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With the first work week of 2015 well underway, many people are focusing on their New Year's resolutions. If yours includes eating more fruits and vegetables or an overall healthier diet, Christy Brissette and Geremy Capone at the ELLICSR Kitchen have a few tips and tools to get you started.
Did you overindulge on sugar-laden sweets and high-calorie treats this holiday season? If you're like most Canadians, this January you have New Year's resolutions on your mind. Whether it's detox diets, juicing, drinking more water or eating more vegetables, some resolutions are healthier than others.
If you want to lose weight or improve your overall health, it's best to avoid restrictive diets or cleanses. Why not challenge yourself to make a change that is sustainable and achievable? For example, make it your New Year's resolution to pack a healthy lunch each day or cut down on added sugars. These changes will help you feel better, improve your health and you're more likely to be able to stick to them. It's also a good idea to talk to your health care provider before starting a diet to make sure it is safe. A dietitian can help you make sure you're getting the nutrients you need.
Here are the ELLICSR Kitchen's top three healthy New Year's resolutions and the tools you need to make them happen!
Resolution 1: Cut down on added sugars
Do you have a sweet tooth? Most of the sugar we eat should come from sugars naturally found in nutritious foods like whole fruits. Added sugars in processed foods and drinks are empty calories and can add up fast, increasing the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes and some cancers.
Check out this ELLICSR Kitchen YouTube video for my tips and recipes from Chef Geremy Capone. This video will show you how to slash added sugars from your diet while still having food and drinks that taste great!
Resolution 2: Get more vegetables
Getting more vegetables into our diets can help control weight and improve our health. But chopping and cooking vegetables for each meal can seem like a chore. As a result, people may turn to juicing as a way to increase their daily dose of vegetables.
While having a glass or two of fresh vegetable juice can be part of a healthy diet, the main problem with juicing is it removes the fibre from vegetables. What's left is nutrients such as antioxidants and vitamins, but also lots of sugar. As a result, having juice alone can cause energy levels to crash and leave you feeling hungry.
Having juice on its own as a cleansing or detox diet can do more harm than good for several reasons. Juicing removes the fibre from your vegetables. Fibre is needed for a healthy digestive system, to prevent constipation, and to prevent colorectal cancer. Fibre is also essential to help prevent and manage diabetes and heart disease.
Juice is low in protein which is needed to maintain muscle mass. If you lose weight quickly it tends to be mostly in the form of muscle and not fat, which slows down your metabolic rate and makes it harder to control weight over the long-term. This means you could put any weight you lost back on… and even gain more weight. Juice diets are also lacking in healthy fats which are needed to help your body absorb vitamins such as A and D.
Read more about the pros and cons of juicing on the ELLICSR blog.
For a healthier way to get your vegetables quickly, try adding them to your smoothies. This Green Monster Smoothie recipe is packed with leafy greens and has protein and healthy fats from nuts and Greek yogurt.
Check out this ELLICSR Kitchen video for a fool-proof smoothie every time!
Resolution 3: Pack a healthy lunch
Are you spending your hard-earned money on grab-and-go lunch options that are less nutritious than you'd like?
Give Chef Geremy's Hearty Tuscan White Bean and Pumpkin Soup a try. You can make a large batch in a crockpot and freeze it into lunch-sized portions.
Diets rich in vegetables and legumes such as beans may lower the risk of some types of cancer. It is also an excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A and C.
As a bonus, broth-based soups are a great way to help you get to and keep a healthy body weight because they fill up your stomach with fewer calories. This soup has 8 grams of fibre and 9 grams of protein per serving which will keep you feeling satisfied for longer.
What's your resolution for 2015? Tweet us @UHN_News and @ELLICSRkitchen.
The ELLICSR Kitchen is a cooking and nutrition program at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre. Go to ELLICSRkitchen.ca to find recipes, cooking tips and nutrition education to help you follow a healthy diet. The Patient Education and Survivorship Programs are supported by The Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation.