Got Resolutions? 10 Ways to Eat Healthier This January (And Beyond)

Chef Jonathan Poyourow making healthy pumpkin pancakes with his son, Sean.

Registered dietitian and JWU Providence Assistant Professor Chef Jonathan Poyourow making healthy pumpkin pancakes with his sous chef, son Sean.

After a busy and food-filled holiday season, many of us make January a time to cut back, take stock and re-prioritize.

Not sure where to start with your New You resolutions? JWU culinary nutrition experts and staff members from various campus departments share 10 tips to make 2016 a healthier, stress-free year.

1. No one wants to find the pill that lets you burn twice the calories (while putting in half the effort) more than I do. However, as tempting as these products are, they never work. What does work the vast majority of the time are a couple of hours of moderate activity per week and watching what you eat. Save the money that you would spend on the newest diet supplement, and get yourself a cheap gym membership and a few extra products from the produce section of the grocery store. –Chef Todd Seyfarth, RD, CSSD, associate professor and department chair of culinary nutrition, Culinary Arts

2. Stay hydrated. Drink eight, 8-ounce glasses of water daily. Use fresh cut fruits like pineapple, cucumber, lemon, and lime to enhance the flavor of water. Thirst is often mistaken for hunger. Before you chose to eat a sugary snack, grab a glass of water.–Tarah Warner, nutritional analyst, Campus Dining

A good health regiment requires attention to diet, exercise, stress management + sleep.”-Todd Seyfarth

3. Limit calories from added sugars and saturated fats and reduce sodium intake. Consume an eating pattern low in added sugars, saturated fats, and sodium. Cut back on foods and beverages higher in these components to amounts that fit within healthy eating patterns.–Chef Jonathan Poyourow, RD, LD, assistant professor of culinary nutrition, Culinary Arts

4. Set daily intentions to live your life with more compassion. A compassionate lifestyle improves emotional and spiritual well-being.–Jean Russell, clinical counselor and training coordinator, Counseling Services

5. If you or someone you know is interested in cutting back or quitting tobacco in 2016 the Rhode Island Health Department is offering a free two-week supply of FDA-approved, safe and effective Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) while supplies last. Call the RI Smokers’ Helpline 1-800-QuitNow or visit QuitNowRI.com and QuitWorksRI.org for more information.

A trained quit coach will help you create a quit plan and connect you with free evidence-based quit tools and self-help materials. As the campus prepares to become tobacco-free in July 2016, resources can also be found online.–Kristen Buglione, director of health education, Health Services

6. I know it seems impossible, but a good health regiment requires attention to your diet, exercise, stress management, and appropriate sleep. Don’t overdo it in one of these areas if it’s going to mean that you have to neglect one of the others. Small, reasonable, obtainable, and sustainable changes are needed to improve our health, and the health of our friends and family. It always sounds cliché when I say it, but moderation is often the key to success.–Chef Todd Seyfarth

7. Focus on variety, nutrient density, and amount when deciding what to eat. To meet nutrient needs within calorie limits, choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods across and within all food groups in recommended amounts. These foods include all fresh fruits and vegetables, high fiber carbohydrates (beans, lentils, whole wheat breads, cereals and pastas), as well as lean proteins such as fish, tofu, pork and beef tenderloin.–Chef Jonathan Poyourow

Take time to plan and pack your lunches and snacks for the work week.”-Alan Segee

8. Take time during the weekend to plan and pack your lunches and snacks for the work week. It can help to avoid trips to the vending machine.–Alan Segee, director of sports medicine, Athletics

9. Cultivate more pause and patience during times of stress. This will often widen your perspective and lead to more clarity. Practicing five to 10 minutes of mindful meditation per day can improve your overall health and stress management.–Jean Russell

10. One trip to the gym doesn’t make you healthy, and taking a day off from the gym from time-to-time doesn’t make you unhealthy… that’s an easy concept to wrap your head around, but the same principle applies to your diet. I usually want people to follow a nutritionally balanced diet at least 80% of the time. You can look at this to mean that if you are eating 3 meals per day, you can enjoy up to 4 guilt-free, indulgent meals per week, or you can look at it as meaning that you can allow up to a 5th of your plate to be made up of less-than-ideal food items without negatively impacting your dietary goals.–Chef Todd Seyfarth

Looking for more healthy recipe ideas? Explore our Changing the Way the World Eats recipe section for more dishes created by our JWU experts.

Two healthy dishes for 2016: Lemon parmesan cauliflower steaks (left) + roasted sweet potato soup.

Healthy dishes by JWU chefs: cauliflower steaks and swete potato soup.

Topics: Culinary Nutrition Providence Experts Health & Wellness