By: Kristi Goode
What’s your plan for the New Year? A new year represents a fresh start for many people. It's the time of year when they look back on the previous 365 days and consider how they can improve moving forward. Many people realize they need to do a better job of taking care of their health because of this introspection. They discover the need to eat less sweets after overindulging for the past month or two, or they need to lose weight, after the holidays. Many will also be thinking about strengthening their immune systems in the new year. Eating healthy doesn't mean spending your whole life in the kitchen. Learning to batch cook proteins, use a slow cooker, and prepping breakfasts ahead for busy mornings, can help you to eat nutrient dense delicious food in less time than it takes to order takeout. Weeknight dinners can be quick, and leftovers can be repurposed for simple and delicious lunches. Implementing these tricks will teach you healthy eating habits that will last a lifetime. Sugar A few ways to bust those sugar and refined carb cravings is to eat more real, whole foods! Real food that is cultivated in the ground or on trees, or that grazes on grass, in general, has all the nutrients to keep you full. Low-calorie foods do not satisfy your hunger. And a few tips to combat hunger include eating high-quality protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. You're not actually filling yourself up when you skip meals or graze on low-fat snacks, so you're continually on the lookout for snacks. Sitting down to a proper dinner consisting of a nice balance of genuine meals can fill you up and prevent you from feeling always hungry. Fiber Including a lot of fiber in your diet can keep you feeling full and your digestion on track. Fiber has several health benefits, including improved digestion, blood pressure control, and weight loss. Fruits, veggies, lentils, and whole grains are good sources of fiber. Soluble fiber from oats, apples, and cruciferous vegetables, has been demonstrated to improve glycemic management and reduce blood cholesterol. Blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries are full of fiber and antioxidants. Immune System Your first line of defense is to choose a healthy lifestyle. Natural ways to keep your immune system working properly is by implementing healthy-living strategies such as eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables, regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight, drinking alcohol in moderation, adequate sleep, wash your hands, and minimize stress. These are just a few healthy living strategies to start implementing. The immune system can be supported by including a wide range of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants to help it function better. Vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, zinc, and selenium are all important nutrients. Protein also assists immune function. Not only is Vitamin D important for bone health, it also helps your immune system fight off bacteria and viruses. So now that you have a few ideas for how to start the new year on the right foot… what is your plan?