It’s time to make New Year’s resolutions and everyone is planning to eat healthier, whether it’s in order to lose a few inches or revamp their lifestyle (after all, the pledge to eat more healthy food is one of the most popular resolutions year after year!). Here are five easy ways that can help you kick-start your resolution and help you reach your goals in 2013.
Eat more whole grains
Whole grains – like whole wheat, quinoa and brown rice – are proven to lower risk of diabetes, heart disease and certain cancers. Low in fat and loaded with vitamins and minerals, these “good carbs” are a great choice over refined, “bad carbs” like white rice and white flour. Need another reason to make whole grains part of your diet? Get this: quinoa has all nine cholesterol-fighting amino acids typically only found in animal protein, and one cup of brown rice contains 14 percent of the recommended daily fiber intake for women (and 9 percent for the guys!). Get the recipe for flavorful brown rice here.
Most varieties of fish are low in cholesterol and fat, making it an ideal source of cancer-fighting protein with omega- fatty acids aid the development of the brain, eyesight and nerves. But its nutritional data doesn’t mean flavor is an afterthought, like in our Veracruz-style fish packed with luscious tomatoes and spicy jalapeños. Get the recipe for Veracruz-style fish here. And don’t forget about shrimp, as it contains iodine and carotenoids, which helps keep your skin from aging. Recipe: shrimp tacos with fresh pico de gallo.
Moderate salt intake
Even if you’re not the type to shake salt over your food before digging in, high levels of sodium can be found in most prepackaged convenience foods. Often dubbed “the silent killer,” consumption of sodium can contribute to hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Reducing salt intake, then, can go a long way towards overall wellness – like making a healthy, low-sodium version of that ubiquitous Latino pantry staple, tomato sauce, a choice that will make you swear off the canned stuff forever.
Pile on the leafy greens
Most Latinos shrink back at the thought of green leafy vegetables alongside arroz con gandules or a chuleta, but the fact is that kale, swiss chard, spinach, broccoli, and mustard greens are packed with fat-burning fiber and heart disease fighting vitamins and minerals. Nutritional guidelines recommend that adults eat at least five servings of vegetables a day, which can help you feel full and hydrated. Any dark green leafy veggie will do the trick, but our savory garbanzo stew is a great way to introduce kale, a beta-carotene packed veggie, into your diet. Get the recipe for garbanzo and kale stew here.
Watch your fat intake
News flash: not all fats are bad for you, and that’s especially true of the “good” fats found in extra virgin olive and coconut oils. Your body needs the essential fatty acids (EFAs) that are found in those oils — especially because EFAs promote healthy eyesight and skin. That being said, our favorite ingredient for 2013 is coconut oil, which in small amounts can help fight off bacterial and viral infections, as well as regulate blood sugar and thyroid function. Get the recipe for coconut and calabaza rice here.