Have you made your nutrition resolutions? If so, they might look like these:
- Try a month-long cleanse
- Launch into a vegan diet
- Test out gluten-free eating
- Lose weight
Or maybe the only resolution on your list is to learn to fuel while training for your first marathon.
If you're still undecided and don't want to be left out of the resolution loop, check out the following list. These resolutions all carry worthwhile nutritional benefits.
1. Avoid Aspartame and other synthetic sugars.
Aspartame is an artificial sweetener used as a sugar substitute in some foods and drinks. It is also sold under the brand name NutraSweet.
Aspartame's negative side effects include Methanol (wood alcohol) which is a dangerous neurotoxin and a known carcinogen. Synthetic sugars contribute to acidity, a condition which leads to inflammation and the creation of fat cells to store that extra acid. So ironically, consistent consumption of Aspartame could add to your weight.
2. Avoid refined sugar.
White, refined sugar weakens the immune system by stealing your white blood cell's ability to destroy bacteria. It can also encourage addiction to eating foods devoid of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
3. Eat more greens and veggies.
This boosts your intake of antioxidants, B vitamins, calcium, magnesium, zinc and omega-3s.
Include: a daily serving of greens, a daily serving of coloured veggies (can include bright-colored berries), and a daily serving of sulphur-producing vegetables such as cabbage, broccoli, turnips, onions, and garlic.
4. Eat more fermented foods.
The healthy bacteria in fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can speed up your digestion and assimilation of nutrients. These foods also help reduce sweet cravings (and when you do indulge, fermented foods help digest the sugars).
5. Log your food intake.
Write down what you eat every day and when you eat it. The timing of your food intake affects how you feel and tracking what you eat is a helpful sports performance tool.
6. Make your own power bars and gels.
The nutritional value of processed energy bars is often the equivalent of candy bars. Homemade bars and gels with nutrient-dense calories are less expensive and easy to make.
Here is an energy gel recipe you can use.
Blend the following in a blender or food processor:
- 8 medjool dates or 10 to 12 pitted dates (soaking them overnight makes these easier to blend)
- 4 tablespoons agave or maple syrup or honey
- 4 tablespoons chia seeds (high in protein, fiber, omega-3s, calcium)
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons lime zest
- 2 teaspoon dulce (seaweed) flakes, snipped in tiny pieces
- couple of pinches of sea salt
The mixture can be stiff so you'll have to stop the blender and scrape several times. Shape your gel into tablespoon-sized balls and store in the refrigerator or freezer to have ready to take with you as you head out the door for your next workout.
Challenge yourself with at least one of these nutritional resolutions. You never know what rewards await you in the new year.
More: 7 Healthy-Lifestyle Tips
Perfect your nutrition to boost your performance. Sign up for a race near you.