A person is cutting carrots into some food

Happy New Year! What’s Your Guiding Word?

No resolutions for me this year. But, I am really excited about 2024 – the clean slate and the unwritten story.

My word for last year was consistent, which was a beacon for my decisions until spring. Then life got messy and I went into ‘bare bones’ mode which was a salad a day, some kind of movement and lots of water (my default when things get complicated).

This year, my word is Strong. Strong in my kitchen game, exercise routine, and inner strength to make the decisions that are best for me, my family, and Healthy Nest Nutrition. I have a feeling this year is going to be one of change/shifts (some intentional and some not), so I am going to need strength to have enough confidence to shift as needed so that I and all around me can grow and grow strong.

We have lots of exciting news (coming soon) at Healthy Nest. Personally, I know myself and you well enough to recognize how important it is to have intention and strength to make good decisions. It’s going to be the little decisions that add up to big progress this year.

What’s your word? I find it to be a gentle guide when making decisions – ones that are in line with my overarching goals for the months ahead. You’re welcome to borrow mine: STRONG. Or, feel free to find a word that speaks to you.

The Year of the Veggie

The NY Times just slid into my inbox and declared this year the YEAR OF THE VEGGIE. That is so great. I believe in the power of a plant-forward diet. Lots of plants give us plate beauty, interesting texture and flavors, vitamins, minerals, proteins, phytonutrients, powerful fiber, both soluble and insoluble, all of which work on strong digestive health, regularity, blood sugar balance, metabolism, skin, bone, nervous, heart, immune health. They are anti-inflammatory and so much more. Veggies are a really important component to feeling good and strong today and lots of tomorrows. START with your favorite vegetables and build delicious meals around them.

How to Prioritize Your Veggies?

I normally start my meal planning with the primary veggie(s) and build the meal around that, adding proteins, healthy fats and whatever pizazz will pull the meal together. It’s a way to INCLUDE veggies at the beginning of meal planning and NOT tack it on as an afterthought (like a simple green salad or quick cut-up carrots tossed on the plate).

Try This Instead

  • Make sure you BUY enough veggies at the store, so you have some in the fridge.
  • Use all cooking techniques to help make it happen (chop fresh, roast frozen, serve salads or roasted sheet pans, soups that are chunky or pureed).
  • Choose variety. Try different lettuces each week. This week broccoli, next week cauliflower. This week red onion, next week scallions or leeks. This week fresh chopped tomatoes, next week tomato sauce.
  • Keep stretching your dishes. Make a goal to try one new recipe per week (or a slight variation of an old favorite that includes new vegetable combos).


My why is circling back to STRONG. More veggies in my daily diet will ensure my body composition is solid. All veggies are under the macronutrient of carbohydrates, which, again ultimately help us stay healthy and give us good energy. Getting most of your carbohydrates from vegetables crowds out the less healthful choices you could make in the category.

Carbs are found in veggies, fruits, grains (processed and whole) and then lots of standard American diet items: cheez-its, pizza, cookies, cakes, and candy. If you focus on vegetables, you’re naturally less likely to focus on the whites (white flour, sugar, pasta and rice). Arguably, the whites are not as good for you as the veggie colors.

The goal: Keep working at crowding out the “whites” by adding more color to your plate. Your waistline, your brain, your bones, your energy, and overall health will be stronger for it.

Happy New Year!