New Years Resolutions!

As we begin a New Year, what are your goals for this year and how many New Year’s resolutions have you made? Each New Year allows a fresh start for those trying to make changes in their life, or just to live a healthier lifestyle. A large portion of the population will include modifications to their diet in their New Year’s resolutions. Many struggle to continue their new diet throughout the year, and will often fall back into old habits. A new diet does not have to be hard, or completely change the way you eat. Those who make vast changes to their diet often find it harder to fulfill. Changing the way you eat can have significant impacts on your health and well-being. This article will touch on just a few changes you can make to your everyday diet to improve your health.

Let’s begin with fats. Healthy fats are essential to your health, and many are not aware of benefits of making healthy choices. Fats are macronutrients needed for energy.  There are four different fats:  saturated, monounsaturated, trans, and polyunsaturated.  Decreases to trans-fats and saturated fats in your diet can have an impact on your health. Trans-fats will often be known as “partially hydrogenated oils” on food labels. Trans-fat is frequently found in fried foods, processed snacks, and baked goods. This type of fat should be avoided. This can be accomplished by substituting polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats can be found in “certain oils, nuts, and seeds.” Another type of fat is saturated fats.  A few examples of where saturated fats are found is dairy products, certain cuts of meat, and manufactured/packaged foods. Saturated fats are often referred to as solid fats, because they will usually remain solid at room temperature. You should try to replace saturated fats with unsaturated fats.  Unsaturated fats are split into two types, monounsaturated fats, and polyunsaturated fats. Unsaturated fats are found in many oils or plant based foods.  Since you do need fat in your diet, focus on getting most of the fat from healthy sources.

It is also important to avoid ultra-processed foods, which include microwavable meals, instant noodles, breakfast cereals, candies, and many others. Processing food is when a change is made to make it ready for us to eat. It is important to remember some foods may go through a process that doesn’t necessarily make them unhealthy. When food is processed, there may be up to three stages of preparation. The first stage, or primary processing, is an action to ensure the food is edible.  A simple example could be harvesting grain. The second step is when foods are cooked, frozen, canned, etc. Following this stage, some foods are still considered healthy. It is the third stage of processing where manufacturers inject flavors, add sugars or chemical preservatives that qualifies food as ultra-processed, and potentially unhealthy.

Lastly, you should also focus on the presence of whole ingredients in your diet. Whole ingredients have not been processed, although there are foods still considered to be whole ingredients after the first stage of processing. Ensuring a healthy amount of meat, vegetables, fruits, whole grains, etc., and at the same time minimizing ultra-processed foods is major component of a healthy diet. Cooking with whole ingredients, and minimizing restaurant meals will not only aid your health but also your wallet.

Overall, these three modifications are a good place to start your New Years healthy diet. This lifestyle could help you feel better, and could also increase your energy levels. Modifications to your diet such as the ones mentioned above will increase your ability to live a longer, and healthier life.