This month nutritionist and Clean Plates founder Jared Koch is offering weekly tips to help you meet your health goals in 2012. See tips from week 1, week 2, week 3 and week 4 — and read this week’s tips below.
- Eat more veggies. I’ve said it before, but it bears repeating: Vegetables are the most nutrient-dense, low-calorie food available. Make an effort this week to include some kind of veggie at every meal. Try leafy greens like kale and swiss chard and brightly colored veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes and beets.
- Try something new. Learning which kinds of food help your body thrive often involves a little experimentation — breaking outside of established patterns and seeing how new foods and habits make you feel.In past weeks, I suggested some breakfast experiments, and I invited you to try one day a week meat-free. This week, I suggest making beans your primary protein source for at least one meal — they’re a great source of fiber, something most of us could use more of. Try black bean soup, for example, or whole wheat pasta with cannelini beans and greens.While you’re at it, experiment with some new spices, which boost flavor and often have healing properties; for example, turmeric has cancer-fighting benefits, cayenne is an anti-inflammatory (which helps prevent infection), and garlic is anti-bacterial.
- Replace sugar with raw honey. Raw honey is filled with nutrients and healing properties, making it a better-for-you alternative to refined sugar. Keep in mind, honey isn’t necessarily a “health food” — it will still cause your blood sugar to spike, for example — but when you need to satisfy your sweet tooth, it’s a smart (and delicious) alternative. Buy from local beekeepers when possible to minimize your carbon footprint.
- Keep a food journal. Back in week 1, I encouraged you to experiment with keeping a food journal. How’s that going? If you haven’t stayed with it, don’t worry — start today. Writing down what you eat is the best way to get an accurate snapshot of what you’re actually putting in your body on a regular basis. Once you have a clear picture of your current habits, you can identify opportunities to make healthier choices. Often, the simple act of writing down what we eat ends up being a way of holding ourselves accountable.
- Get FRESH. FRESH is a movie about people across America who are re-inventing our food system — from urban farmer Will Allen to supermarket owner David Ball. Along with the other resources I’ve recommended this month, from Food, Inc.. to Nourishing Wisdom by Marc David, this movie will make you a more educated food consumer.
So, there you have it — a month’s worth of healthy eating tips. I hope you found them helpful. I’d love to hear what worked for you, and what didn’t — where you’re finding it easy to make positive changes, and where you’re struggling. Share your experience in the comments below and best of luck as you build a healthier 2012!
Photo courtesy of iStockphoto