American College of Nutrition Certified Nutrition Specialist | Author | Professor of Nutrition

 

The First New Habit of 2018 – Fruit!

Happy New Year!

I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and a fantastic start to your 2018.  picture of ripe strawberries

One of the best strategies to make resolutions actually happen is to break them into manageable pieces, and work on those one at a time. Once one is done, move on to the next. By the end of 2018 you can be so much healthier, and it can be easy.

Each month we will establish a new habit, form a new intention, or in some way make our lives healthier in a positive way. I hope you will play along with me – its amazing how quickly we can feel better.

The thing you can do that will have the biggest impact on your health is to eat more fruit.

Three to four servings a day is ideal. That may sound like a lot, but give it a try. I think you will like the way you feel.

Researchers from around the world found eating more fruit is the nutrition change that will prevent the most early deaths.

If you find yourself getting between 0-1 servings of fruit a day, you will feel tremendously better by getting 2-3 servings a day.

If you are a solid 2 servings of fruit a day person, adding another 1-2 servings will help you feel more energetic. It can also make you more resistant to colds and flu viruses. Research has found that people who eat two or more vitamin C rich foods (like fruit) each day get half the number of colds a year as people who don’t.

This is so easy to do. I hope you are having berries with your breakfast (here’s a link to the perfect breakfast), and if not start there. The antioxidants in berries work especially well in our brains, so they stay young and sharp. Berries also keep our blood sugar low and give us cancer-fighting pigments and fiber.

Next grab a bag of those seedless mini oranges – Cuties or Josies or Halos. They make a great snack and somehow citrus always gives us a boost of energy. This is also the season for regular oranges and grapefruit, and its all really good.

Apples and pears also are great snacks, and are especially filling when paired with peanut butter, almond butter or any other nut butter you like. Bananas too – they love peanut butter. Fruit and nuts as a snack will give you much more energy that cheese and crackers.

Trail mix with dried fruit is good too. Its easy to go overboard on dried fruit alone, so add some nuts to keep portions healthy.

Avocados and tomatoes are also technically fruits – so enjoy! Add them to a salad and you’ve got a serving of fruit to go along with your greens.

Fruit also makes a good dessert. I know, some of you are rolling your eyes, but give it a try. Melt a little dark chocolate and dip fruit in it. Or use this recipe to bake an apple. Its warm and comforting and delicious. Grab some grapes – they make a great dessert.

With a little planning and a few reminder notes on the door of the refrigerator, you can make getting more fruit a new habit. You will feel so much healthier when you do.

Creating a healthy habit that you love is a great way to start a new year. Let me know how it goes for you!

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