A New Year of Food: Buy, Sell or Hold?
Dec. 29, 2016
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Achieving your financial goals and reaching your wellness goals may not be as different as you might think. Knowing what to buy, sell and hold is crucial when it comes to both your finances and your food choices. "If you are a wise investor, you would keep the high-risk portion of your portfolio to a minimum; and it's the same story with your food choices," says Joseph Colella, M.D., a Pittsburgh-based bariatric surgeon and weight-loss specialist. "The consequences of those choices could not be more important."
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Buy: Lean Protein
If you'd like stable and reliable returns on your investments in your waistline, opt for foods loaded with lean protein, says Dr. Joseph Colella. "The results of your efforts will increase your lean body mass, improve your metabolism and suppress your appetite better," he says. He also recommends increasing daily protein intake with a protein shake that has a minimum of 20 grams of protein and less than 5 grams of sugar. And serve it chilled for a better taste.
Related: 8 Unconventional Protein Sources
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Buy: Canola Oil
When cooking in the new year, change up your meal plan by using canola, grapeseed and olive oil, says Carolyn Gundell, nutritionist at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut. "Canola oil helps to reduce cellular oxidative stress in our bodies and supports good reproductive hormone health," she says.
Related: Which Cooking Oil is Best? The Pros and Cons of 16 Kinds
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Add some color, flavor and texture to your food this year with a variety of lentils, also known as edible beans. Lentils are packed with folate, protein and fiber, which helps our bodies metabolize sugar, says nutritionist Carolyn Gundell. And they're relatively inexpensive. "Beans in general are good for you, but avoid canned beans," she says. "Canned beans can have up to 50 percent less folate."
Related: What Pulses Are and Why You Should Be Eating Them
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Hold: Chicken Stock
When preparing soups and sauces, take a moderate approach with chicken stock this year. "As long as it is a low-sodium version, chicken stock is a great way to add flavor to foods without adding fat and calories,” says nutritionist Carolyn Gundell. Use it in place of water sparingly when cooking and don’t overdo it with high-sodium brands.
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Hold: Complex Carbs
People tend to use the term "moderation" as an excuse to dabble in higher sugar foods, says Dr. Joseph Colella. But be proactive by holding onto minimal servings of snacks with complex carbs, such as apples and grapes. "Keep things in perspective and be aware that when eating higher sugar foods, you may notice an increase in your appetite -- don’t give in when it happens," he says.
Related: 16 Diet-Friendly Healthful Carbs
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For a quick snack and a moderate boost to your daily nutrition, grab a handful of nuts. "Nuts are packed with all sorts of nutrients linked with heart health: fiber, phytochemicals, vitamins, minerals and healthy fats," says Sharon Palmer, California-based dietitian and author of "The Plant-Powered Diet." Avoid eating the whole bag, though. "Nuts are concentrated in calories, so you should have only one handful a day," she says.
Related: 9 Healthy Nuts That May Help You Live Longer
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Sell: White Flour
A common ingredient in baking cookies, cakes and other treats is white flour. It’s time to sell this marker of low-quality foods and seek a healthier alternative, says dietician Sharon Palmer. "When you snack on refined white flour in cookies, crackers, donuts and bagels, your blood glucose responds more quickly to this refined source of carbohydrates," she says. "It’s better to switch to whole grains."
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Sell: Refined Sugars
The high-risk commodities in your kitchen are the intensely sugar-laden foods and drinks, says Dr. Joseph Colella. Cakes, cookies and ice cream are the most common, but don’t forget to boot orange juice and other fruit juices containing large amounts of natural (and often unnatural) sugar. "They increase your blood sugar and jack up your appetite for more and more sugar, leading you into a vicious cycle of an out-of-control appetite," he says.
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Toss out the margarine this year and cook up something healthier. Margarine is highly processed and contains ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (what a mouthful!) that contributes to clogged arteries and may even irritate your skin, says Elizabeth Prebish, nutritionist for OrganicLife, a Chicago-based school lunch program. Even if the product claims to have zero trans fat, Prebish says it likely includes at least .49 grams or less, and every little bit counts. Instead, opt for light butter spreads or organic unsalted butter.
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What Do YOU Think?
What does your current grocery list look like? Are you revamping it for the new year? Do any of your New Year's resolutions revolve around food? How are you planning to make your diet healthier in the new year? Are you banning any of the foods on this list? Or adding any of the good ones? Share your thoughts and suggestions in the comments below!
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