We now enter an interesting time of year – the Holiday Season. We become festive and at the same time introspective. It can be a time of excess food and drink and yet at the same time we start to ponder our New Year’s Resolution – changes we will make or what we will do differently in the coming year. For many the last thing we want to hear about is how to eat healthier, but why not, that’s what I do! Here’s a few simple suggestions for a healthier New Year, or perhaps you may want to start them now!

1. Start your morning off with a healthy protein shake for breakfast. Please use whey or rice based protein and avoid soy (I’ve written in the past on the dangers of soy protein). This is a great way to get your breakfast protein. Remember we want to have protein with each meal. And, it is a great way to eat some fruit (like a cup of frozen berries) for antioxidant protection and fiber. Berries – blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries have the most antioxidants, but you can also use half a banana, pineapple, mango, cherries, or kiwi. You can even add in some yogurt or kefir for probiotics (the good bacteria) to help your digestion and some ground flax seeds, flax seed oil, or chia seeds for healthy fats.

2. While we’re talking fats – make your own salad dressings from extra virgin olive oil and use it! Mix the olive oil with balsamic vinegar, red wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar, or lemon juice; add some garlic, Dijon mustard, or other spices and you have a very tasty dressing. Have a salad with some chicken or tuna for lunch, or have a side salad with dinner.

3. Eat one organic carrot a day! And I don’t mean a “baby” carrot. You do know there really is no such thing as a baby carrot, right? The carrot has lots of vitamins, minerals and fiber; and if it is organic you don’t even have to peel it. Just wash, eat and enjoy!

4. Eat one serving of leafy greens per day. You can get these in your salad from a variety of lettuces (no iceberg please) or for the most nutrition have kale, chard, mustard greens, collard greens, beet greens, or spinach. Except for lettuce, all the other leafy greens I mentioned are best steamed or sauted to get the most nutrition from them and they tend to taste better, particularly when sauted with garlic and butter!

5. Make home-made soups. As it gets colder our body wants to be warmed and home-made soup is a great way to do it. Start from scratch, if it is beef based or chicken based use the bones! Why does chicken soup have the reputation for healing? Because of all the nutrients (minerals) that leach out of the bones while it is being cooked. Soup is also a great way to get your vegetables in – celery, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower, onions, cabbage – and many more all go great in soup. I’ve recently become fond of cooking the soup and for the final touch putting it my VitaMax for a tasty blended soup. That’s a great way to hide the vegetables from the veggie-phobics in the family!

So, there you have it. What do you say? These aren’t too bad are they? Try them out, one or all of them. I can guarantee you’ll be pleased if you do.

Bernard Rosen, PhD is a Nutrition Consultant and Educator. He works with individuals, groups, and at corporations to create individualized nutrition and wellness programs. His office is in Thiensville, WI. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call (262) 389-9907 or go to www.brwellness.com.