Robin's Healthy Take: New Year, New Pantry
Does the “New Year, New You” theme ever get old? Apparently not. Let’s face it, we all want to start a new year off right, so we resolve to eat better, exercise more, be nicer, take more vacations, whatever. There are an infinite number of resolutions out there, but as a nutritionist, the resounding one I hear every year is the same: “How can I eat better?” Here are my straightforward, easy-to-follow tips and healthy pantry essentials.
The trick to eating better? Don't try to change too much. Instead, make small changes and take baby steps in the beginning. I like to tell people to only change what you’re willing to still be doing 20 years from now. That means if you think you’ll be able to dodge cookies, chocolate and ice cream for 20 years, by all means, take them off your menu. But let’s be realistic. By January 10th, you’ll want a cookie so bad you’ll do anything for it -- and then you’ll eat 12. Don’t get there. Pre-load your fridge and pantry which a variety of delicious and nutritious foods, and those healthy options will lead to healthy choices! Here’s my go-to list:
Nuts: Almonds, peanuts, walnuts and pecans make excellent snacks and keeps you satisfied for hours. A sprinkling of nuts over your morning cereal or evening salad will add protein and keep you fuller, longer. Or, eat a handful (not more) for a between-meal snack.
Dried Fruit: Try apricots, mango, papaya, raisins, dried plums – they’re all terrific sources of fiber and very filling. Just keep portions to about 1/4 cup.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables: Full of vitamins and minerals and the fiber (and water) will keep you going between meals.
Strong Cheeses: Intensely-flavored cheeses like feta, goat cheese, sharp cheddar, fresh Parmesan, smoked mozzarella and smoked Gouda quickly satisfy you and because of the strength of their flavors, you’ll likely eat less.
Whole Grains: The fiber in whole-grain breads, whole-wheat pasta and couscous, brown rice, quinoa and whole grain cereals keeps your energy up, your blood sugar steady and staves off hunger pangs.
Beans and Lentils: Same as above – just try being hungry after a warm bowl of lentil soup!
Once you've stocked the basics, consider these flavor-packed additions. I keep these ingredients on hand to make healthy, satisfying meals in a flash:
- Oil-Packed Sun-Dried Tomatoes
- Basil Pesto
- Olives and Olive Tapenade
- Nut Butters
- Jarred Roasted Red Peppers
- Sesame Oil
- Roasted Garlic
Robin Miller is a nutritionist, host of Quick Fix Meals, author of “Robin Rescues Dinner” and the busy mom of two active little boys. Her boys and great food are her passion. Check her out at www.robinrescuesdinner.com.