Face it, the past year has been tough. It's been all too easy to lose track of your wellness goals, especially around nutrition. The good news is, you can get back on track by working toward "small wins" - simple steps that improve your nutrition - and celebrate each one to inspire further improvements. In a recent online survey, 80% said that their perception of health and wellness has changed over the past year. The survey, conducted by Pollfish for Simply Good Foods based in the US also found that 59% were trying to eat a better diet.
"Nutrition is key to achieving overall wellness," said Colette Heimowitz, MS, New York Times bestselling author and vice president of Nutrition Communication and Education at Atkins in the US. "Making small changes today can reap big gains down the road, improving your well-being for years to come."
What small wins can help improve your nutrition?
You're more likely to stick with changes if they're not too hard to achieve. Aim for simple ways to increase protein and healthy fats while reducing carbs and sugar. Here are some ideas to get you started.
1. Make easy recipe swaps, like swapping out mashed potatoes for whipped cauliflower. Steam or boil cauliflower florets 10-15 minutes (check with fork for softness), then let sit in a colander or strainer for a while to drain excess water. Mash or use food processor to blend cauliflower with your choice of butter, sauteed garlic or other seasonings.
2. Enjoy sweet treats with less sugar and more protein. Or boost your energy with a Chocolate Almond Butter Protein Bar, made with a soft dough layer topped with real almond butter, almond crunch and a delicious chocolatey coating. With a whopping 16 grams of protein, each bar can satisfy your hunger on the go, without tons of sugar.
3. Increase your vitamin intake by using seasonal produce and nutrient-rich proteins to boost the vitamin content of your dishes. Grate veggies like carrots into ground meat dishes and casseroles for extra vitamin A, C and B6, plus other nutrients. Vitamin D is also harder to get enough of during colder months, when you spend less time in the sunshine. Foods rich in vitamin D include tuna and salmon, cheese and egg yolks.
4. Find recipes that support your nutrition goals. Here's one great option for a veggie-ful, zesty soup to warm you up on cold days, from Atkins.com/Recipes.
Roasted Red Pepper Soup
Total Time: 25 Minutes
1 small onion
12 ounces roasted bell peppers
2 medium stalks celery
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated)
2 (14.5-ounce) cans chicken broth, bouillon or consommé
7 fluid ounces water
2/3 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Heat oil in medium saucepan over medium heat.
Dice celery and white onion. Mince garlic and add all three to pan, cook and stir occasionally about 8 minutes or until softened.
Add diced roasted peppers, water and broth. Bring to boil; lower heat and simmer 5 minutes.
Puree soup in batches in blender or food processor until smooth.
Return soup to saucepan; stir in cream. Heat gently.
Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese before serving. Optional: Serve with drizzle of sour cream.
Makes 6 servings.