The New Year is a great time to take stock of what you eat. Don't know where to start? Consider picking one or two of these tips, and sticking with them whenever possible. And be patient with yourself; change takes time:
- Switch to whole grains. They are digested more slowly than refined grains, and don't cause that boost - and subsequent crash - that causes hunger pangs just a couple of hours later. Try brown rice, multigrain muffins and even whole-wheat bagels and pasta.
- Cut back on soda. Whether it's diet or regular, soda is not good for growing (or grown-up) bodies. (Diet soda adds insult to injury by actually causing weight gain in some people.) To cut down, stock your fridge with seltzer and juice, and mix your own fruit-flavored sodas.
- Be aware of industrial ingredients. Hydrogenated oil and high-fructose corn syrup are common ingredients in children's snacks (check those granola bars!). Yet, most nutritionists recommend avoiding them altogether - especially hydrogenated oils, which contain trans fats and have been linked to heart disease.
- Choose organic dairy products. The full effects of all those hormones and antibiotics are not known, but suspicions are mounting. To be safe, choose organic whenever possible.
- Support your local farmers. If you're like most Americans, your dinner traveled about 1,500 miles on its way to your kitchen. Choosing local specialties not only saves on fuel, it often yields the best food.
Even the best New Year's resolutions fall flat when they are too ambitious. But if you resolve to take the healthier route as often as you can, you can have a big impact on your family's health.
- Larissa Phillips