Summit Medical Group Oregon Registered Dietician and Weight Management specialist, Vanessa Cobarrubia, would like to share some of her top nutrition recommendations.

Do not give up all carbohydrate containing foods. Not all carbohydrates are bad. A healthy diet includes a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fat. Aim for whole intact grains such as oats, brown rice, spelt, bulgar, quinoa plus sweet potatoes, winter squash, fruits, beans, and lentils. Try to limit processed carbohydrates and food and beverages with added sugars.

Stay hydrated. Aim for 64-80 ounces (8-10 cups) of water per day. Try to keep track to ensure you are hitting this fluid goal.

Keep your gut bacteria happy by eating more plants. Aim for foods rich in prebiotic fibers like onions, garlic, leeks, apples, jicama, Jerusalem artichokes, oats, barley, greens, and seaweed to fuel your gut flora. Include a high quality, unsweetened (or low sugar) yogurt or kefir with breakfast or as a snack option to boost beneficial probiotics to keep your digestive tract healthy. Try to keep a lid on foods with added sugar and minimize artificial sweeteners.

Consider keeping a food log for a few weeks or longer to better understand your eating habits. Logging your food and beverage intake helps to bring awareness to your current eating habits. Some popular apps include Myfitnesspal, Fitbit, Lose It, and Spark People. Keeping a paper journal is also a great option and allows you to add additional comments about mood, stress, hunger, and more which can provide additional insight.

Work on mindful eating. Take time to chew your foods twenty times and try to slow down. Many of us multitask when eating, turn off the TV or your phone and focus on the act of eating. It is also super helpful to take pause and check in with hunger before eating. Ask yourself, “Am I hungry”, “Does this just look good”, “Am I eating just because everyone else is eating”, etc. Bringing awareness to why you eat is an important step in the journey to better food habits. And lastly, aim for reasonable portion sizes.

Make your food environment more supportive. Try to keep healthy options like fresh fruit, cut up vegetables and hummus, portion controlled servings of nuts and seeds, olives, and unsweetened yogurts around for quick snacks when hunger strikes.

A healthy diet benefits both physical and mental health and good nutrition is key to a healthy lifestyle. Research shows that what you eat can affect how you feel today and in the future. Following these tips will help get you on track to a healthier year.