Food and fashion aren't so different. One season you're in, and the next you're out. Throughout the years, we've seen the good, the bad and the ugly. Sometimes, we look back and say to ourselves, "What was I thinking?" This year is no different. Let's take a look at healthy trends that are in and the not-so-healthy trends that I hope to see on the way out!
Out: Iceberg lettuce
When it comes to lettuce, use your eyes! The dark green, leafy vegetables are packed with nutrients, and kale is like spinach on steroids. One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber and 15 percent of the daily recommended calcium and vitamin B6. Not to mention, it amps up your salad by providing well over 100 percent of your daily value of vitamins A, C and K.
It's time for iceberg lettuce to leave the limelight. Although it's not bad for you at just 10 calories per serving, it's not a nutrient powerhouse. Iceberg lettuce contains less than 10 percent of your daily recommended value of almost all vitamins and minerals. You aren't doing your body any harm, but you could be doing your body a lot of good if you opt for kale.
Out: Artificial sweeteners
The little pink and blue packets that sit on the tables at restaurants and coffee shops are a tempting way to sweeten your beverages. It's zero calories, so what could be so bad, right? Turns out a lot. Studies suggest artificial sweeteners are linked to weight gain. Packing on pounds isn't exactly the best way to ring in 2013.
It's time we go back to our natural roots. According to the USDA, one tablespoon of honey is just 64 calories. Yes, that's a little more than zero, but your body will love the boost of potentially cancer-fighting antioxidants. Personally, I can't stand the ooey gooey mess, but then I discovered Nektar Honey Crystals granulated honey packets -- just 12 calories per packet! I recommend throwing a few packets in your purse so you'll be prepared for your next emergency coffee stop.
In: High-fiber carbs
Out: Low-carb diets
Carbs get a really bad rap. Truth is, too much of anything isn't good for you, but some carbs can actually help you lose weight. I like to call them angel carbs -- brown rice, couscous, quinoa, sweet potatoes and whole-wheat breads and crackers. One to two servings of these carbs a day can give you a big boost of fiber, which can help you lose weight by speeding up your metabolism.
It's time we stop running from carbs and start adding healthy, high-fiber carbs to our diets. I recommend my clients snack on FiberRich+ Crackers. You'll get 32 percent of your daily recommended value of fiber for just 45 calories.
In: Natural snacks
Out: Processed snacks
It's time we start being aware of what we put in our bodies. If you see an ingredient you can't pronounce, it's time to walk away -- these foods are out! This year, look for natural snacks with natural ingredients. If you do a little digging, you can find a natural version of your favorite addictive processed foods. No, you don't have to give up your peanut butter-filled pretzels. I've found an all-natural, GMO-free version in the Good Health brand.
This year is about being mindful. Read your nutrition labels, steer clear of processed foods and fill your body with health-boosting goodies.
For more by Heather Bauer, RD, CDN, click here.
For more on personal health, click here.