By Jennifer Fleming, MS, RD, and Penny Kris-Etherton, PhD, RD
Department of Nutritional Sciences, Pennsylvania State University
The start of a new year is a time of renewal. It is when we resolve to become healthier and give up our bad habits. This typically includes a goal to eat healthy. But what does it mean to eat healthy? Healthy eating is not only about the foods we eat, but it is also about our relationship with food. How we think and feel about our eating habits can be almost as important as the foods we choose to consume.
Some essential habits of healthy eaters include the following:
Being attuned to eating.
That is, be aware of what your body needs and wants, and choose foods that make you feel good while you are eating them and afterwards. Eat when you are hungry, but before becoming ravenous. Also learn to stop eating when you are satisfied or slightly full, but before reaching the point of feeling "stuffed." Thus, be mindful of what you are eating at every eating occasion and what you have consumed throughout the day. Not paying attention to how much you are eating can quickly lead to overconsumption.
Starting your day with breakfast.
Breaking the fast with a healthy meal gets your day started off on the right track. It is an opportunity to nourish your body with whole grains, fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Research shows that individuals who consume breakfast are most successful at maintaining their long term weight loss. In addition, skipping breakfast encourages overeating later in the day, so eat your breakfast!
Avoid always expecting perfection.
This means avoid the temptation to engage in all-or-none thinking ("I ate that doughnut for breakfast so I might as well eat a double cheeseburger for lunch"), and avoid the tendency to allow one eating choice to make or break your mood or your plan for the day. Healthy eaters view each opportunity as a new chance to make a wise choice.
Don't obsess about food.
It's normal to enjoy eating and put thought into meal planning and preparation, but thoughts of what you ate/what you didn't eat earlier, or what you will eat/won't eat later, shouldn't dominate your thinking. Food is an important and pleasurable part of life, but life has many other pleasures and priorities. Healthy eaters don't skip social occasions because the food served might deviate from their usual eating habits, nor do they use it as an opportunity to overindulge.
Keep it simple.
Healthy eating is eating in a way that suits your lifestyle and supports your health, without the need to try each new diet fad. Healthy eaters cook at home frequently, even if it means preparing simple meals. They tend to use fresh, whole foods but don't shy away from lightly processed (and also low in sodium) convenience foods like canned beans or frozen vegetables to make life a little easier. When dining out, stick to core healthy eating habits and make nutritious choices that still appeal to your taste buds -- but allow yourself to splurge a bit on special occasions.
Cauliflower is the new kale in 2015. Food trend watchers say this 'superfood' is poised to become the next kale. But unlike the bitter green, cauliflower is versatile enough to be used everywhere: grilled, battered, baked, served au gratin as a mashed potato substitute, and even crushed into a gluten-free pizza crust.
Check out the cauliflower recipes below:
Cauliflower & Apple Salad