Healthwatch: Healthy eating tips for the new year

Published: Jan. 11, 2023 at 5:23 PM EST
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CONCORD, N.H. (WCAX) - The new year offers many of us an opportunity to set new goals and that includes eating more healthily, and experts say that starts at the supermarket.

“We want to pass on those habits to our daughter,” said Alix Cason of Concord, N.H. And so far, the mom says fruits and vegetables are at the top of her three-year-old’s favorite foods list. “It’s not just about eating healthy, it’s about being healthy.”

But of course, we all have guilty pleasures that catch our eye. “Bread, bread, and my daughter is chocolate. So, we have to really balance. So, we get our good meal then me get our little treat,” Cason said.

Balance is one of the lessons Hannaford registered dieticians teach during classes and tours they offer at their stores. The program is celebrating its 20th year. “Our classes vary from heart health to diabetes, eating for food allergies, nutrition for kids, eating for athletes,” said Hannaford registered dietician Katy Magoon-Fredette.

The supermarket with 185 stores across the Northeast highlights healthier foods with three stars. Fewer health options have no stars at all. “It looks at things like salt, added sugar, saturated fat, cholesterol, as compared to good things like fiber, whole grains, vitamins, and omega 3s,” Magoon-Fredette said.

The word “whole” is a good thing to look for in the bread aisle. And when shopping for meat, she says fish and chicken are usually the better choice. But they also say it’s ok to treat yourself. “If your brain is saying I’d like some cookies, perhaps have one of them and pair it with some apples or peanut butter so you are not forgoing something that you like,” Magoon-Fredette said.

When it comes to sticking to healthy eating goals, the experts say it’s important to write them down and keep a journal, also enlist a friend or family member for support, and go public with your goal, possibly on social media, maybe encouraging others to do the same.

“I come from a very large family,” said shopper Rodger Barber. And because of that, he says moderation is key. “You really have to be very consistent with your eating and not go on binges.”

And for those who have trouble sticking to their goals, experts say to consider changing or shortening them to make them more achievable.