Cooking Tips

Dietitian-Approved Tips for a Healthy New Year

By Maddy Davis, RD

The new year is when many of us take time to set resolutions and vow to have a fresh and clean start. It is the perfect time to say goodbye to unhealthy habits and lifestyle choices and focus on bringing about positive changes to our lives, physically, mentally, and even personally. To get your year started off right, try incorporating some of these simple healthy tips that’ll help you to have the healthiest year yet.

shutterstock_1014730591Make healthier food choices

Add more fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, and fat-free or low fat milk products into your diet. Any fad diets that emphasize particular foods or eliminate certain food groups entirely are concerning, as that goes against the principles of good nutrition, which calls for balance, variety, and moderation.

Stay hydrated

Staying hydrated is a simple but often overlooked tip. Drinking water helps curb your appetite and is the most effective way to stay hydrated, while also avoiding consuming added calories found in many other beverages. To make sure you stay on track with your daily water intake, there are multiple smartphone apps that can remind you to drink water throughout the day.

Get active

Start small—your first time back in the gym after a long absence, don’t work out for two hours. Instead, establish an effective workout routine and then add to it. Find exercises that you like, and don’t force yourself to do a workout that you do not enjoy. Not everyone likes to run or do yoga, and that is okay! The most effective workout routine is the one that you stick to.

Prioritize sleep

A good night’s rest is vital to your physical and mental health. And without adequate sleep, you are more susceptible to chronic diseases and conditions. Additionally, several studies show that sleep plays a key role in our ability to make better food choices. When individuals don’t get sufficient sleep, they tend to crave more energy dense, high carbohydrate foods. Strive to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night.

Shift your focus on stress relief

Stress can have a negative impact on your health and can cause weight gain, skin problems, physical pain, and more. When you feel stressed, your body loses the ability to control impulses, and produces the hormone cortisol. Cortisol has been linked to triggering cravings for comfort foods, and when we lack the ability to control impulses, we often fall victim to overeating. To help reduce your stress level, consider meditation, calming walks, or any other activity that makes you feel at ease.

Registered Dietitian Maddie Davis joined HHS in April 2017 serving as a champion dietitian where she not only helps develop nutrition plans for patients, but also oversees dietetic interns at her facility. Maddie has a wide array of experience across many settings including school food service, long term care, and acute care. Her ability to adapt to new environments has allowed her to continue to grow professionally as a dietitian. Maddie is a graduate of The University of Southern Mississippi where she earned her Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics.