By Shari Bilt Boockvar
Each year as the New Year rolls around, resolutions are made for healthier eating. Goals come and go, and with that, frustrations frequently appear by midyear. Wouldn’t it be great to find just a few ways to make healthy eating easy and tasty? Here, some goals I try to use in my own life on a daily basis.
CHOOSE WHOLE GRAINS
You’ve heard it time and again. Eat whole wheat and whole grain carbohydrates. But what should we look for on the nutrition labels? Here’s what you need to look for the next time you are shopping for cereal, pasta, and other grains. Try to find ones with at least 4-5 grams of fiber per serving (for bread find those with 2-3 grams of fiber per slice). Scan the ingredient list and look for brands that use simple ingredients, especially ones that you know and recognize.
GIVE IT A TRY: Angelic Bakehouse Premium Wraps, Back to the Roots Organic Stone Ground Flakes and Barilla Whole Grain Pasta.
Do not fear fat, but do make sure to choose those that are beneficial for our health. These fats will help us absorb fat-soluble vitamins, keep us full longer by slowing digestion, can be heart and skin friendly, and most importantly taste great. The big key here is portion control. No more than 1 tablespoon of oil, 1-2 tablespoons nut butter, ¼ avocado, and a handful of nuts per serving.
GIVE IT A TRY: Almonds, walnuts, avocado, wild Alaskan salmon, and olive oil.
EAT THE RAINBOW
Kids hear it often, but adults should be doing this as well. Each time you go to the market, be sure to choose different colors. A variety of fruits and vegetables will ensure you are getting the necessary vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and phytochemicals that play a role in maintaining optimal health and disease prevention. They can help provide the nutrients needed for proper functioning of your brain, vision, healing, blood, bones, skin and energy levels. Consider them nature’s multivitamins!
GIVE IT A TRY: Dragon Fruit (pitaya), Cherimoya, Rambutan, Jackfruit and Kiwano Melon.
BEST DAIRY CHOICES
There are so many great products out there, but unfortunately a lot of them contain added sugar. By choosing dairy products that are not highly processed and made from natural ingredients, we can quickly increase our protein at breakfast as well as other meals and snacks.
GIVE IT A TRY: Good Culture Cottage Cheese, FAGE Greek Yogurt or any organic milk variety.
LEAN PROTEIN SWAPS
You don’t have to give up meat or poultry. Simply choose leaner versions especially when you are dining out at a restaurant. There are many sources of lean protein that will also provide iron such as sirloin, filet mignon, pork tenderloin, shellfish, turkey breast, chicken breast, and fish (although some fish are higher in fat; these are beneficial).
GIVE IT A TRY: Not a meat eater (or simply for a change of pace), substitute dairy, beans, lentils and non-GMO edamame as excellent sources of protein.
CONSIDER A “JUNK FOOD” BUDGET
Most of us love our snacks and dessert foods. One of the biggest mistakes my clients make is trying to avoid sugar and junk food altogether. If you are one of the few that can do this long-term without an issue, by all means, go for it. This can, however, be difficult to maintain over an extended period. This year, try enjoying your snacks by limiting them to no more than 150-250 calories a day from sources such as cake, cookies, candy, pie (you get the picture, any snack that wouldn’t be considered nutritious). You can save your budget for a nighttime dessert or split it up throughout the day. In that way, you will be able to enjoy them, while limiting the total amount.
GIVE IT A TRY: Halo Top Ice Cream (1/2-1 cup), Made Good Granola Minis, Kashi Soft Baked Cookie or Yasso Frozen Greek Yogurt Bars.
Shari Bilt Boockvar, MS, RDN is a nutritionist in New York and the Tristate area. She specializes in nutrition counseling and consulting for weight control and fitness. Shari can be found blogging about her favorite products and recipes at