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15 Ways to Improve Your Nutrition for 2015

January 5, 2015

The New Year is upon us and what better time than to reconsider your nutritional goals? Often times, we see people starting "diets," joining gyms, or purchasing weight-loss pills. Of course, the healthier way is to start a new lifestyle, one that welcomes in nutritious food, makes you feel better and gives you the energy you need to sustain overall health and wellness. Here are 15 easy tips to help you do just that:

1. Balance it Out - make sure to include all food groups (protein, starch, fruit/vegetable)

2. Plan Ahead - prepare meals ahead of time for days you won’t want to cook and will choose to dine out instead

3. Be Mindful - Your office brings in donuts after you already had breakfast. Do you need it? Or want it? How will this food serve you? Will it benefit you in any way?

4. With that said, Enjoy - Have a slice (or two) of pizza every now and then. Have your cake and eat it too. Just don’t make it a habit - less than twice a week.

5. Bring a Friend - having someone by your side can help you stick to your goals much easier

6. Move - join a gym (and continue going), practice yoga, go running, whatever you like that gets your heart pumping!

7. Snacks are OK - Having a snack when you are hungry is a great way to increase your metabolism and provide you with healthy energy. Choose foods such as rice cakes, fruit, yogurt, nuts, or raw vegetables with your favorite dip such as hummus or ranch dressing!

8. Drink Up - water is by far the best beverage to drink. Sure, you’ve likely heard this before… but have you listened? Do you drink at least 2 liters a day? Get on it.

9. Read - The Nutrition Facts label tells you a lot about a food product. The "ads" on the front of packaging (‘Low Fat!,’ ‘Rich in Fiber!’) are just buzz words. The back will tell you how much fat, fiber, etc. is in a product, including additional ingredients that may not belong.

10. Buy Real Food - go grocery shopping! Keep to the perimeter (where all the major food groups are) and buy mostly fresh fruits and vegetables, protein (meat, tofu, etc.), dairy, and bread.

11. Cook Real Food - it is so easy to pop something into the microwave that is prepackaged and "low fat." Well, those "low fat" meals might be contributing more than just convenience. Find easy recipes (like those HERE) to help you cook healthfully for you and yours!

12. Know your Tummy - so many people have gastrointestinal issues and don’t think to report them to a professional… bowel movements every other day, frequent bloating and gas, nausea, just to name a few. Just because it may be normal for you does not mean that it is normal to experience these symptoms.

13. Anecdotes are just Stories - We all know someone who has been on a fad diet (and it worked) or a "hot" nutrition supplement (and got the results they were looking for). Just because it worked for one person, doesn’t mean it will work for you, so its best to follow tried-and-true research based advice!

14. Supplements are Not Substitutes - Multivitamins are not a substitute for good nutrition - so if you take them, keep adhering to general nutrition guidelines. If you are concerned about a specific nutrient (omega 3, vitamin D, etc.) then by all means supplement your diet under the guidance of a physician and/or dietitian.

15. See a Dietitian - find a dietitian near you or just ask a question. Have a nutrition expert at your fingertips to guide you along the right path!

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