NDSU Extension Service - Ramsey County


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New Eating Habits for a New Year

New Eating Habits for a New Year


            The New Year is always a good time to take a look at our lives, our goals, our accomplishments and our eating habits.  Unfortunately, for many Americans eating habits are nothing to celebrate but instead fall into the category a much needed New Year’s resolution. If you are hoping to initiate healthier eating habits in 2016, following are some ways to jump-start your New Year’s diet resolution.

            Look for lifestyle changes. Focus on a lifestyle change, rather than a quick, less permanent change. This includes avoiding fad diets with ill-fated qualities like promises of a quick fix, little or no physical activity, rigid meal plans, odd amounts of food, or special food combinations that you must order and pre-pay for.

            Aim for Small Goals.  One of the best methods towards a healthy weight and overall healthful lifestyle is, while setting long-term goals, to focus on the short term. If you want to lose 10 pounds, plan to lose one pound every two weeks. Or if your goal is to eat more fruits and vegetables, start by adding one piece of fruit to breakfast and one vegetable to dinner. Smaller goals are easier to achieve,- which makes everyone feel better! - and the results add up over time.

            Check for Stress Eating -Stress eating happens to the best of us and most of the time, we aren’t even hungry!  We just like having something there to snack on whenever we get stressed. Keep healthy snacks such as granola, nuts, cheese sticks, and fruit available and on the go with you. By doing this, you can eat snacks throughout the day and keep yourself from starving, you won’t crave bad food, and you won’t binge-eat.

            Include Water - Water is key to human survival and to a healthier diet. Not only does it remove toxins and flush the system, it also causes one to be full.  A lot of times the body misinterprets thirst for hunger and by keeping well hydrated it will prevent over eating as well as allowing a more full sensation.

            Start with a Smaller Portion -Restaurants and party buffets can get us in trouble when it comes to guessing the correct portion size. This is especially important at a buffet, where you may want to try everything.  Choose the items you want to try the most, and eat a small portion of each.

            Don’t skip meals. Often people think that if they skip meals, they are saving calories. However, skipping meals can actually have negative effects on your health. First, it may increase the likelihood of overeating later in the day. This can lead to consuming more calories than you would have if you had not skipped the meal. In addition, it may also cause you to have less energy and decreased performance. If you are not hungry, try eating mini meals such as cold cereal, low-fat milk and a half banana or graham crackers, peanut butter and apple slices.

            Sleep More -Too little sleep triggers the release of too much of a stress hormone named cortisol.  This stress hormone actually cues your body to hold on to fat.  Too little sleep makes us hungrier and also triggers cravings for sugar, carbohydrates, and caffeine

            Enjoy Every Bite - You’ll enjoy your meals better if you eat slowly.  Also you will eat less because your stomach and brain will have time to realize it is 'full’.  Eating well is one of life’s greatest pleasures. Try eating slowly and enjoy the texture, temperature, taste and aroma of your foods. Eating slowly is also a great way to enjoy family time and conversation at the dinner table.

            Whole Grains are Half – Aim that half of the grain products you consume are whole-grain.  Whole grains contain fiber, which has been linked to reduced risk of chronic diseases. Whole grain bread, pasta and tortillas are easy ways to get in more whole grains. Other great options are oatmeal, breakfast cereals and brown rice. To identify a whole grain, look for the ingredient list to contain words such as whole wheat, brown rice, wild rice, bulger, oatmeal or whole rye.

            Have a healthy, happy start to the New Year with simple lifestyle changes.  

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