So you've already resolved to eat healthier in 2015 — great!
But a blanket statement like "eat healthier" needs to be broken down into measurable actions in order for real change to occur. We enlisted Joy Bauer, "Today" show nutritionist and creator of Nourish Snacks, to give us some delicious specifics on eating not just healthy, but right in 2015.
Goal 1: Amp up your fruits and vegetables
"One of the easiest things people can do is to incorporate a produce item into every meal," Bauer told the Daily News.
Fruits and vegetables are high in volume but low in calories, so they provide a worthy nutritional bang for your buck. They also "shower your body with antioxidants," which prevent cell damage, Bauer said. Try microwaving oatmeal with some frozen berries, adding chopped tomatoes to eggs, or putting roasted peppers on your lunchtime sandwich. For dinner, serve a roasted vegetable on the side. As much as Bauer loves kale and spinach, she's setting her sights on a different leafy green this year. "Swiss chard I'm claiming as the new vegetable of 2015," she said. "Shred it and make a slaw, or sauté it with olive oil and garlic."
Goal 2: Cook at home at least three nights a week
"There are so many hidden fat traps you don't even realize you're gobbling down" when you go out to eat, Bauer said. Being in control of your meal means you'll go the extra mile to make it healthy — something your favorite takeout place probably won't.
Plus, it offers you a chance to bond with whoever's home — even if that's just your pet or yourself. Bauer recommends tripling your recipes and freezing the leftovers so you'll have easy access to meals when you're short on time.
Goal 3: Get your sweat on daily
Sweating it out for a half hour every day actually benefits your diet, because it puts you in the mindset to make healthy food choices as you go about your day, Bauer said.
Goal 4: Snack right
Your in-between bites need to be smart — especially considering that 25% of your day's calories come from snacking, Bauer said.
"I think this is probably one of the biggest places where people get tripped up," she told the Daily News. "When you eat the wrong snacks, you end up hungrier." Pay attention to what you're eating: a snack should be no more than 200 calories and contain either protein (found in yogurt and meat, for example) or fiber (present in produce and nuts) in order to keep you satiated. Bonus points if it has healthy fats (like peanut butter and avocadoes do) which will really help you feel full. Bauer — who created her own preportioned snack subscription service, Nourish Snacks, this year — loves nonfat Greek yogurt with sliced apple and nuts added in.
Goal 5: Forgive yourself if you mess up
The most successful people Bauer has worked with know that it's OK to have an off-day, as long as that off-day doesn't turn into an off-week or off-month. "We're human," Bauer said. "We can't expect to be perfect 24/7. So when you fall off the wagon you gotta shake it off and forgive yourself."
Your ultimate plan for moving forward: hitting the gym the next morning, having a protein-rich breakfast, and drinking a lot of water. "You're back on track by lunch," she said.