5 Healthy New Year’s Picks at Mariano's

With New Year’s resolutions officially underway, now is the time to reevaluate past choices and behaviors, and set new personal goals. Some of the most common resolutions involve positive lifestyle changes. Whether you want to eat healthier, get more sleep, or be more active, health is at the forefront of many goals.

While setting New Year’s resolutions may be easy, sticking to these goals is difficult for most people. For those striving to eat healthier, having a list of wholesome, balanced foods can help you to stay on track. Check out these New Year’s resolutions and must-have foods to help you to kick off the New Year in a positive way:

1. Hydrate - Make sure to stay hydrated while achieving your goal of getting in shape. Many people don’t hydrate enough while working out, which can increase your risk of injury or heat cramping. Sports drinks may be beneficial over water for workouts that are one hour or more, or for those who typically lose a significant amount of electrolytes during physical activity, especially sodium. I recommend KRā Organic Sports Drink, which rehydrates, provides energy, and replenishes electrolytes that are lost through sweat. Krā has no artificial sweeteners, dyes, or other additives, and also contains less sugar than other sports drinks (only about 5-5.5 gm per serving!). KRā comes in a variety of flavors, such as berry, orange, and fruit punch.

2. Meal Prep – Meal prepping is preparing all or some of your meals ahead of time. It helps you  eat healthier and stay aligned with your goals by avoiding eating out at restaurants or grabbing fast food options, and also save time! Those who meal prep typically eat less refined or processed goods that have empty calories. You can meal prep any day of the week, whatever works best for your schedule. I recommend meal prepping at the beginning of the week when you have time to grocery shop, such as a Sunday or a Monday, to set yourself up for success when the work week gets busy. Starting to meal prep with recipes you already know is an easy and comfortable way to set a new habit. Pick a balanced meal, such as a complex carb, lean protein, healthy fat, and veggies, and divide the finished meal into different containers for the week. I like meal prepping with Banza pasta, which is made with chickpeas. Banza has higher protein and fiber than the average pasta, and has less net carbohydrates.

3. Eat Less Sugar – Cutting back on sugar is a common health goal for many individuals, especially after the holidays. Limiting sugar can be a gradual process, and you don’t have to go “cold turkey”. One way to consume less sugar is to choose foods with natural sugar and limited added sugars. It is always important to read nutrition labels as they are your ultimate guide to choosing foods that have less sugar than others. One low-sugar product that I enjoy is Siggi’s Icelandic style yogurt. Siggi’s is made using simple ingredients and less sugar than many other leading yogurt brands, and they now offer flavors with no added sugar. Siggi’s can be used in a variety of ways including eating it solo for breakfast or a snack, utilized as a substitute for sour cream, in smoothies for natural added protein, or as a base for homemade sauces. Their plain, 4% fat flavor only has 5 gm of sugar, which can be paired with fresh fruit for a natural sugar breakfast (+ 25 gm of protein!).

4. Incorporate new, healthy foods – Including some healthy foods that you’ve never tried before can add some variety in your diet and get you on a healthy track. When identifying new foods to incorporate into your routine, look at nutrition labels for non-processed foods that are low in sugar, high in protein and fiber, and those that have limited ingredients that you can easily understand. Almond butter is one product that I recommend incorporating as an alternative to peanut butter. Although similar nutritionally to peanut butter in both calories and sugar, almond butter can be a healthier option since it contains more vitamins, minerals, fiber, and health fats. Almond butters may contain as much as 15 gm of healthy fats for a serving size of two tablespoons. Mariano’s “Roundy’s” brand has its own almond butter.  

5. Mindful Eating – Take the time to practice mindful eating by savoring the food that you’re eating. Being mindful of what you’re eating can help you to understand when you’re hungry or full. It’s important to understand what foods your body is truly craving, and to listen to these cravings, including sweet treats. Indulging in treats is normal and a part of a balanced diet. Avoid distractions like TV while eating to truly enjoy your sweet treat. I occasionally indulge in Diana’s Bananas, which are chocolate dipped frozen bananas. The pieces are small, making mindful eating and portion control easier to manage.

This blog post was written by KRā's nutrition consultant, Allison Wood MS RDN CNSC LDN. You can find her on Instagram at @windycitynutrition or reach out to her at allisonwood.dietitian@gmail.com.