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How to Practice Healthy Dining at Home in the Hudson Valley

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Eating healthy at home doesn’t need to be daunting. These tips will help keep your wellness journey on track.

Did you make a resolution to eat healthier at the beginning of the year? A healthy eating plan helps promote overall wellness and can strengthen the gut and immune system. 

We asked Hudson Valley resident Marjorie Livingston, MS, RDN, CDN, founder of Center for Progressive Nutrition, based in LaGrangeville and Greenwich, about how to eat healthier at home—without sacrificing time and flavor.

To start, Livingston, who has worked in food and nutrition for over 30 years, notes that a healthy diet looks different for everyone. For her, she finds that it is important to incorporate a variety of fruits and vegetables each day. Consuming good fats is also important, such as olive oil, avocado oil, and foods rich in omega 3s. Protein is essential as well, with good sources being salmon, poultry, grass-fed beef, and beans and nuts. Drinking 64-100 oz of water a day can also ensure that you are properly hydrated. After making sure to eat the good stuff, she states to “fill in here and there with other foods you enjoy, [in] moderation.”  

Fuel the Gut

Fueling a healthy gut is the foundation for a healthy lifestyle. “Pomegranate seeds are wonderful for gut health, plus other vibrant fruits and vegetables,” notes Livingston. The more color in fruits and vegetables, the better the polyphenol content, which is beneficial to gut microbiota. Foods with soluble fibers such as apples, pears, oatmeal, barley, legumes, flax seeds, and chia seeds are essential for feeding gut bacteria. 

healthy pomegranate
Adobe Stock / George Dolgikh

Building Immunity

If you are looking to build immunity throughout the seasons, vitamin C is great to incorporate into your diet through citrus, kiwi, red and green peppers, broccoli, and tomatoes. “Taking care of our gut is paramount; 90 percent of our immune system is found there,” notes Livingston. Glutathione is a powerful antioxidant that is found in asparagus, spinach, avocado, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli. The benefits of glutathione are that it reduces oxidative stress, which can occur due to poor diet or a stressful environment, leading to a weakened immune system. And with the warmer months approaching in the Hudson Valley, shopping from local CSAs is a great way to get fresh, immune-boosting produce. Furthermore, consuming foods that contain sulfur, like eggs, beef, poultry, garlic, and onions can support the production of glutathione in the body. 

Keep It Simple

The basics of building a healthy food plan start with incorporating fruits or vegetables at every meal. Livingston states that her number one tip for someone who wants to eat healthier at home is to “have a variety of frozen vegetables at hand. They are easy to prepare [and] full of nutrients.”

Maybe you’ve set a goal to lose weight. Sometimes, people give up on healthier eating because they follow a restrictive diet and believe it must be all or nothing. “Remember, all foods fit. No food is bad and should be eliminated, [since that] leads to feelings of deprivation,” Livingston observes. Certainly, it is important to note if treats are interfering with the basics of a healthy food plan. However, if you focus on getting in the necessary nutrients and still feel like having a treat, why not? Just be aware of the portion size and how often you choose to have a treat. Livingston suggests that when starting on a healthy eating journey, it is best to take small steps and set a weekly goal, such as adding one vegetable to dinner and building from there. Keeping a food journal is also an excellent starting point for your wellness journey. It can help keep you aware of what you are eating, the time of day you are eating, and how much you consume.


Related: Spring Pesto with Basil, Asparagus and Spinach

Hudson Valley Restaurant Week is back this April 8-21!