While many are inspired by the optimism of a new year, it’s no secret that only a few people are able to successfully maintain their New Year’s resolution long-term. So, for those looking to New Year’s as the perfect opportunity to establish balanced patterns, Stop & Shop Nutrition Partner Emily Hayes is offering wellness tips for how to successfully lead a healthier lifestyle in 2022.
As a member of the Nutrition Partners team, Hayes provides customers with direct access to food-and nutrition-related questions, along with insight on starting or maintaining a healthy, balanced diet through virtual nutrition consultations.
Her love for all things food, along with a fascination for nutrition science, sparked her passion for becoming a registered dietitian. After receiving her bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition from the University of Maine, Hayes completed her dietetic training at Massachusetts General Hospital.
Throughout January, Stop & Shop’s Nutrition Partners are hosting a free live educational and interactive webinar series called 4 Weeks 4 You. During the virtual workshop, the Nutrition Partners will hold small group discussions and provide nutrition guidance on how to find an eating pattern participants can stick with to support their individual health goals, along with meal planning tips.
Tips for better nutrition
- Setting the Stage for Success: “Begin with goals that are SMART – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound. With this SMART framework, you’re able to set clear targets and effectively monitor progress. If physical activity isn’t a part of your day-to-day routine, it’s probably not realistic to say you’re going to go to the gym for an hour every day, so start small. Consider the following SMART goal: I will walk for 30 minutes, two days per week for the next month,” Hayes said.
- Movement and Mindfulness: “When it comes to healthful eating, we tend to focus on what we eat, but did you know how you eat can be just as important? Mindful eating is a practice that encourages individuals to truly tune in to the eating experience by eliminating distractors, such as your phone. This helps naturally manage portion sizes, and you’ll walk away from the meal feeling satisfied and not uncomfortably stuffed. Put away electronics and practice mindful eating – take your time and savor the flavor,” Hayes said.
- Ditching the Diets: “It’s estimated that about 45 million Americans go on a diet each year. As restrictive diets continue to rise in popularity, those looking to achieve their health and wellness goals are guided by the false narrative that these diets (keto, intermittent fasting, etc.) are the fastest route. For eating habits that lead to long-term success, start by getting back to the basics and prioritize nutrient-dense fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy. With that said, it’s important to note that all foods can fit into an overall healthy and balanced eating pattern, so honor your cravings by enjoying a small serving and carry on – no guilt needed,” Hayes said.
- Commit to Hassle-Free Meal Planning: “Having a well-stocked freezer is the secret for getting homemade meals on the table all week long. Pairing frozen proteins (edamame, veggie burgers) and vegetables (stir-fry blends, chopped spinach, peas) with a hearty whole grain that you can batch cook makes for an easy and balanced dinner. Meals from ‘healthy’ fast-casual restaurants are often loaded with sodium, added sugar and saturated fat, so preparing food at home is one of the best ways to ensure you are getting a nutrient-rich meal. For example, the Kale Caesar salad from Sweetgreen, a trendy salad bar, has more than 1200 mg of sodium. That’s over 50 percent of your daily recommended intake. Recreating your restaurant favorites at home could become a fun new weekly challenge,” Hayes said.