// By: Emily Fitzgerald, MScFN,RD

I hope you had a very happy holiday season and a memorable 2016! With the start of the New Year, many of you may be reflecting on what you accomplished in the past year and what you would like to achieve in the upcoming months. I commonly hear from clients that they would like to improve their nutritional health, but don’t know where to start! First and foremost, take some time to reflect on what is most important to you right now and start prioritizing your goals.

I have created a short list of nutrition New Year’s resolutions to get you started brainstorming on what will work best for you. Remember to keep your resolutions specific, personal and realistic!

 

Include vegetables and/or fruit in every meal.

Canada’s Food Guide recommends about 7-10 servings of vegetables and fruit a day and there’s a good reason why! Vegetables and fruit are packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, antioxidants and phytonutrients that work together to help lower the risk of cancer and other chronic diseases (1). These nutrients nourish our bodies, regulate hormones and protect against cell damage. Choose nature’s colourful creations more often!

Put it into action: Fill at least half of your plate with vegetables of at least 2 different colours at meals or include a piece of fruit in your afternoon snack.

 

Start your day off right!  

Break the fast. Choose a wholesome breakfast to wake your body and get your day started off right. Eating a nutritious breakfast is linked to healthy weight, improved appetite control and higher intake of essential nutrients (2). If this isn’t a common practice of yours, why not get stated today?!

Put it into action: Enjoy whole grain toast with natural peanut butter and a piece of fruit or Greek yogurt with berries and homemade granola.

 

Meet your fibre needs.

We know that most Canadians are only getting about half of their daily fibre needs (3).  Fibre has several health benefits and is easily accessible. A diet high in fibre not only helps keep you regular but can also help lower blood cholesterol levels, maintain a healthy body weight and lower your risk for some types of cancer such as colon cancer (3). Fibre is found in vegetables, fruit, whole grains, legumes, nuts and seeds.

Put it into action: Add your favourite bean or lentil to soups, salads and casseroles or enjoy hummus and vegetables as an afternoon snack.

 

Limit foods high in added sugar.  

Soda, store bought granola bars, ice cream, chocolate and pudding – foods that have sugar added to them during processing. We know that added sugars are a source of “empty calories.” These empty calories can lead to unintentional weight gain and we know that being overweight can increase the risk of cancer (4).

Put it into action: replace sugary soda drinks with naturally-flavoured carbonated water (try raspberry mint or lemon and lime).

 

I wish you all a very Happy and Healthy 2017!

Are you looking for more individualized nutrition support? We offer one-on-one nutrition coaching consultations all year round!

 

Stay grounded,

Emily

 

References

  1. http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Cancer/Lowering-your-risk-of-cancer-What-about-specific.aspx
  1. http://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Public/Fact_Sheet_1_NM_2015_ENG_COL.aspx
  1. http://www.eatrightontario.ca/en/Articles/Fibre/Focus-on-Fibre.aspx
  1. http://www.cancer.ca/en/prevention-and-screening/live-well/nutrition-and-fitness/healthy-body-weight/?region=o