We all know we need to eat more fruits and vegetables – in fact, the USDA recommends filling half your plate with them. The New Year is often the reset button for American diets and exercise as many people look to become healthier. However, New Year’s resolutions to eat a balanced diet and get more workouts in don’t always stick as we get bored or lose motivation.
The key to making your new healthy habits last? Fueling a new routine with foods you truly enjoy. The good news is that it’s easy to eat more fruits and vegetables to fuel your day while still loving what you eat. Here are a few tips to make your New Year’s Resolutions stick.
Make good carbohydrates part of your daily ritual
Some of the best carbohydrates are fruits and vegetables. So, yes, you should enjoy carbs – we recommend you eat them every day. Start simple with healthy eating by incorporating your favorite fruits and vegetables that you already love. Make them a part of your daily ritual by aiming to have at least one fruit and veggie at every meal, starting with breakfast to set the tone for your day. A perfect way to incorporate veggies is with potatoes, which are one of the most popular vegetables in the United States and a nutrient-dense source of energy. Potatoes are a good source of several key nutrients like vitamin C, potassium and vitamin B6. What’s more, this delicious vegetable is both affordable and convenient, making it an easy addition to your new routine.
Because your body’s own stores of carbohydrates are limited and may be depleted–even in a single session of intense or prolonged exercise, it’s important to replenish them.1 An active lifestyle requires adequate energy intake and you don’t want to feel weak or famished after exercise, so it’s important to fuel properly. Potatoes provide the carbohydrates, potassium and energy you need to perform at your best. Protein, of course, is another key nutrient for athletic performance – a medium-size (5.3 ounce), skin-on potato has 3 grams of plant-based protein.
The Mediterranean Diet remains one popular way to eat a variety of plant-based foods to improve overall health. It is less of a diet and more of an eating plan that a lot of people are interested in – especially as we approach the New Year and Americans re-think their health. Not only is it nutritious, but it remains popular for its signature combination of whole ingredients like vegetables (including potatoes), fruits, beans, nuts and healthy fats like olive oil. These recipes are easy, delicious and budget-friendly – but most importantly, they’re nutritious! Consider starting your day with a Spanish Potato Tortilla or adding some flair to your dinner spread with a Manhattan Paella, both inspired by the Mediterranean Diet.
- Burke LM, Hawley JA, Wong SH, Jeukendrup AE. Carbohydrates for training and competition. J Sports Sci. 2011;29(Suppl 1):S17-27.