrient-dense and include a healthy range of different fruits and vegetables. However, most store bought salad dressings are packed with sugar, inflammatory oils, binders, fillers, preservatives, and unhealthy flavorings. Alternatively, make your own simple salad dressing using olive oil, fresh lemon juice, and vinegar.
Next level tip: If making your own sounds too time consuming, check out my favorite Primal Kitchen dressings. You can find them in your local supermarket or online. I get mine (and all my other online groceries) from Thrive Market because I save on these!
Yep, that’s right! Dark chocolate that contains at least 85% cacao is rich in antioxidants and polyphenols. This nutritious and natural sweet treat can help curb sugar cravings and satisfy any sweet tooth! Believe it or not, the polyphenols in dark chocolate are helpful for the gut and waistline, too. Consuming dark chocolate can even promote healthy blood flow, improve gut flora, and boost brain function. It’s also a natural source of fiber and iron
Next level tip: My favorite dark chocolate brands include Alter Eco, Hu, and Taza. Just ½-1 ounce per day is all you need to reap the benefits of dark chocolate.
If you find that you are having trouble sleeping, adding a simple healthy dessert 30 minutes before bedtime can help you fall asleep and stay asleep throughout the night. It also helps stabilize blood sugar in women who have insulin resistance, hormone imbalances, and difficulty losing weight.
Next level tip: Aim for a carb and fat snack if you choose to add in a small essert, such as a baked apple with almond butter, fried plantain with coconut oil, or a few spoonfuls of coconut milk yogurt with berries.
There you have it, 21 ways to eat healthier in the new year! If you’re serious about pursuing optimal health in 2021, I always recommend starting by healing your gut. You know what they say: health starts in the gut!
Feel free to download my free Gut Health Starter Kit to learn 3 daily habits to transform your health, including the best foods to eat for a healthy gut microbiome. It also shares three simple, easy, gut healthy recipes!
I would love to help you take your health to the next level in the new year. In fact, I’m now enrolling new clients for 2021! Learn more about my programs and services, here. Until then, wishing you a safe and healthy holiday season and New Year!
What tips are you going to implement next year to eat healthier?
"When it comes to balancing our body, healing the gut, reversing autoimmunity, and achieving optimal health—we are a lot like a car that won’t run right. In order to fix the problem once and for all instead of relying on jumper cables, we must get underneath the hood, run the diagnostics, and replace the battery so that it runs good as new."
-Nikki Yelton, RD
If you are ready to stop wasting precious time, get off the never-ending hamster wheel, and finally surrender trying to figure things out on your own—this is your moment.
You don’t have to settle for just getting by and hoping tomorrow is a better day. We both know you are a woman who deserves better and are made for so. much. more.