After the holidays, we often make resolutions to eat healthier. However, it can feel like throwing spaghetti at a wall to see what sticks.

Take note of these nutrition tips from Forbes Health Advisory Board experts to set yourself up for success this year. Their advice will help you get started in the new year, whether you want to improve your immune system through the foods you eat and take control over your gut health.

Start small

“The best advice for New Year’s resolutions is to let go of the all-or nothing mentality,” advises Melina Jampolis. She is an internist and board certified physician nutrition specialist. You can set smaller milestones or interim goals on the way to your bigger goal. Keep a record of your successes and write them down in your journal. Don’t let any setbacks get you off-track. It is possible to make small, but significant changes over time that lead to great results.

Janese laster, M.D. is a board-certified physician in internal medicine, gastroenterology, and obesity medicine. She also serves as a nutrition specialist and provides similar advice.

Take it one step at the time when you are trying to change your diet. Dr. Laster says don’t expect to make drastic changes overnight. It’s a recipe of disaster. Each week, set a weekly goal that you can work towards. It will become easier as you go along. You can avoid sodas, juice and fast food, and increase water, fruits, and vegetables.

You can fill your plate with beans and leafy greens

Dr. Jampolis advises that people should eat more beans and leafy vegetables. They also provide fiber that is good for healthy cholesterol and can improve everything, from blood sugar to gut health to appetite control. She says they are a good source for magnesium which helps to maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar. They also provide disease-fighting phytonutrients as well as antioxidants.

She adds that leafy greens are low in calories and can be eaten regularly (a little more then a portion per day) to reduce your risk of developing diabetes. It may also improve brain function to the same level as being 11 years younger. They are rich in vitamin K, beta carotene and magnesium which support immunity.

Concentrate on adding, not subtracting

“For a healthy kick” Jackie Newgent is a plant-forward registered dietetic nutritionist, classically-trained chef, and award-winning cookbook author.

She adds that it is important to set a goal for yourself to ensure you will continue to do it. For example, you could set a goal to eat at least one serving of vegetables every weekday for breakfast. This could include a side salad (yes salad is also for breakfast). A veggie and fruit smoothie or sweet potato hashbrows, sweet potato hazel browns, sweet potatoes on top of avocado toast, last night’s vegetables in your eggs/plant-based eggs, or a breakfast inspired crudite board are all options.

Taste the Rainbow

“Consume a vibrant diet–color your plates with various fruits, vegetables and whole grains. This is what Taylor Wallace, Ph.D ., CEO of Think Healthy Group, a nutrition and food science research firm, advises. Use vegetable oil and garlic to saute your vegetables. Canola and soybean oils have lower saturated fats than most other oils, but avoid butter and margarine. You can increase your intake of lean proteins by adding spices such as cumin and rosemary to your dishes. The more color you have, the better!

He also recommends that you cut down on sugar and refined carbs (white rice, bread, and other products with added sugar) to replace them with whole grains. Oats, he says, are a nutritional powerhouse. He says, “Hint”: Many low-fat products such as cereals, diet bars, and grain bowls contain lots of sugar and/or refined grains.

What about the drinks? Wallace suggests that you try flavored vodka soda on weekends (but avoid mixers such as tonic water) or drink a light beer or glass red wine instead of sugary drinks such as margaritas and daiquiris, which contain flavored syrup. “Numerous studies have shown beneficial effects of moderate consumption (not overconsumption–stick with one drink per day) on the cardiovascular system.”

Prioritize Potassium

Wallace says that you shouldn’t try to reduce sodium in your diet unless hypertension or heart disease is a concern. Instead, choose foods rich in potassium such as bananas, dates and clams, low-fat yogurt, white beans, coconut water, white beans, white beans, white beans, bananas, dates and nonfat yogurt. We eat too much sodium, which is high in processed foods, and not enough potassium. For optimal cardiovascular health, a delicate balance between these electrolytes is necessary. In healthy individuals, cutting sodium (salt), has only minor and insignificant effects. It’s all about potassium!

Get More Plants

Jeffery Landsman M.D. is triple board-certified in family, lifestyle, and geriatric medicine. It can also help you achieve your ideal body weight. These foods could also help boost your immune function which is something we would all benefit from at this difficult time. This type of diet can be started at an earlier age to prevent diseases and may even reverse hypertension and diabetes.

He says that planning ahead is crucial.

He says that spending some time on the weekend shopping for the right ingredients and simple food prep makes it easier to eat well all week. I encourage my patients to eat a more whole-food, plant-based diet. You will reap many health benefits by making small changes.

Jaspal Sing, M.D. is vice chair and associate professor at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York City. He shares similar advice. Dr. Singh advises that you only eat one completely plant-based meal per week. “Substitute water or soft drinks for juice a few times per week. You must keep track of your successes and check in with yourself. It’s okay to cheat on occasion.

Concentrate on your Immune System

Keep your immune system in top shape. Toby Amidor is a registered dietitian and nutrition expert, as well as a cookbook author. “If your immune system works well, it will be easier to fight viruses, bacteria, or other things that could make you sick,”. “A global pandemic has changed the way we see our health and the health of our families. It’s easy for us to feel that the odds are against us. Your first line defense against illness is to ensure your family’s resilience and immune system strength.

She adds that it is more important than ever to ensure our immune systems work at their peak efficiency. Although it sounds complicated, it all comes down to what you eat. A healthy diet keeps your immune system in optimum shape. A poor diet can lead to a decrease in immunity. It’s easy to forget the benefits of eating well during stressful times.

Try the Mediterranean Diet

“Diets that increase blood sugar cause an increase in inflammation. A brain in constant states of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) cannot function well,” Philip Stieg M.D.. He is a board-certified neurosurgeon. There is also a connection between inflammation and mood disorders as well as long-term neurodegenerative diseases such Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Researchers are now calling Alzheimer’s disease “type 3 diabetes” because of the high risk for people who eat poorly.

“You are what your eat” is a common expression used to make fun of people’s diets. He adds that it isn’t a joke. He adds, “What you eat has significant effects on your health, something Jean-Anthelme Brillat Savarin, a renowned French gastronome, understood when he wrote, Tell me about what you eat and I will tell ya what it is.’

Protect Your Gut

Lenore Cangeloso is a board-certified herbal medicine practitioner and acupuncturist. “I believe that healthy digestion can be the foundation for good health.” she says. It’s important to eat warm foods, drink bone broth and wear a scarf as we move into flu season. This winter, limit your intake of processed sugars, raw foods, and dairy products.

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