Setting some goals and cutting back on certain foods can help improve your nutrition this year

It can be easy to put on a few pounds during winter when we get the urge to stay inside and nest. But staying on track with healthy eating can be as simple as setting a few goals to stick to a healthier menu.

 

1. Eat more fruit and vegetables

One goal is to focus on eating more fruit and vegetables. Winter is the perfect season for roasting root vegetables, such as potatoes, parsnips, carrots and beets. The fibre in produce also keeps the microbiome level—the collection of good bacteria—in balance, which may reduce the risk of autoimmune diseases, fight off pathogens and infections and even improve mood. Studies show that eating more fruit and vegetables can help significantly reduce the risk for a number of chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity and cancer.

 

2. Avoid processed food

Trying to stay clear of refined products is yet another step toward healthier eating habits. Some products contain too many refined grains, additives, preservatives, unhealthy fats and large amounts of added sugar and salt. Stick to grains in their most natural state such as quinoa, wild rice and oats. A claim of “whole grains” on products can be misleading: whole grains should always be the first ingredient listed and there should be little—if any—added sugar.

 

3. Cut back on red meat

One final way to stick to healthier eating is to cut back on the amount of red meat that’s consumed. Research continues to suggest that reducing the consumption of red meat is healthier for us—and also for the planet. Switching to other sources for protein, such as beans, nuts and dairy can help fill the daily protein quota—about 56 grams daily for men and 46 grams for women.