New year, new you, new diet? When it comes to transforming our eating habits (no matter your starting point and current diet of choice), choosing the best diets is no easy decision. Between meal planning, health goals, and, well, how simple it is to stick to, there are so many factors that go into an ideal plan.
As part of its annual report, U.S. News has ranked the best diets and consulted with a panel of health experts to determine which national diets prove most effective.
To be top-rated, a diet had to be relatively easy to follow, nutritious, safe, effective for weight loss and protective against diabetes and heart disease,” the site reported. And its finding may surprise you.
Here are the best diets, according to the experts:
1. Dash Diet (tie)
Today on @1011news #foodiefriday I compared the best & worst diets according to US News & World Report. Here’s an example of a #DASHdiet plate, which tied for 1st place with the Mediterranean diet this year. Special thanks to @russmarket for helping me build this beautiful plate! #balanceyourplate #LNK #Nebraska #mediaRD #rdchat
Known as the diet that was created to help combat high blood pressure and treat hypertension, the DASH Diet is developed by The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The diet relies heavily on produce (you’re encouraged to eat seven to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables every day), whole grains, lean protein and low-fat dairy. It’s also low in saturated fats and added sugars. Eliminating those refined and processed foods is largely what makes the diet a powerful way to combat chronic disease, the experts say.
1. Mediterranean Diet (tie)
These days, it seems like we can’t sing enough praises of the Mediterranean diet. With its heavy reliance on fruits, vegetables, fish, olive oil and even wine (in moderation), it’s quickly become a favourite and a staple way of eating for generations.
3. The Flexitarian Diet
Good morning and Happy Friday 🤗. These are my Maca Chocolate Chip Pancakes — made with simple ingredients and high in protein (I'm a huge advocate for a high protein breakfast 💪🏼). Maca root powder is a superfood with a ton of health benefits. Some of them are: -being rich in antioxidants🌱 -enhancing memory, mood and energy💥 -balancing estrogen levels in females💁🏽 -helps reduce adrenal fatigue😴 -reduces stress hormones💟 . . . I've been adding maca to my coffee every morning as well as my smoothies throughout the day! 1/2 tsp per serving is what I stick to! I use @organictraditions maca powder✅ as it's extremely high quality! SWIPE for RECIPE! #healthybreakfast #healthyfood #flexibledieting #eatclean #balance #wellness #maca #pancakes #picoftheday
The name of the diet itself comes from the combination of “vegetarian” and “flexible,” so if Meatless Monday is a breeze for you, you might want to expand upon that game plan. But if meat is a regular part of your diet, the good news is that you don’t have to completely cut it out. Registered dietitian Dawn Jackson Blatner says you can simply be vegetarian majority of the time — and embrace proteins like tofu — and still enjoy your meat dishes once in a while.
4. Weight Watchers Diet
This #crockpot soup is the ultimate comfort food to me. My husband grew up eating it & I still remember the first time my mother in law made it for me. 💕My kids love adding their own toppings and it makes delicious leftovers. I often double the recipe and portion out lunch servings. Now that skinless chicken is a zero Points food on #WWFreestyle, this dish is less SmartPoints than it was before! 🙌 . To make this family favorite, you’ll need: 1 tbs oil 🔸4 tbsp. California chili powder from the Latin food aisle 🔸 2 tsp cumin 🔸 2 tsp Mexican oregano 🔸4 cloves minced garlic 🔸1 large diced yellow onion 🔸4 fifteen ounce cans of white and/or yellow hominy (drained) 🔸 2 lbs chicken breast 🔸32oz chicken broth 🔸 8 oz can of fire roasted diced green chiles 🔸2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (canned) seeded and diced 🔸Salt & pepper . To make: Place chicken, drained hominy, chipotle chiles, & green chiles in slow cooker – on low. Heat oil in a sauce pan over medium heat & add garlic + onions. Cook until translucent and fragrant. Pour in about 1/2 cup of chicken broth and add all the spices. Simmer for a couple minutes to combine. Pour into the crockpot, add remaining broth and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Immediately before serving, gently fork shred the chicken. Serve with lots of toppings: cabbage, lime wedges, cilantro, green onion, hot sauce, sliced radish, tortilla chips and avocado. All this deliciousness for 5 #SmartPoints total!) -Leslie (@leslieslosingit) #weightwatchers #WWTakeover #wwambassador
The famed Weight Watchers Diet (it’s a favourite of Oprah’s, by the way) centers around the idea that each food or dish has a designed amount of nutritional points. In the company’s new “Beyond the Scale Program,” foods that will keep you fuller for longer cost fewer points than those that have empty calories, encouraging eaters to focus their point allocations towards foods that hold more nutritional value.
5. MIND Diet
I had a great time making this brain-healthy Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Edamame, and Grapes this morning at @wbrcnews with @mikedubberlygda. Did you know that eating healthy can help to reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease? I am so into the super simple MIND Diet #brainfood #minddiet #alzheimers #healthyfood #newyearsresolution #recipe Quinoa Salad with Chicken, Edamame, and Grapes 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame 2 Tbsp fresh orange juice 4 tsp olive oil 2 tsp apple cider vinegar 1 1/2 tsp honey 1/4 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper 2 cups chopped baby spinach 1 1/3 cups chopped cooked chicken breast 1/3 cups halved grapes 1/4 cup sliced green onions 2 Tbsp chopped pecans 1. Cook quinoa according to package directions. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool. 2. Cook edamame according to package direction. Rinse with cold water to cool. 3. While edamame cooks, combine orange juice, oil, vinegar, honey, salt and pepper in a jar with a tight-fitting lid; cover and shake to combine. Add edamame, spinach, chicken, grapes and green onions to quinoa. Pour orange juice mixture over salad, and toss to combine. Sprinkle with nuts.
Taking the best parts of the DASH and Mediterranean diets, the MIND diet is all about brain health and Alzheimer’s prevention.
“The emphasis is on eating from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables in particular, all other vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine,” U.S. News says. “Meanwhile, MIND adherents avoid foods from the five unhealthy groups: red meats, butter and stick margarine, cheeses, pastries and sweets, and fried or fast food.”
Which diet seems best for you? Maybe these secrets from healthy women around the world will help you decide, as well.