Better Eating for the New Year (And Every Year)

Getting back to basics.

Whether we make New Year’s resolutions or not, most of us want to become healthier or remain healthy in the year ahead.

All of the evidence indicates that the best way to do this is to get back to basics: lots of produce (most of us don’t eat nearly enough fruits and vegetables), switching up our refined grain foods for whole grain breads and cereals, going for the nuts and beans more often for protein, choosing heart-friendly unsaturated vegetable oils instead of saturated fats for cooking and as an ingredient in foods we buy, and getting enough calcium and vitamin D.

Does this sound like a tall order? The key is to take it easy, one small step at a time. Many of us have already made changes toward this kind of proven healthful eating. If you need some help, let’s start at the top, with making sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables every day. These tips from the Produce for Better Health Foundation can help make it easier to eat the recommended two cups of fruits and three cups of vegetables each day.

Try a new fruit or vegetable each month as a way to try new tastes, textures, and flavors. Seasonal fruits are most delicious and your best buy. Check here to see what’s in season.

Make one evening meal a week or month fruit and vegetable-centered. Make a stir-fry based on beans, tofu, or tempeh, or a veggie soup and sandwich or salad. Have fruit salad for dessert.

You might not realize that all forms of fruits and vegetables count as nutritious additions to your day. Try your favorite fruit or vegetable a different way once a week. If you like fresh pineapple, explore canned, frozen, or dried versions.

Forget those expensive and highly processed snack packs. Instead, try healthful 100-calorie portions of fruits and vegetables such as two cups of cubed melon, sliced peppers, or apple slices for the same calories but much more volume and fresh flavor. See a 100-calorie comparison chart here.

Top breakfast cereal, oatmeal, or yogurt with cut-up fruit.

Add chopped fresh or frozen vegetables to soups and spaghetti sauce.

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Allan Reetz is the Co-op's Director of Public and Government Affairs. Contact Allan at areetz at coopfoodstore dot com.