Make 2016 Your Healthiest Year Yet

Happy New Year pic

2016 is literally right around the corner and you’ve thought seriously about your resolutions for the upcoming year. With a new year comes a clean slate and a newfound determination to really stick with your goals this year. And this year, if health and taking care of yourself is on your list (as it should be!), take the time to make this year your happiest and healthiest yet!

Here are some tips on making 2016 your healthiest year ever:

  1. If you’ve had trouble in the past with staying true to your exercise goals, find a professional that can help keep you on track. This can mean investing in a personal trainer, registered dietitian nutritionist, or even making friends with the group fitness class instructor. When you have someone to report to, who has appropriate perspective on the topic, you will be more likely to stay focused and will receive input from someone who was trained to discuss these things with you. For more individualized nutrition and wellness help, consult with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist.
  2. Wait a few days after January 2nd to hit the gym. In this first week, everyone will be diving into his or her new fitness resolutions and the gym will be crazy packed. A packed gym usually means frustration and diminished motivation – that’s no way to start your own resolutions! Stick with at-home or outside workouts in this first week. Allow the crowds to die down before you start your new year as a gym rat.
  3. Don’t compare your progress with others. Some people will just drop the weight more quickly than you, or have the time to try out more recipes, or will just be carefully advertising only the highlights in their lives. As long as you’re making progress, you should feel proud and motivated to continue. You are your own competition.
  4. Stay mindful on finding ways to make healthy changes throughout your day. This can mean taking the stairs, using nonfat milk in your latte, standing/walking when you’re on the phone, switching to whole grain bread, opting for alcohol-free coworker bonding after work, or snacking on fiber- and protein-filled foods (not chips) when your energy is draining. Making little tweaks can begin to show in how healthy you feel. Then the healthier you feel, the more motivated you’ll be to make more changes!
  5. Yes, New Years is Day 1 of the 365-page book of 2016. It’s important to start strong, but it is just as important to keep that momentum going. Every first day of the month, review the goals you’ve made and how much you have achieved them. This will keep you responsible for your commitment to your resolutions and remember the determination you had when you first made them.
  6. Find a friend to help you can carry out your resolutions. Discuss your “no excuses” list together, compare your ways  of becoming healthier through your day, and always support each other to keep going. And remember to only say to yourself the things you would say to someone else – always keep it positive!


Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN, CDE, CDN was recently honored as the The 2015 Outstanding Dietitian of The Year by The New York Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. She is a speaker, blogger, entrepreneur and innovator who is passionate about spreading the message of healthy eating for optimal health. To help restaurants improve upon menu choices and food preparation, Lisa recently founded Eat Well Restaurant Nutrition where she collaborates with chefs. She is also the author of the e-book The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and the widely-acclaimed The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012). In her private practice, with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, Lisa specializes in weight managment and diabetes for teens and adults. For more info, contact Lisa via email or visit here. Special thanks to Samantha Marks, Dietetic Intern, for her fabulous contributions to this post.



Vegetarian or Vegan: What’s the Diff?

Chicken Kebabs and Rice With increasing scientific studies promoting the health benefits of consuming plant-based foods, it’s no wonder vegetarian and vegan diets have surged as popular ways to eat. Many people choose to follow either diet for a variety of reasons. Animal rights, protecting the planet, religious beliefs, and improved health are just a few. Followed correctly, each can offer substantial health benefits such as lowering the risk for heart disease, Type 2 diabetes and many types of cancer. However, if animal products are not substituted appropriately, the risk for developing deficiencies in certain nutrients, including protein, vitamins, and minerals is increased. Plant-based eating can improve your health–just make sure that your meals are well-planned, so you consume the nutrients your body needs.

If you’re interested in following either diet you should be fond of vegetables, whole grains and non-meat alternatives such as tofu, nuts, and beans as these will all serve as the basis for many of your meals. It is essential you take the time to educate yourself on how to properly follow these diets. If well-thought out and well-planned, nutrition deficiencies can be avoided, health benefits gained and you will be fit and fueled. To guarantee you follow a well-balanced vegetarian or vegan diet, you should meet with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist (RDN) to receive expert nutritional guidance.

Let’s look at these two styles of eating and see how they differ:

Vegetarian Diets

*Vegetarian diets can be sub-divided into a few different categories:
True vegetarians (also known as lacto-ovo vegetarians) avoid all meat, fish and poultry but do consume eggs and dairy products.

* Lacto-vegetarians eat dairy products but avoid eggs, meat, fish and poultry, and ovo-vegetarians eat eggs but avoid dairy, meat, fish and poultry.

*Similarly, “flexitarian” and “semi-vegetarian,” which are basically the same, describe a diet that consists largely of vegetarian items with the occasional meat, fish or poultry source thrown into the mix.

*Vegetarians who also eat fish are known as pescatarians.

True vegetarians typically obtain protein from dairy (milk, yogurt and cheese), eggs and soy products. Tempeh, a texturized protein made from soybeans, brown rice, millet and barley, and seitan, made from wheat gluten (a protein found in wheat), are two meat alternatives many vegetarians also include in their diet. With a wide variety of protein sources available, the vegetarian diet is easy to follow with little risk for deficiency.

Vegan Diets

Compared to the vegetarian diet, following a vegan diet requires more planning to ensure that adequate protein, vitamins and minerals are consumed. Vegans omit all foods from animal sources. Meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy and butter are avoided. Many vegans also avoid honey. With fewer options for protein, plant-based proteins, such as soy products (tofu and soy milk), protein-fortified almond milk, tempeh, beans, nuts, legumes, seitan, vegetables and whole grains become the staples at meals.

Those who want to follow a vegan diet need to make sure that they get sufficient nutrients, such as protein and calcium. To ensure adequate protein is consumed, a variety of these plant-protein foods mentioned above should be consumed regularly at meals. As stated before, you may want to meet with a RDN to ensure that the diet is well-planned. Because vitamin B-12 is found only in animal products, vegans need to supplement their diet with this vitamin.  Vegans may seek out fortified food sources, such as soy milk fortified with vitamin B-12, to obtain this vitamin or simply take in the form of a pill supplement. Since dairy products are not consumed, calcium can also become an issue so appropriate food alternatives, such as calcium-fortified tofu, soy or almond milk and dark green leafy vegetables, need to be included in the diet daily. If nutritional needs for calcium can’t be obtained through food alone, a calcium supplement should be taken. Vegans also need to pay special attention to getting enough vitamin D, calcium, iron, zinc and iodine. In order to obtain the health benefits of either a vegetarian or vegan diet, either diet needs to be followed properly.

Differences between Vegetarian and Vegan Diets 

Foods included: Milk, cheese, butter, eggs, grains, tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts, beans, fruits, vegetables,

Foods avoided: Meat, fish, chicken

Foods included: Tofu, seitan, tempeh, nuts, beans, whole grain breads and cereals, fortified-soy and almond milk, fruits and vegetables.
Foods avoided: Milk, cheese, butter, meat, fish. chicken, eggs, dairy (some vegans also avoid honey)
Nutrients which may be lacking:
Vegetarians should be able to easily meet all of their nutrient needs if they make healthy food choices.
Supplements required: Vegans need to take a vitamin B12 supplement. If food sources of vitamin D, iron, calcium, zinc and iodine don’t meet nutritional needs, a supplement may be needed.
Lisa Stollman, MA, RDN. CDE, CDN is a nationally-renowned teen and adult weight management expert with offices in Huntington, NY and the Upper East Side of Manhattan.  Lisa is the author of The Trim Traveler: How to Eat Healthy and Stay Fit While Traveling Abroad (Nirvana Press 2014) and The Teen Eating Manifesto: The Ten Essential Steps to Losing Weight, Looking Great and Getting Healthy (Nirvana Press 2012), the premier guide on healthy eating and weight management for teens. To find out more about Lisa, visit her website.