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The ONE Simple Diet Change You Can Make to Improve Your Health, According to Nutrition Experts
You got this.
New year, new you, right? It's January, so that means it's time to clean out the clutter, revamp your whole wardrobe, completely overhaul your diet, and start that super-intense workout regimen you've been talking about for months. But then a couple weeks in, all those good intentions go down the drain… and you're right back where you started. Well, getting healthier doesn't have to mean making drastic changes to your eating routine. We asked seven nutrition experts to share their one simple tip for improving your health in 2018.
1. Eat a high-protein breakfast.
"Eat a high-protein breakfast. You’ve probably heard that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and for good reason. Eating a healthy breakfast can increase overall nutrient intake, boost immunity, sharpen memory, improve mood, and help with weight management. However, there is a difference between a morning pastry and a veggie omelet for breakfast. Studies show that eating a protein-packed breakfast reduces hunger-stimulating hormones compared to a high-carb breakfast. Aim for a breakfast with 15 to 25 grams of protein. Protein-rich breakfast items include eggs, nuts, nut butters, seeds, and cottage cheese." —Patricia Bannan, MS, RDN, founder of patriciabannan.com and author of Eat Right When Time is Tight
2. Focus on when versus what you eat.
"One simple way to improve your health with food has less to do with what you eat and more to do with when you eat. Change up the timing of your meals to help you lose weight and lower your blood sugar and cholesterol levels. By eating your main meal of the day before 3 PM, which for most people is lunchtime, and keeping dinner on the lighter side, you will improve your metabolism and energy levels, leading to overall better health and wellness." —LeeAnn Weintraub, MPH, RD, a registered dietitian in Los Angeles, provides nutrition counseling and consulting to individuals, families and organizations
3. Spice it up.
"Use your spices. Spices have amazing health benefits and take flavor up a huge notch. We eat a lot of bland, processed, tasteless food which leaves us feeling unsatisfied and wanting more. Begin the year by filling your pantry with some new spices for the spice rack. Not only will it urge you to cook more healthy foods but it will help you reset your taste buds skewed by too much junk food. For example, sprinkle cinnamon on everything. It's tasty and also has been shown to help people regulate their blood sugar level, which helps you to reduce cravings. Also, cumin is great with heated milk, which can help to calm you down and reduce stress eating." —Dr. Susan Albers, NY Times best-selling author and clinical psychologist at the Cleveland Clinic, whose new book Eating Mindfully for Teens comes out April 2018
4. Eat more veggies.
"Eat more veggies! They're loaded with filling fiber, brain, mood, and heart healthy benefits and so much more. Use them to your advantage — in smoothies, in your eggs, in any way you can!" —Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN, registered dietitian and founder of Isabel Smith Nutrition & Lifestyle
5. Try fasting.
"Incorporate a fasting plan. It can be a traditional intermittent plan, a once-a-month plan, or a restrictive feeding approach. Whichever one you choose, studies show that fasting will help with controlling cravings, decrease your risk for several chronic conditions and cancer, increase longevity, and help you lose weight." —Kristin Kirkpatrick, author of Skinny Liver and manager of wellness nutrition services at the Cleveland Clinic
6. Get more fiber.
"Make fiber your focus. If you are going to count one thing in 2018, it should be the grams of fiber you eat each day... Aim for a minimum of 30 grams per day. Boosting fiber can be done without much effort... Add pureed beans into meat recipes. Not only can adding beans or lentils into a meat dish extend the meat, but it can also provide a good source of fiber along with plant-based protein. Try adding beans and lentils into dishes such as meatloaf, casseroles, and hamburgers. One cup of black beans provides 16 grams of fiber." —Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet For Dummies
7. Listen to your body.
"Learn to listen to your body and eat when you are slightly hungry and stop eating when you are slightly full. This is a way to never over-consume regardless of the type food you are eating. Couple that up with eating all whole, real foods and you are golden." —Keri Glassman, RDN, celebrity nutritionist, founder of NutritiousLife.com