17 Tips to Eat Healthy in 2017

Ahhh, 2017.  A new year, a fresh start.  Do you have a goal of eating healthier, losing weight, or maintaining a healthy weight this year?  Or maybe you would like to better control your blood pressure or diabetes this year.  Good nutrition and eating right is the key to success.  Here are 17 practical tips to help you meet your food & nutrition goals this year.

  1. Set realistic and measurable goals.
  2. Plan your meals ahead of time.
  3. Make a grocery list before shopping.
  4. Eat healthful snacks.
  5. Drink more water and less sugary drinks.
  6. Fill up on fiber.  Fruits, vegetables, beans, and whole grain products are great sources of fiber.
  7. Cook more often.
  8. Pay attention to portion sizes.
  9. Try new recipes.
  10. Use more salt-free seasonings, herbs, and spices and less salt.
  11. Choose whole, unprocessed foods.
  12. Track your progress with an app or journal.
  13. Find an accountability buddy to encourage and motivate you.
  14. Get enough sleep.
  15. Find healthy ways to deal with stress.
  16. Move your body more.
  17. Ask for professional help if you need it.

4 Ways to Drink More Water

Are you struggling to drink more water each day? Here are my top 4 tips for drinking more water.

Start Early. Start each morning by drinking at least 2 cups of water before you eat or drink anything else. Doing so will hydrate you and get your day started right.

Use a Reusable Water Bottle. Purchase a large, reusable water bottle to keep with you to sip on water throughout the day. Look for a water bottle that has measurements so that you can track your intake throughout the day.

Drink Before Eating. Before you begin to eat a snack or meal, drink at least 1 cup of water. This will help you get in more water before you become too full of food.

Make it a Habit. Make a habit of drinking water while doing other daily tasks. For example, drink water while you feed your child, read emails, or drive home from work.

Do you have other creative tips that help you drink more water?  Leave a comment and let others know about it!

The Good Fats

Not all fats are created equal. Healthy fats help support heart health, decrease inflammation, and support neurological health in adults.  In children, healthy fats are crucial for growth and healthy brain development.  The following foods are examples of healthy fats to include for yourself and your family!

Omega-3 Fats (a type of polyunsaturated fat)

Found in:

  • Fatty Fish– salmon, tuna, trout, herring, sardines and mackerel are examples of fatty fish. Try to have fish at least twice a week.
  • Walnuts– add 1 oz walnuts to cereal or salads, or eat raw as a snack.
  • Flaxseed– add 1-2 tablespoons of ground flaxseed to cereals, smoothies, oatmeal, yogurt, salads, or baked goods. Be sure to start with a small amount of flaxseed and gradually increase the amount you consume.  Too much too fast may cause digestive problems.  Do not consume more than 4 tablespoons of ground flaxseed daily.
  • Canola Oil– substitute canola oil for butter or margarine when cooking.

 

Monounsaturated Fats

Found in:

  • Nuts– enjoy a 1 oz portion of nuts as a snack, make your own trail mix, or add nuts to a salad.
  • Olive Oil– replace solid fats with olive oil while cooking.
  • Avocado– add avocado to salads, pizza, salsa, or sandwiches.
  • Nut Butters (peanut butter, almond butter, hazelnut butter, etc.)– enjoy a 2 tablespoon serving size of natural nut butter. Try nut butters on fruits and vegetables, crackers, and in smoothies.

What to Wear for Breastfeeding

Like many expecting mothers, I took childbirth and breastfeeding classes when I was pregnant. I highly recommend taking these classes to learn the basics of what to expect.  My husband and I learned a lot about breastfeeding at the class; however, there are many things that I learned only through experience—and trial and error.

There are so many nursing clothing options and accessories out there that it can be a bit overwhelming and expensive for a new mother. Having the right breastfeeding attire is important to make breastfeeding a little easier, but it doesn’t have to be complicated.  So, what do you really need to wear to be able to breastfeed?  Here’s my top 5 suggestions on how to dress for breastfeeding success.

Nursing Tanks

Tank tops designed for breastfeeding are great because the clip-down feature allows easy access to feed your child. Nursing tanks are great for wearing around the house, wearing underneath your shirt, or sleeping. Nursing tank tops are available at low and high price points. I suggest having a few on hand.

Nursing Bras

Similar to nursing tanks, nursing bras are essential to easy access for breastfeeding. Nursing bras are also more forgiving than regular bras, which make them more comfortable. Your breasts do fluctuate in size throughout the day when breastfeeding. Invest in some nursing bras—there is a wide variety to choose from to meet your needs. Some are made of stretchy material, which are great for sleeping, and others look more like a regular bra with clip-down cups. As with nursing tanks, it is up to you how much you want to spend on nursing bras. I suggest getting measured to find the appropriate bra size—and keep in mind that your bra size will likely go down around 10-12 months postpartum.

Nursing Pads

Nursing pads are important for the first several weeks of breastfeeding. Nursing pads are to be placed in your bra to catch any milk leaks—trust me you want these. Nursing pads can be disposable or washable and reusable. At some point, your milk supply will regulate and you will not have leaks, but nursing pads are essential in those first few weeks.

Cover-ups

Breastfeeding in public can be awkward for some women. So, having the right cover-up is important so that you can leave home with your baby and still be able to breastfeed. There are nursing ponchos designed to give you some privacy while nursing, but a receiving blanket or swaddling blanket will work well too. Keep one in baby’s diaper bag and throw it over your shoulder while feeding if you want to cover up. And don’t forget accessories—large scarfs and cardigan sweaters also work well as breastfeeding covers.

Layering and Nursing Tops

There are tops and dresses designed for nursing mothers that give you easy access to breastfeed. However, you can also wear regular tops and still make breastfeeding work. Layer a tank top underneath your regular shirt, and when you are ready to nurse, just pull up the top layer. This allows your belly to stay covered by the tank and the top of your breast to be covered with the shirt. Another trick is to use a belly band that you may have used during pregnancy to cover your abdomen. Wear the belly band under a regular shirt to give some coverage when you lift your shirt to breastfeed.

Toddler Food of the Week: Sweet Potato Fries

Homemade sweet potato fries are absolutely delicious and nutritious, and my toddler is loving them this week. Sweet potatoes are full of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and fiber.  Homemade fries make a great snack or side dish for your baby or toddler because they are soft, easy to handle, filling, and so easy to make.  Sweet potatoes are in season during the fall and winter months, so take advantage of them while you can!  Try them for yourself!

  1. Peel potatoes and cut into lengthwise strips.
  2. Arrange potatoes evenly spaced on baking sheet.
  3. Drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Toss potatoes to coat evenly.
  4. Bake for about 20 minutes on 425° F (220° C) until soft.
  5. Allow fries to cool and enjoy!

Immune-Boosting Nutrition

It’s that time of year again– cold and flu season. Eat the right foods to boost your immune system and help your body fight off seasonal illnesses.  Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and zinc have important roles in immunity.  The following foods are chock full of these immune-boosting nutrients, so be sure to include them daily.

Vitamin A

Recommended Dietary Allowance*: male 900 mcg (micrograms); female 700 mcg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin A Content:

  • 1 whole sweet potato- 1,400 mcg
  • ½ cup cooked spinach- 573 mcg
  • ½ cup raw carrots- 459 mcg
  • 1 cup cow’s milk- 149 mcg
  • 1 mango- 112 mcg

Vitamin C

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 90 mg (milligrams); female 75 mg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin C Content:

  • ½ cup red pepper, raw- 95 mg
  • 1 medium orange- 70 mg
  • ¾ cup orange juice- 93 mg
  • ½ cup cooked broccoli- 51 mg
  • ½ cup strawberries- 49 mg
  • ½ cup cooked cabbage- 28 mg

Vitamin E

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 15 mg; female 15 mg

Selected Food Sources and Vitamin E Content:

  • 1 oz sunflower seeds- 7.4 mg
  • 1 oz almonds- 6.8 mg
  • 2 Tbsp peanut butter- 2.9 mg
  • ½ cup boiled spinach- 1.9 mg
  • ½ cup boiled broccoli- 1.2 mg

Zinc

Recommended Dietary Allowance: male 11 mg; female 8 mg

Selected Food Sources and Zinc Content:

  • 3 oz beef- 7 mg
  • 3 oz crab- 6.5 mg
  • ½ cup baked beans- 2.9 mg
  • 8 oz yogurt- 1.7 mg
  • 1 oz cashews- 1.6 mg
  • ½ cup chickpeas- 1.3 mg

*All Recommend Dietary Allowances listed are for non-pregnant, non-lactating adults.

Source: ods.od.nih.gov

Welcome to Feeding-Families!

Welcome to Feeding-Families, and thanks for stopping by my blog! I’m Whitney Wallace, and I am a registered dietitian nutritionist, mother to toddler Ava, and military wife.  I am passionate about health, and love providing good nutrition for my family.  I created Feeding-Families to provide practical nutrition and wellness information for the entire family.  I hope that you find this information helpful.