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It’s that time of year again when we’re all looking forward to new beginnings and how we’re going to make positive changes in our lives in the coming months.
Here at The Nutrition Insider, we’re giving you a hand in getting started on those goals with a little grocery list with help from our very own Registered Dietitian, Cambria Glosz.
We want you to start off on the right foot with a healthy body and brain so you can tackle those New Year goals head-on.
Without further ado, here’s the list:
Coming in hot as the first grocery items on this list are sweet potatoes. These spuds are an excellent choice any time of year but are especially fitting for the winter months thanks to their sweet taste that complements all the savory mains and sides you’ll be serving up over the holidays.
But where sweet potatoes shine most is in their nutritional content: they are high in vitamin A (216% of your daily value!), vitamin C, manganese, vitamin B6, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5). They are also packed with dietary fiber, making them low on the glycemic index since they are a complex carbohydrate.
Cambria Glosz, MS, RD, adds, “Sweet potatoes are excellent for eating in the winter months due to their high levels of beta-carotene—an antioxidant and vitamin A precursor supporting immune cell function and responses. Plus, beta-carotene is linked to better cognitive function!”
If you’ve ever heard that line “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” (from “The Christmas Song” by Nat King Cole) and wondered if people actually eat roasted chestnuts around the holidays, the answer is yes, and you should, too!
This is because chestnuts are actually packed with nutritional benefits. In particular, they are great for digestion, making them an excellent traditional snack to enjoy between rich holiday meals. They also contain a high amount of vitamin C (which is unique for nuts) and antioxidants that can reduce inflammation.
Though turkey season may have passed, there’s no reason you can’t still enjoy it in the New Year, too. Consider adding turkey to your grocery list for its low fat and high protein content. In fact, turkey is one of the leanest types of poultry, making it an excellent option for those looking to watch their weight in 2024.
Turkey is also packed with B vitamins such as niacin, B6, B12, and choline and other essential nutrients like magnesium, phosphorus, iron, selenium, and zinc.
Thinking of cutting down on caffeine this year but not sure how you’ll fare without the energy boost you’re used to? We recommend trying peppermint tea. This caffeine-free, stimulant-free alternative to coffee and other dark teas can still give you a little boost—and the refreshing flavor may be just what you need to get through the post-holiday slump.
Peppermint tea is also known to be a natural remedy for everything from headaches to menstrual cramps and digestive issues.
Cambria adds, “If peppermint tea is too potent for you, try its milder and earthier cousin, spearmint tea, which can reduce acne breakouts by lowering androgen hormones like testosterone.”
Not only is citrus in season around the holidays, but it is also a great way to brighten up those gloomy winter days. While we recommend eating them, you could also pop some slices into a “stovetop potpourri” along with some spices to really bring the holiday season back to life.
But besides their amazing scent, oranges are also great to eat. They are high in vitamin C, fiber, calcium, and folate, which are all essential nutrients for our health, especially as we make our way through cold and flu season.
Mushrooms, you love ‘em or hate ‘em, but you can’t deny how great they are for you! This year, chaga and lions mane have taken center stage, and for a good reason, too. While you won’t find these in your typical grocery aisle, they are key ingredients in several of our favorite products this year, including Four Sigmatic.
“I love using functional mushrooms for immune and cognitive support. For example, chaga mushroom benefits the immune system by promoting the formation of white blood cells and reducing oxidative stress, while lion’s mane contains bioactive compounds called erinacines that support cognition and neurogenesis—the creation of new neurons,” Cambria adds.
Regular mushrooms you’ll find in the fresh groceries section also have their benefits, though. Mushrooms can reduce the risk of cancer, are a great source of vitamin D, and can also protect your brain health. A true super(hero) food!
Fatty or oily fish like salmon are great sources of protein and omega-3 fats that can boost brain function. So not only will this delicious fish keep you full, satiated, and ready to build and recover muscle, but it will also help you tackle new goals with ease.
This is because omega-3s help you learn new information while retaining old information. Though the New Year’s saying goes, “out with the old, in with the new,” we think salmon has the right idea––let’s remember old lessons and memories so we can create new and improved life experiences and habits, right?
If you’re looking for an immune system booster, look no further than the mighty ginger. This delightful root has tons of health benefits, but it’s most well-known for its ability to help our immune systems fight off infection.
Eating ginger is also one of the absolute best ways to prevent or alleviate nausea and promote digestive motility—in other words, keeping foods moving through the digestive tract. If you’ve already added the aforementioned peppermint tea to your list, pop a chunk of ginger in your cup to really supercharge your gut health.
Walnuts are another great source of brain-boosting omega-3s. And should we be surprised? These nuts actually look like brains! In addition to their omega-3 content, walnuts are also an excellent source of manganese––just one serving contains 50% of our daily needs.
Cambria states, “Some of the other unique and noteworthy compounds found in walnuts that provide these health benefits include ellagic acid, catechin, epicatechin, and quercetin, all of which can lower inflammation and oxidative stress—which might be why walnuts are even linked to longer lifespans!”
Wowee, did cottage cheese really steal the limelight this year, right? Well, fortunately for the cottage cheese lovers (and sorry to the haters), it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This strange but wonderful dairy product is a super versatile food that can add a high-protein punch to a variety of dishes.
You could add it to a bowl and dress it up with tons of yummy and nutritious fruits and nut butter, or try a savory version with avocado and a light drizzle of olive oil, salt, and pepper. Yum!
Pumpkin seeds (also called pepitas) are another great food to add to your diet for the New Year, thanks to their wide variety of benefits. Not only is this humble seed packed with protein, but it also contains a range of vitamins and minerals, including multiple B vitamins, vitamin C, and antioxidants.
If you’re also looking to add an extra family member to the team in 2024, pumpkin seeds are also being studied for their potential benefits for male fertility!