A Healthier You in 2018

Author: Jocie Antonelli


As we embark upon a new semester and new year, resolutions are plentiful. While they are easy to make, they aren’t always easy to keep. So if one of your goals is to achieve better health, you can make little tweaks, here and there, for a big impact. Here is a list of 10 ideas to boost nutrients, cut empty calories, and feel better.

  1. More Vegetables - Vegetables are the most important food group of any of them, but most of us fall far short of the recommended 5 to 7 servings per day. In order to get more, start incorporating them into your breakfast. Eat an omelette, put veggies on your scrambled eggs or bagel, or have a smoothie.
  2. Dessert - Desserts don’t have to be the enemy. They can fit into a healthy diet, and even a small amount can satisfy a sweet tooth. As fellow dietitian Katie Morford likes to say, “When it comes to sweets, keep portions petite.”
  3. Minimize Eating Before Bed - While I am not concerned about eating before bed from a calorie standpoint, I am concerned from a liver standpoint. One of your liver’s big jobs is to detoxify the body which it cannot do if it stuck processing nutrients from foods eaten too close to bedtime. Aim to stop eating within two to three hours of when you go to bed.
  4. Watch the High Calorie Coffee Drinks - Coffee has some good health benefits, but that all gets negated when it is combined with sugary syrups, whipped cream, and other flavorings. The calories can skyrocket upwards of 600 calories! Aim for small sizes and go as plain as possible.
  5. Boost your Omega-3 Content - Although many of us know that omega-3 fats are essential in our diets, almost none of us are consuming enough. Eat tuna and salmon at least twice a week, and add flax seed every chance you get.
  6. MyPlate - The MyPlate icon created by the USDA serves as a visual representation of what constitutes a healthy meal. It recommends half of our plate/meal be vegetables and fruit.  
  7. Add Soy - Soy has gotten an unfair reputation out of concern related to its isoflavone content and possible breast cancer link. Dr. Mark Messina has dedicated his career to researching soy, and he has shown tremendous health benefits from adding soy to our diets. So consume soy milk, tofu, and edamame on a regular basis.
  8. Keep Tabs on the Bar - It’s called a beer belly for a reason. Alcohol is essentially treated like a liquid fat in the body, and those calories are what we call “empty calories.” So just be mindful when going out with friends so that a night socializing with alcohol doesn’t set you back in the calorie department.
  9. Menus of Change - Campus Dining has collaborated with the Menus of Change initiative that celebrates a plant-forward menu to achieve better health and environmental stewardship. To this end, add more plant-based foods to your diet including:  fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, legumes, soy foods, nuts, and seeds.
  10. Sleep - While sleep isn’t food, it has a huge and under-appreciated impact on your health in terms of metabolism, your appetite, and your satiety levels. Strive for 8 to 9 hours each night.