From plant-based foods to quirky recipes: Here are six diet tweaks to make in 2020
As 2019 approaches its end, the New Year is the perfect opportunity to sort out your diet in terms of what you eat and how
Any big resolution to completely transform one's eating habits can become too daunting for many and that's exactly why Lisa Drayer, nutritionist and author, wrote a list of mini resolutions for CNN that can be applied gradually and progressively as 2020 passes by.
1) Get your proteins
Maximising protein consumption is at the top of Drayer' list, and rightly so because this macronutrient is the basic building block of our skin, muscles, bones, and hair. Protein is also responsible for preserving the body's muscle mass which keeps the metabolism running on full throttle. Moreover protein staves of hunger by keeping us satiated for extended periods of time, which is a huge plus when it comes to avoiding mindless nibbling. To get enough of this valuable nutrient it is recommended to include at least 3 ounces of lean meat alongside every meal or at least 1/2 a cup of legumes. Greek yogurt, egg whites, and peanut butter are the best bet for a healthy and protein-rich breakfast
2) Include plant-based foods
Fruits, vegetables, nuts and legumes, all are well known for their protective properties against type 2 diabetes, cancer and obesity. Eating plants doesn't have to be an unbearable chore and can be made fun and simple by gradually adding veggies to your favorite meals, for example toss in some chickpeas into your salad instead of chicken and replace the meat in your taco with beans.
3) Be creative with recipes
Eating healthy can turn boring, and to combat the monotony, it’s best to try out new healthy recipes that are both tasty and nutrient-rich. To seek out new preparations you can scan through the food section in newspapers, cookbooks and the internet. "If you are looking for a new way to enjoy spaghetti squash for example, you can simply Google it!" said Drayer.
4) Give intermittent fasting a go
Intermittent fasting involves eating only during a window of 3 to 12 hours and abstaining from food for the rest of the day. This dietary approach has its own health benefits as the current body of research suggests. The fasting periods act as a safeguard against unnecessary snacking as you dedicate less time on eating each day. Fasting also pushes the body in a fat-burning mode in which the body starts mobilising ketones for energy instead of blood sugar once the liver runs out of its fuel reserves.
5) Mindfulness is the key
To avoid impulsive and excessive eating, it's important to turn away the smartphones, laptops and other distractions while you consume your meals. Our body gives us subtle cues on hunger and satiety which can only be picked up if we are mentally present during the whole eating experience.
6) Maintain a food log
Maintaining a food log is an effective way to hold yourself accountable for your dietary choices. It comes in quite handy during outings, which is the time when your diet is most likely to go off-track. Better food decisions can be made if we know what we are putting in our mouths. If notebooks are a hassle, go for an app such as MyFitnessPal or Lose it.