“Nutrition Newbie” is a series focused on basic nutrition information and tips.

A New Year, A New Plate!

For many, the New Year is an opportunity to start anew and make a promise (or two or three) to do something good or stop doing something bad. One of the most popular New Year’s resolutions is to eat healthy – that’s certainly on my list.

One of the perks of working here at Second Harvest is having access to our community nutritionists. So I went ahead and asked them for some easy (and realistic) tips on how to change my eating habits for the better in 2014. Lucky for you, I am sharing their suggestions in this post.

Here are 5 things you can do to start eating healthier this new year:

  1. Make half of your plate fruits and veggies. When you’re piling grub onto your empty canvas of a plate, try to fill half of it with fruits and vegetables, as recommended by MyPlate. Piece of cake, right? (But only if it’s a teeny tiny slice…)
  2. Snack on fruits and veggies. It’s so easy to reach for those packaged items like chips and crackers, but next time you’re at the grocery store, how about picking up a bag of baby carrots, or a basket of cherry tomatoes or grapes? Keep food containers and sandwich bags handy so you can quickly pack those fruits and vegetables before you head out to do your errands.
  3. Try cooking more instead of eating out. “But eating out is so much easier and the food tastes so much better!” Believe you me, that voice is in my head all the time, but just think about how much control you’ll have over the salt and other ingredients in the dish AND you’ll save money. Talk about empowerment! Cooking at home is a chance to experiment and have some fun. Do a search online for recipes of your favorite dishes or get inspiration on Pinterest.
  4. Seriously, eat breakfast. I hear that ALL the time, but there are multiple reasons why you really should. Breakfast can put you in a better mood (stop getting so ‘hangry’ an hour before lunchtime), increase your energy levels, and help speed up your metabolism (which means it can help you lose weight!).
  5. Eating a little bit of everything in moderation is okay. Don’t be so hard on yourself. You can still enjoy the not-so-healthy foods that you love (I could never quit nachos) – just don’t go overboard (like I really should not eat nachos every single day of the week).

For more tips on how to eat healthy, our nutritionists recommend checking out ChooseMyPlate.gov.

Are you planning to change your eating habits in the new year?