It’s a new year and the perfect time to start healthy eating habits to keep you and your family energized throughout the year.
Dr. Nicole Avena, author of the new book Sugarless: A 7-Step Plan to Uncover Hidden Sugars, Curb Your Cravings, and Conquer Your Addiction, says keeping your family energized throughout the day can be challenging, so start by looking at their eating habits. Teaching kids about food that’s good for their health when they’re young sets them up for a lifetime of wellness.
Here are five tips from Dr. Avena to kick off 2024 with a healthy flying start!
1. DON’T drink your calories
It is common to choose flavorful drinks and smoothies alongside our meals- but this adds an abundance of calories (and usually sugar) that can send us over our maintenance energy needs. This can lead to unwanted weight gain and feeling sluggish throughout the day. Digestion also begins in the mouth- and all the calories consumed with drinking do not send the same “fullness” signals to our brain that eating does!
2. DO eat a vegetable with every meal
Adding veggies to every meal, instead of eliminating food groups, allows us to remain satisfied and reap the micronutrient benefits of vegetables! One serving of veggies per meal can make it easy to have a healthy start to the new year.
3. DON’T eat meals distracted by technology
Have you ever sat down in front of your TV for lunch, and the next second, you looked down at an empty plate without even realizing it? This is distracted eating, and it can hinder our hunger and fullness cues, leading to overeating! Instead, be mindful when eating by putting down your fork between bites, shutting off technology, and checking in with your body during meals.
4. DO take a walk after mealtimes
Going for a 10–20-minute stroll about 15 minutes after eating feels great and can significantly improve your long-term health! Post-prandial walks, a walk after a meal or snack, have been shown to improve glucose metabolism and digestion.
5. DO enjoy all foods in moderation
No food is good or bad. Many foods come with sentimental value, emotions, nostalgia, and culture. Instead of thinking of health with an “all or nothing” mindset, enjoy the foods you love in moderation to help you stay on top of your goals.