We hope everyone is off to a great start this year. Do you have a healthy eating resolution? Many people do and Chef Nancy and I are challenging you to make food fun this year! Do not think of a resolution as a trial to deprive yourself but instead to add healthy habits. Try a new food or a new meal so that you do not get bored. My resolution is to make one new recipe a week for my family. That way we are going to open our food choices to many new great (and maybe some not so great) meals!

This is a great article written by fellow dietitians. Enjoy!

Why not take a more positive approach to changing eating habits for the better in 2012 and beyond? Instead of concentrating on what you can’t eat, plan your eating pattern to include more nutrient-rich choices.

Pumpkin. It’s packed with antioxidants as well as immune-boosting vitamin A , and it’s simple to incorporate into your everyday diet. Use canned pure pumpkin to work this super-nutritious vegetable onto the table any time of the day. Stir a cup into your favorite bean chili recipe; use 1/4 to 1/2 cup canned to replace some of the solid fat, such as margarine and butter, or add a few tablespoons of pureed pumpkin to fruit smoothies.  – Janice Newell Bissex, MS, RD, and Liz Weiss, MS, RD, aka The Meal Makeover Moms (authors of No Whine With Dinner: 150 Kid-Tested Recipes from the Meal Makeover Moms)

Beans. Whether purchased in a can or bag, beans provide more   nutritional and culinary versatility than any other food I know. They are one of the best natural sources of fiber you can bring to the table with an average of seven grams of fiber in every 1/2 cup serving of cooked beans. Beans are also a good-to-excellent source of six other vitamins and minerals including folate, potassium and iron.-Robyn Flipse, MS, RD (co-author of The Wedding Dress Diet)

Lentils. Nutrition-wise, lentils are a powerhouse and are budget-friendly. Lentils are a great source of protein and one cup cooked provides about half your daily fiber needs. Lentils are rich in iron, and they also provide other minerals such as manganese, phosphorus, copper, and potassium. Lentils are fat-free and cholesterol-free, too. And lentils are versatile – there’s actually nine different varieties to use in soups, curries, salads, and to mix with ground beef or rice. You can eat them hot or cold and easily substitute lentils for rice or pasta. No need to soak lentils overnight – they only need about 20-30 minutes of simmering.- Danielle Omar, MS, RD

Chocolate. But hold the guilt! Eating a food you truly love is a wonderful way to nurture yourself. When you enjoy chocolate regularly and mindfully, without thinking of it as an indulgence, you  eliminate the unconscious feelings of deprivation and guilt that lead to paradoxical overeating. Instead of “giving in” or sneaking it, savor your chocolate fearlessly and joyfully!- Michelle May, MD (author of Eat What You Love, Love What You Eat: How to Break Your Eat-Repent-Repeat Cycle)

 Seafood fills two nutrition voids for many people — it’s a lean source of protein that makes a great replacement for a meat at least once a week, and a source of anti-inflammatory omega 3 fats.  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest eating at least 8 ounces of seafood weekly; the average intake is around three ounces a week, so we have a long way to go. In my experience, many people decide very early in life that they don’t like seafood. But tastes change, and with an open mind there’s bound to be some sort of seafood you like. If it’s not fish, it might be shrimp or scallop; even canned tuna is a good choice. Make 2012 the year you experiment with seafood and find out what you like best!- Hillary Wright, MEd, RD (author of The PCOS Diet Plan: A Natural Approach to Health for Women with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome)

Nuts. They provide healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fats, as well as vitamin E, fiber, and potassium, a nutrient that the USDA has identified as one of four that most Americans don’t get enough of. Pistachios, for example, offer 8% of the daily value for potassium, more than any other nut, and are one of the highest-fiber nuts with 3 grams of fiber per serving. Nuts also contain phosphorus, B-vitamins, copper, manganese, iron, magnesium, zinc, and folate. Since most nuts provide a nice balance of protein, healthy fats, and some carbohydrate, just one handful makes for a nicely balanced snack to promote sustained energy and feelings of satisfaction after eating.

 Oatmeal. It’s a whole grain and it provides a good dose of fiber and a little protein; the fiber/protein combination is a dynamic duo that helps to keep you full.  Top oatmeal with fresh fruit (a few sliced strawberries, a sliced banana, or 1/2 cup blueberries work well) or stir in 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce or one tablespoon of dried fruit (with no sugar added) for added flavor and texture. Make oatmeal with fat-free milk to boost your calcium, protein, and vitamin D intake, and add a tablespoon or two of walnuts or flaxseed for more protein, fiber and healthy unsaturated fats. Old fashioned oats are lower in sodium and sugar. When using instant or quick-cooking oats to save time, choose brands without added sugar. – Elisa Zied, MS, RD (author of Nutrition At Your Fingertips)

Nonfat Greek yogurt.It’s so think and creamy, you won’t miss the fat. I love the way it tastes and the fact that it contains probiotics. Greek yogurt is packed with bone-building calcium. Because it’s strained, it contains more protein and less carbohydrate than other yogurt, making it a filling choice for breakfast or snack. Use it in dips, add it to soup or chili and use as a base in cold soups, use in place of some of the mayonnaise in potato and pasta salad, blend with frozen fruit for a smoothie, and make a parfait out of Greek yogurt, fresh fruit, and granola. – Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD (author of the upcoming Diabetes Weight Loss Week by Week

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