by Lexi Petronis
It's super easy to think of all the things we shouldn't eat--be honest, did your resolutions for 2014 include things like, "no more sugar," "no more coffee," or "throw away all the cheesy tortilla chips"?--but! There are plenty of foods and eating habits to keep in your diet, too. To prove it, Tara Gidus, R.D., the host of Emotional Mojo and team dietitian of the Orlando Magic, compiled this list of the top kinds of foods not to ditch this year.
1. Snacks: Snacks aren't a bad thing--in fact, they're good at keeping hunger at bay so you don't eat more than you want to at mealtime. Tara says that nuts are a good choice; they're filled with protein and heart-healthy fats, and--while raw and dry-roasted varieties are good ideas--you can complement them with flavored varieties (Tara likes David Wasabi and Soy Sauce Almonds).
2. Whole grains: They're high in fiber, which--again--helps keep you feeling full, while also helping reduce blood cholesterol levels (and maybe lowering risk of heart disease). One idea: low-fat popcorn. Tara says that researchers discovered people who eat popcorn while watching TV eat 32 percent fewer calories during their snack sessions. Look for popcorn that has zero grams of transfats; she points out that Orville Redenbacher's has good options from which to choose.
3. Occasional treats: There's nothing wrong with eating sweet treats when you want them, Tara says--denying yourself completely may result in crankiness, for one, but it could also up your urges to eat the whole carton of ice cream once it's around. Stocking some healthier options for treats can help too, because it makes it easier to reach for those first: Healthy Choice Greek Frozen Yogurt, Sheila G's Brownie Brittle, Silk Chocolate Almond Milk.
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4. Pre-made meals and snacks: "I almost always have a healthy frozen meal for lunch," Tara says. "They're a great option when you're looking for a quick, healthy, hot meal at home or at the office." The key here though is finding the right ones; some frozen meals can pack as much as 1,800 milligrams of sodium and not enough veggies. Read labels carefully, and add a piece of fruit or a whole-grain roll to round out the meal.
5. Protein for breakfast: "Protein is metabolized slowly, meaning you will have increased energy throughout the day," Tara says. That means that having some things like peanut butter, avocado, yogurt, or eggs can be key ingredients to that morning meal. One recent study even found that egg whites may keep you feeling fuller throughout the day--and if you don't necessarily have the time to be separating eggs in the morning rush, you can do what Tara does and whip up Egg Beaters Smart Cups.
OK, so what healthy-eating habits did you resolve to keep this year?