Good Health: Resolutions for healthier diet

Expert says first rethink your drink

ROYAL OAK, Mich. – If you over-indulged during the holidays, January is a good time to hit the reset button.

Local 4 asked Shannon Szeles, a wellness dietitian at Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, to share her top four resolutions to help improve diets in 2017.

She said if you make one change to your diet this year, resolve to rethink your drink.

"No. 1, the easiest thing you can do is choose a healthy beverage," Szeles said.

She recommended gradually replacing pops with fruit- or herb-infused water.

"People can drink up to three pops a day and that's up to 400 calories, "Szeles said. "That adds up to over 3,000 calories in a week. Just by making that switch alone, you can lose a pound a week."

Resolution No. 2 is to snack smarter.

"Fill up on fiber," Szeles said. "The key is to pair that fiber with a protein."

Some examples: a banana paired with one tablespoon of peanut butter, a cheese stick with a handful of almonds or walnuts or Greek yogurt with fresh fruit.

Szeles is also a fan of quinoa.

"A half cup of quinoa is going to add about 4 grams of protein and 3 grams of fiber, which is going to really balance out your meal, whether it be dinner or lunch, or you can even just snack on that and throw some fresh vegetables in there too," Szeles said.

Resolution No. 3 is to focus on eating foods that give you something good back.

"That's really my mantra that I like to promote," Szeles said. "Fruits and vegetables are low in calories and high in fiber, but they're also packed with antioxidants and vitamins and minerals and are really going to help to protect your body from all of the sicknesses that are going around."

Finally, resolve to ditch the devices while you eat.

"No. 4, mindful eating," Szeles said. "Being mindful and not mindless. In this world of technology, we're all distracted. Make sure you're turning off the computer, turning off the TV, putting away your cellphone and really focusing in on what you're eating. You can slow down. You can savor every bite and really enjoy your meal and that will help your body to communicate to your brain that you're full."

To make healthy eating less costly and less time-consuming, Szeles said her secret weapons are soups and frozen fruits and vegetables.

"I do a lot of batch cooking on the weekend and lots of hardy soups," she said. "If you do have to buy a frozen meal, plump it up with something easy. You can just open up a frozen bag, toss it in with that frozen meal and really add more value to what you're eating."

Szeles suggested starting with one of these resolutions and gradually working the others in. The immediate side effect will be more energy. Szeles said patients are often surprised by how much more energetic they feel when they start drinking more water and eating more vitamins and minerals.

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