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After neverending holiday parties, countless cookies, and maybe one too many cocktails, our bodies are often craving a clean break from all the indulgences by the time January hits. While there’s no need for a crash diet or an extreme detox, clearing out the sugar and processed foods can help create steady energy, maintain our weight, improve our digestion, sleep, and skin, along with much more. Village dietitian, Jamie Miller, gives us some tips on how to clean out the junk food and make way for the nourishing choices to help us feel our best.

Toss It All In the Trash?

If we have become frustrated with how the holidays have left our pants fitting too tight, there’s a temptation to take a big trash bag and load it with every item in the house that isn’t a carrot stick or apple.  However, dietitian Jamie Miller, actually cautions against doing “The Great Purge”. Taking away every bit of unhealthy food in the house can create an “all or nothing” mentality that often backfires. She finds that individuals have only enough willpower and drive to eat so restrictive for a short time. When we name certain foods as “off-limits” and banish them from the house, then they become more tempting.  By depriving ourselves too much, it creates a rebound effect to overeating later . If we do finally have cookies in the house or are around a bowl of chips at a party, we likely will overeat them since it’s the only chance we have til they are gone again! Instead, it’s more ideal to have a healthy relationship with food where we can keep certain foods in the house, but not always be compelled to eat them.

Out of Sight, Out of Mind

So if we don’t toss out all the unhealthy food automatically, then how do we clean up our diets? Miller notes that it is sometimes helpful to throw or give away some food items if they are personal triggers for overeating or if they are cluttering your pantry space. Or a great option is to instead just move these unhealthy items to a place where they are not easily seen, such as the top shelf of a pantry or in the freezer. This is because we often eat out of “sensory hunger” instead of physical hunger- just seeing, hearing about, or smelling food can trigger a desire to eat certain foods even if we are not truly hungry. So if there are unhealthy foods on the counter top or in easily accessible areas of the pantry, then every time you see them as you walk by, you’re likely triggered to want to eat them.

Choose What’s In Plain Sight

Now that the indulgent foods are put away, it’s time to set yourself up for success by using the prime real estate of your refrigerator and pantry to display delicious, nourishing foods. Make it easy to grab healthier food items. This could be having cut up veggies at eye level of the refrigerator ready to scoop up a delicious dip. Or instead of a candy bowl, try putting out a bowl of clementines to grab. The goal is to make it extremely EASY to eat healthy and HARD to eat unhealthy foods.

Be Prepared to Fill Cravings in Healthier Ways 

It would be silly to think that you will only want light, nourishing meals and will never crave something salty or sweet. We WILL have cravings, so the key is to be equipped with delicious products and recipes that fill the cravings, but leave you feeling your best. Miller shares some great ideas and a few recipes to fill cravings whether you have a sweet tooth or knack for something salty.

Some Sweet and Salty Substitutes

Sweet Cravings

• Low sugar protein bar

• Low sugar yogurt and fruit

• Trail mix: low sugar dried cereal, chocolate chips, and freeze dried fruit

• Frozen grapes

• Berries with coconut whip topping

• Dark chocolate dipped fruit

Salty Cravings

• Leftover roasted veggies with crumbled feta

• Edamame with salt

• Sliced turkey and dill pickles

• Guacamole with bell pepper or carrots

• Jicama with tajin and lime

• Turkey jerky

• Popcorn in olive oil


Baked Apple Yogurt Bowl

• 1 -14 oz bag of frozen edamame in shells, defrosted

• 1 tablespoon sesame oil

• 1-2 tsp chili sauce (like sriracha) to taste

• 2 cloves of garlic minced

• 1 tbsp coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce

• Optional: 1 tsp honey

In a bowl, stir to combine the chopped apple, 1 tsp sweetener of choice, and cinnamon. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on high for 2-3 minutes, or until the apples are soft and cooked. Add thirty second increments if needed. Place the cooked apples in the freezer to cool off. In a separate bowl, stir in the 1-2 tsp sweetener and extract into the plain Greek yogurt. Adjust sweetness to your personal preference. Top the yogurt with the cooked apples and chopped walnuts.

Spicy Garlic Charred Edamame

• 1 -14 oz bag of frozen edamame in shells, defrosted
• 1 tablespoon sesame oil

• 1-2 tsp chili sauce (like sriracha) to taste
• 2 cloves of garlic minced
• 1 tbsp coconut aminos or low sodium soy sauce
• Optional: 1 tsp honey

Heat a skillet to medium high heat. Add sesame oil, then stir in the edamame pods to coat with oil. Allow to sit untouched in pan for 30 seconds, then stir. Repeat several times until edamame pods are evenly charred, 3-5 minutes. Turn off the heat, then add chili sauce, garlic, and coconut aminos or soy sauce, (and optional honey), and toss to combine. Serve immediately with a bowl for the empty shells.

Caprese Rice Cake

• 1 brown rice cake

• ¼ cup cottage cheese or 0.5 oz burrata cheese

• ¼ chopped grape tomatoes

• 2 basil leaves, chopped

• 1 tsp balsamic glaze

• Fresh cracked pepper + salt to taste


Spoon cottage cheese or burrata cheese onto the rice cake. Top with remaining ingredients and enjoy immediately.

Chocolate Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

• ¾ cup fat-free Greek yogurt or cottage cheese

• 1 ½ cup frozen strawberries, chopped

• ½ cup unsweetened almond milk, cashew milk, or low-fat milk

• 1 ½ tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder

• 2-3 tbsp sweetener of choice that measures like sugar (such as monk fruit)

Put everything in a blender, and blend until a smooth creamy frozen yogurt consistency occurs. Enjoy immediately, or freeze for up to 3 hours for a thicker consistency.

About The Author

Jamie Miller

As a true southern girl at heart, Jamie received her undergraduate degree in Nutrition Science from Baylor University then completed her dietetic internship at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee. Jamie has extensive experience with childhood nutrition, working for a non-profit child food program and then also for Head Start Preschool Programs. But during this time, Jamie simultaneously devoted her dietetic career to adult health and wellness and nutrition coaching through private practice and telehealth clients. Now as the registered dietitian for Village Health Clubs and Spas, Jamie loves partnering with individuals as they work towards their personalized health and nutrition goals. One of her favorite aspects of nutrition counseling is helping individuals discover how truly delicious healthy eating can be! For healthy eating to be a lifelong commitment, she believes we must make our daily eats totally cravable and nourishing.

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