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10 Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet This Year

10 Foods You Need to Include in Your Diet This Year

Have you pledged to finally adopt a better diet this year? If so, you’re not alone. Millions of people say they want to eat healthier as part of their New Year’s resolution.

Sadly, a full 88% have likely already given up.

Would you like to finally stick with your diet this year? First, start thinking less in terms of “diet,” and more “healthy lifestyle change.” Second, eat more of the following foods:

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1. Spinach

Popeye was one smart dude. Spinach is one of the healthiest foods on the planet. It’s loaded with nutrients like Vitamins K and A, and folate. Whip up a quick and healthy raw spinach salad by combining baby spinach leaves with a squeeze of lemon juice, olive oil, fresh garlic, and a few almonds.

2. Beets

Beets are another food you should definitely include in your diet this year. Beets are high in folate, fiber, and potassium. If you don’t like raw beets, try roasting them and mixing them with some roasted sweet potatoes to lighten their earthy flavor.

3. Avocados

Avocados are actually a fruit, and one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Avocados are high in heart-healthy monounsaturated fats. They are also a great source of fiber. Mix up a quick guacamole dip by combining avocado with lime juice, salt, onion, and minced jalapeno. Yum.

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4. Blueberries

Blueberries are a complete superfood with too many benefits to list. Blueberries help combat aging, ward off disease, lower blood pressure, protect heart and brain, and improve memory.

5. Walnuts

Walnuts contain heart-healthy fats that can lower your cholesterol levels. Eat a handful of raw walnuts every day, or sprinkle some on your salads.

6. Sweet potatoes

While regular potatoes are one of the biggest causes of weight gain, sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of beta carotene. Beta carotene can help support healthy eyes. They’re also a great source of vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. Try this healthy sweet potato chips recipe.

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7. Salmon

Salmon is loaded with muscle-building protein and contains heart-healthy Omega-3 fatty acids. Make sure you choose wild salmon over farmed, though. Farmed salmon is nasty stuff.

8. Eggs

There’s a huge misconception that eggs are bad for you. Nothing could be further from the truth. Eggs are one of the most nutrient-dense foods you can eat. They have 13 essential nutrients, and are a great source of protein and good fats.

9. Olive oil

Research shows that the Mediterranean diet, which is high in healthy fats like olive oil, can reduce your risk of cancer. Replace unhealthy foods in your diet, like margarine and vegetable oil, with olive oil. Here’s an extra bonus: olive oil has other uses beyond diet.

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10. Dark chocolate

You’ll be pleased to know that dark chocolate is actually good for you–and you should definitely include more of it in your diet this year. Dark chocolate is loaded with antioxidants and can even help lower your blood pressure. I recommend anything with 70% cocoa or higher to get the maximum benefits.

Finally, knowing what foods to eat is great, but it won’t do you any good if you don’t get into the habit of eating healthier.

Here’s how to do it: first, commit (in writing) to eating healthier and tell everyone you know. This helps hold you accountable. Next, slowly start replacing the foods in your refrigerator and cupboard with the ones above.

The key to turning your “diet” into permanent healthy eating habits is to make it as easy as possible on yourself. If you stock your kitchen with unhealthy snacks, you’re going to reach for those unhealthy snacks when you need a quick fix.

Fortunately, once healthy eating becomes a habit it’s second nature. And, it will lead to other healthy changes in your life.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2018

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

How to Flow Your Way to a More Productive Life

Ebb and flow. Contraction and expansion. Highs and lows. It’s all about the cycles of life.

The entire course of our life follows this up and down pattern of more and then less. Our days flow this way, each following a pattern of more energy, then less energy, more creativity and periods of greater focus bookended by moments of low energy when we cringe at the thought of one more meeting, one more call, one more sentence.

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The key is in understanding how to use the cycles of ebb and flow to our advantage. The ability to harness these fluctuations, understand how they affect our productivity and mood and then apply that knowledge as a tool to improve our lives is a valuable strategy that few individuals or corporations have mastered.

Here are a few simple steps to start using this strategy today:

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Review Your Past Flow

Take just a few minutes to look back at how your days and weeks have been unfolding. What time of the day are you the most focused? Do you prefer to be more social at certain times of the day? Do you have difficulty concentrating after lunch or are you energized? Are there days when you can’t seem to sit still at your desk and others when you could work on the same project for hours?

Do you see a pattern starting to emerge? Eventually you will discover a sort of map or schedule that charts your individual productivity levels during a given day or week.  That’s the first step. You’ll use this information to plan your days going forward.

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Schedule According to Your Flow Pattern

Look at the types of things you do each day…each week. What can you move around so that it’s a better fit for you? Can you suggest to your team that you schedule meetings for late morning if you can’t stand to be social first thing? Can you schedule detailed project work or highly creative tasks, like writing or designing when you are best able to focus? How about making sales calls or client meetings on days when you are the most social and leaving billing or reports until another time when you are able to close your door and do repetitive tasks.

Keep in mind that everyone is different and some things are out of our control. Do what you can. You might be surprised at just how flexible clients and managers can be when they understand that improving your productivity will result in better outcomes for them.

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Account for Big Picture Fluctuations

Look at the bigger picture. Consider what happens during different months or times during the year. Think about what is going on in the other parts of your life. When is the best time for you to take on a new project, role or responsibility? Take into account other commitments that zap your energy. Do you have a sick parent, a spouse who travels all the time or young children who demand all of your available time and energy?

We all know people who ignore all of this advice and yet seem to prosper and achieve wonderful success anyway, but they are usually the exception, not the rule. For most of us, this habitual tendency to force our bodies and our brains into patterns of working that undermine our productivity result in achieving less than desired results and adding more stress to our already overburdened lives.

Why not follow the ebb and flow of your life instead of fighting against it?

    Featured photo credit: Nathan Dumlao via unsplash.com

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