6 Ways to Improve Nutrition Every Day

by | Read time: 5 minutes

Is your 2023 off to a healthful start?

Millions of people likely made New Year’s resolutions to switch to a better diet. But it’s also a safe bet that many are probably wavering in their commitment right about now.

Woman Leaning How to Improve Nutrition Chopping Fresh Vegetables in Kitchen

If you are beginning to stumble in pursuit of a goal of more healthful eating – or if you haven’t yet made a start – there is plenty of time to turn things around.

Vitacost reached out to several registered dietitians to get their take on one single change you can make to improve your nutrition in 2023.

Following are their answers.

Improve Nutrition Every Day With These Steps

Drink water as soon as you wake up

Water is important for health, proper energy and digestion, and it can help you maintain a healthy weight, says Melissa Mitri, a Monroe, Connecticut-based registered dietitian and owner of Melissa Mitri Nutrition.

Yet, many of us struggle to drink enough water during the day. Mitri has a tip for those who want to drink more: Down a glass first thing in the morning.

“Drinking water right away will get you into the habit of doing it, and makes it easier to keep drinking it throughout the day,” she says.

She recommends keeping a water bottle by your bed or near your coffee maker “to remind yourself to drink this before anything else as part of your morning routine.”

Focus on seasonal eating

A great way to improve your diet throughout the year is to focus on seasonal eating, says Wendy Lord, a registered dietitian and medical content author at Health Reporter.

Eating foods that are in season has several benefits. For example, foods that are “less traveled” from their source are more likely to provide greater nutritional value, freshness, and taste, Lord says.

“Plants get nourishment directly from the sun and soil,” she says. “The foods begin to lose their nutrients when they stop getting this nourishment.”

The sooner you eat these foods after they are harvested, the more your body benefits from their high nutrient profile, Lord says.

Another benefit of eating foods in season is that you can avoid foods that are transported overseas, which reduces the risk of eating foods sprayed with pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides before the foods are shipped.

“Most countries are not being regulated for which chemicals they use to transport the foods, which actually increases the risk of contaminants and their potential effects on your health,” Lord says.

Choose a day each week to go meatless

If you have thought about going vegetarian – or simply want to cut back on meat consumption – 2023 can be the year to gradually start to make the change.

One way to begin is to choose a day each week to go meatless, says Amanda Lane, a Minneapolis-based registered dietitian and founder of Healthful Lane Nutrition.

Lane says a meat-free day can help you focus on getting enough daily fiber — 25 grams for women and 30 grams for men.

She also recommends using your meat-free days to add heart-healthy vegetables, and nuts and seeds to your diet.

“Meat-free options can include lentils, beans or tofu,” she says. “One of my favorites is lentil lettuce wraps because they are packed with flavor and fiber.”

Eat the rainbow

Change can be difficult, so Ava Nouri suggests making it simple.

The New York- and Los Angeles-based registered dietitian and founder of Ava Nouri Wellness recommends “eating the rainbow” in 2023.

“Eating the rainbow essentially means including fruits and vegetables of various colors in your diet,” Nouri says.

The different colors of plant foods represent different phytochemicals, which are the health-promoting chemical compounds found in plants.

“One of the largest benefits of phytochemicals in general is their antioxidant function, which may help to prevent or delay cellular damage,” Nouri says.

One example of phytochemicals is carotenoids, which give fruits and vegetables an orange color. Carotenoids are found in foods such as carrots and sweet potatoes.

“Carotenoids may help decrease the risk of various cancers and eye disease,” Nouri says.

Cut back on restaurant meals

During the COVID-19 pandemic, a sit-down meal at a restaurant became a relic of the past. Once the virus began to lose its grip on society, many people returned to eating out with a vengeance.

While there is nothing wrong with the occasional meal out, a good change in 2023 would be to cut back on the number of times you eat in a restaurant, says Mary Wirtz, a registered dietitian and consultant for Mom Loves Best.

“Restaurant and take-out meals typically have more calories, fat, saturated fat and sodium than home-prepared meals,” Wirtz says.

By contrast, preparing and eating meals at home means you will likely eat more healthful foods and consume fewer calories.

Wirtz also urges you to structure your meal times in a way that eliminates distractions and helps you and your family practice mindful eating techniques.

“Implementing more mindful eating strategies can increase pleasure while eating and also help to improve body satisfaction,” she says.

Add more protein, fiber and healthful fats to your diet

The key to feeling full and satisfied for hours after you eat is to incorporate more protein, fiber and healthy fat in your diet, says Cheryl Mussatto, a registered dietitian and clinical dietitian at Cotton O’Neil Diabetes and Endocrinology Center in Topeka, Kansas.

“These three are also your go-to for sustained, all-day energy,” she says.

Mussatto notes that each slows digestion, helping blunt rapid rises in blood sugar. That keeps you full longer, “preventing hangry snack attacks throughout the day,” she says.

Recommendations include:

  • Protein: beans, nuts, cheese, soy, meat and fish.
  • Fiber: Fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds
  • Healthy fats: Avocados, nuts, seeds, extra virgin olive oil and fatty fish.

“Some suggestions for getting started include adding sliced almonds and berries to a bowl of oatmeal at breakfast, pumpkin seeds or chopped walnuts to your lunch tuna salad, and avocado slices to a burrito,” Mussatto says.

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