Nutrition Tips For The New Year

Nutrition Tips For The New Year

Nutrition Tips For The New Year

By: Registered dietitians and nutritionists at JM Nutrition

Are you looking for nutrition tips for the new year? Look no further. Our team of registered dietitians and nutritionists has put together a list of diet and nutrition advice to help kickstart the year on a good note.

 

So, let’s jump right to the new year nutrition tips, shall we?

 

Ola Pabjas, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Apply the balanced plate concept

For the average person, the Balanced Plate concept is one of the simplest and most effective ways to ensure you are meeting your nutrient needs (not having too little or too much). Here’s how to put this into practice:

Step 1: For most meals, ensure there is the presence of the following:

  • carbohydrate food: i.e. higher-fibre grain product, a whole grain or starchy vegetable
  • protein food: i.e. plant-based protein or animal-based protein
  • vegetables and/or fruit: you can select one option for variety on the plate (e.g., roasted broccoli and side arugula salad)

Step 2: For most meals, consider how to tweak the proportions of these food groups to more closely reflect the proportions in the Balanced Plate Model.

Even if each food group takes up 1/3 of the plate, that’s a great start.

Step 3: Garnish the meal with healthy fats to make it interesting and delicious.

  • 1-2 tablespoons dairy or plant-based dairy
  • 1-2 tablespoons of nuts and seeds
  • 1/2 avocado
  • drizzle of olive oil

2. Focus on your overall pattern of eating

It matters that you follow healthy eating principles most of the time, not all the time.

 

Lyndsay Hall, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Make a grocery list of staples

Grocery lists can serve multiple purposes, especially today. With costs rising, planning out groceries for the week allows you to purchase what you need, so that you are less likely to spend money on unnecessary items. It also ensures that you utilize everything you’re purchasing.

Additionally, when you have your meals and snacks planned out for the week, it allows you to eat much more mindfully. Perhaps you are less likely to opt for take-out food, if you have food in the fridge to use up. Of course, things may come up throughout the week or weekend that prevent you from making an extensive grocery list every week, so even just having a list of staples that you can resort to when you’re pressed for time can make a big difference. Learn more about grocery shopping tips.

2. Meet your vitamin D needs

As the winter takes up a good 5 months of the year for many of those who live in the north, it is important to make sure we are keeping on top of our vitamin D requirements.

Vitamin D is important for supporting bone health, mood and our immune systems. There are limited dietary sources of vitamin D, so many of us acquire it through the sun.

Therefore, during the winter months (October to April), it may be necessary to take a vitamin D3 supplement in order to meet your needs. As always, individual needs vary, so we suggest discussing dosage with your healthcare provider. Learn about the recommended Vitamin D dosage.

 

Maude Morin, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Consume fermented foods daily

This is an often omitted nutrition tip for the new year or any other time, for that matter.

Fermented foods like yogurt, tempeh, sauerkraut, miso, kombucha and sourdough breads are good sources of probiotics–the live and active components of our large bowel that help you break down foods to gain the benefits of their nutrients. A diversity of probiotics can lead to improved digestion, weight management, mood and mental health, immunity and overall health outcomes.

2. Find ways to manage stress

Long-term elevated stress can lead to an array of health issues including depression and anxiety, heart disease, digestive problems and even diabetes. There’s nothing more relatable than the “productive”, “hustle” and “busy” driven culture that we’ve grown into post-pandemic. For your well-being, make time for rest (mental, emotional, physical, digital), including stress-reducing practices. It’s also important to be intentional about accepting new stressors in your life.

Discover more about the connection between diet and stress.

 

Austin McNally, Sports Nutrition Dietitian, Conditioning Coach & Personal Trainer

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Reject the quick fix

This is an important new year nutrition tip.

A quick-fix can be described as a low-effort, ‘easy’ solution to a more complex problem. In the context of nutrition, it fails to address the underlying barriers, and generally necessitates avoidant and unsustainable food-behaviours (i.e. cutting out food groups, etc.), or the complete overhaul of lifestyle habits (a near guaranteed way to burn-out).

Small, incremental and sustainable change is the key to long-term success and giving yourself enough time to build the fundamental habits that you need to sustain progress. Changing our habits and adopting sustainable, long-term behaviours doesn’t happen overnight!

2. Focus on inclusivity rather than exclusivity

The first thing many people do when trying to make positive changes to our eating habits is to identify foods that they ‘need’ to eliminate from our diet. This exclusionary approach to food emphasizes restriction, and implies some foods are inherently ‘good’ or ‘bad’.

Instead, a more productive approach is to evaluate your current eating habits, and then identify gaps or areas of improvement that can be addressed by including a better variety of nutrient-dense foods.

In essence, you are including more foods that are high in nutrients instead of excluding foods that aren’t high in nutrients. This shift in mindset is beneficial for several reasons. It also allows a more diversified intake of nutrients, and helps to intuitively decrease our intake of less nutritious foods.

Learn more about working with a sports nutrition dietitian.

 

Kyle Butler, Sports Nutrition Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Focus on what you can add to your diet

A good nutrition tip for the new year is to try to focus on what you can add to the diet, rather than trying to restrict foods or take things away.

By using this approach, you put the emphasis on incorporating more nutrient-rich foods such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, seeds and more, while still allowing some room for other “fun” foods that you also enjoy.

2. Don’t forget water

Start each day with a large glass of water. It’s important to rehydrate yourself after a long night’s sleep. You may also notice a boost in energy and better digestion with your first meal of the day, if adequately hydrated.

Learn more about the importance of drinking water, its benefits and how much to drink daily.

3. Plan

As Winston Churchill once said, “He who fails to plan is planning to fail.” This is no doubt a good nutrition tip for the new year as well.

Most people tend to find more success with their eating habits when they have a plan in place. I recommend dedicating 30-60 minutes each week to sit down, think about and write down what meals and snacks you want to eat for the following week.

What’s more, look in your cupboards, fridges, freezers and pantries to see what ingredients you have on hand. You can then make a grocery list of what you need to buy. You are more likely to succeed if you don’t leave the meal planning for the last minute, which may lead to making less nutritious food choices. 

 

Kirsten Swantee, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Plan in advance

It’s important to plan your meals 1-2 days in advance. This helps you to stay organized, cuts down on prep time in the kitchen and helps to answer the question of “what’s for dinner?” before it’s already dinner time and you’re already hungry!

Doing so can also help to cut down on food waste if you make a plan to use your ingredients before they go bad.

2. Batch it up

Prep 1 or 2 bigger batch meals. Soup, stew, chilli, stir fry–all work well. You can then use these meals throughout the week and don’t have to cook a different meal every evening.

3. Cook once, eat twice

If you are going to take the time to cook a meal, why not make extra portions? That way, you don’t have to cook every night, but instead can cook every second or third night. This is a great nutrition tip for the new year as it helps to save you time. And who couldn’t use more time?

Discover more meal prepping and planning strategies.

4. Eat enough throughout the day

Have 1-2 snacks in addition to your breakfast and lunch. Doing so will help you remain satisfied throughout the day. It can also help to decrease overeating in the late afternoon and evenings.

5. Hydrate

If you don’t love drinking plain water, then you can try decaf herbal teas, sparkling water or add natural flavouring such as lemon, lime, mint, cucumber, or orange. All of these will help you stay hydrated.

 

Tiffany Thai, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Break it down

Lifestyle changes can be intimidating, when first starting to make them. Of course, as we become more used to things, comfort sets in. It takes about 21 days to create a habit, so use this as a time period to carry out a change.

For example, try consistently adding vegetables to all dinner meals for 21 days. After this, try doing the same for lunch as well.

Recommended: Atomic Habits by James Clear

2. Focus on how you eat

Don’t forget to think about how you eat, rather than simply focussing on what you eat. It takes effort to actively think about the process of eating. We are often distracted with work, TV, or our phones, and neglect to listen to our hunger and satiety cues.

3. Make it sustainable

Be cautious of quick fixes as these often do not take nutritional needs into account. A healthy lifestyle change should be flexible and adaptable to your day-to-day for it to last.

 

Sierra Steele, Sports Nutrition Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Take a water bottle with you wherever you go

I feel this is an important new year nutrition tip. Simply having the accessibility to water can help increase your hydration, which so many people lack. This is especially true for people who are physically active. Drinking water has many benefits such as helps reduce risk of constipation, keeps organs functioning and prevents fatigue related to dehydration, amongst others.

 

Johnny Zhao, Sports Nutrition Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Train the gut to handle more food

If you are an athlete, it’s important to train the gut to handle more food. When you increase exercise intensity, you will need more protein, carbs and fats.

If you eat the same amount as when you were sedentary, this could lead to reduced recovery and even injury over time. Train to have a snack in-between long training sessions, and slowly increase portions post-exercise.

2. Get adequate sleep

Make sure you get enough sleep for exercise recovery and general health. Most people need 7-8 hours to feel fully rested. Not only will you feel more alert, but sleep also increases the clearance of of metabolic waste and toxins inside your body.

3. Consume fewer carbs in the evening

It’s also important to consume fewer carbs, especially simple sugars in the evening. Your circadian rhythm affects how the body processes sugars. Insulin, the hormone that is used to uptake carbs, is associated with lower melatonin levels. This could disrupt your ability to fall asleep and have high-quality rest. 

 

Jordan Thompson, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Up your fibre intake

Increase your intake of fibre by choosing a variety of whole grains, fruits, and vegetables daily. Fibre is important for bowel health, and will help to keep you feeling full for longer after a meal. It may also help to lower your cholesterol levels and manage your blood sugar.  

 

Christine McIntosh, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Consume Vitamin D regularly during the winter months

Known as the sunshine vitamin, Vitamin D, usually requires supplementation by Canadians. Food sources of fatty fish and some vegetables are not eaten in enough quantities to compensate for the low sunlight exposure Canadians have in the winter months.

The Health Canada recommendations are 600 IUs for people 9 years old to 70 years old with a rise to 800 IU per day when over 70 years old. 

 

Kinga Balogh, Registered Dietitian

New Year Nutrition Tips:

1. Eat intuitively

Certainly, this a new year nutrition tip that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Begin to connect to your body’s wisdom and signalling. Staying in touch and honouring hunger, fullness and meal satisfaction clues serves well in the long run. It will allow for choosing the right types of foods, consuming the optimal amounts and feeling more empowered and in charge around self-nourishment.

Digestion, energy levels, mood, hormonal balance are just a few of the indicators that will optimize, when one strives to bring mindfulness to the eating experience. As efforts to establish a more peaceful relationship with food and one’s physical appearances take root, the temptation to be swayed by diet hacks, elimination protocols and cleanses will subside. Enjoyment of a variety of foods, without strict diet rules, guilt or shame can become a freeing experience.

For those with a history of eating disorders or disordered eating, intuitive eating can be an elusive goal. Professional guidance is often necessary to allow for mindfulness to settle around eating routines. Adopting a mindset full of curiosity and body kindness rather than self-judgment and flexibility rather that rigidity around self-care will also be necessary to pull away from diet mentality that is so rampant in our appearance focused society today.

Related:

Intuitive Eating: Principles, Challenges and Important Considerations

Do I Have A Healthy Relationship With Food?

2. Move your body joyfully

Consider engaging in activities that bring joy and pleasure, instead of workout routines that feel militant, leaving you exhausted and depleted instead of rejuvenated. 

Frequently, people struggle to maintain activity routines, as they are taking part in movement as a way to gain permission to eat more decadent food choices, shrink their bodies or other cosmetic reasons. When the results do not materialize as desired, people abandon these routines, despite improvement in metabolic fitness. As popular as tracking devices are, they may take away from a truly mindful experience around joyful movement as well.

Rather than directing attention to your body and how it moves through strokes while swimming, strides while walking or climbs while heading up to a peak, you may become distracted by heart rate, step counter or calorie monitors.

What to do instead?

Focus on internal motivators that are experienced gradually, rather than right away. These include mood enhancement, decreased stress, improved sleep, improved body image regardless of weight. 

At the same time, focus less on external cues: calories burned, weight or body composition change.

Trusting that the body will respond positively to enhanced activity patterns, instead of imposing expectations is a more constructive approach to maintaining optimal movement patterns beyond the notorious New Year’s resolutions.

3) Cultivate self-compassion

Talk to and care for yourself in ways you address your loved ones. Begin to observe and map out the behaviours you are hoping to change with non-judgmental awareness.

As a dietitian specializing in eating disorders, I often see people relying on food or exercise for emotional reasons. Regarding food, they may restrict, overeat or engage in a combination of both through the binge-restrict cycle.

Pertaining to movement, they may under- or over-exercise, often contributing to injuries.

It’s also important to help in the spirit of self-compassion, as you can more readily unearth the reasons for disordered behaviours and peel away the layers of shame and guilt so often present in your life.

In addition, this can allow you to stay more committed in the discovery and trialing of coping strategies that involve non-food related behaviours. 

As you recover from dysfunctional eating, you learn a great deal about yourself. You begin to appreciate the wisdom of your body and ultimately become clear on their needs for self-care and assertively communicate them in relationship with others.

Behaviour change without self-compassion does not allow you to silence the inner-critic or to dismantle self-sabotaging behaviours more permanently. Essentially, it is like playing contact sports without protective gear.

 

Conclusion

There you have it. Our nutrition tips for the new year. We hope that you take away one or more tips from here, and incorporate it in your daily lives. If, at any point, you require support or guidance while you do so, please let us know and we will gladly help. 

 

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