Fresh produce, the New Year’s diet star

Each year Americans make New Year’s resolutions, and “eat healthier” or “diet” usually tops this list.

This year is no different.

What’s the best diet? There’s a ranking for that too. U.S. News and World Report says this year, the best overall diet is the Mediterranean.

Of course, nearly every diet is heavy on fruits and vegetables, including the Mediterranean, which is nice.

A favorite of mine has always been the Weight Watchers diet, which ranks as U.S. News’ No.1 diet for weight loss and best commercial diet plan.

For those unfamiliar with Weight Watchers, it’s a points-based system, where the healthiest foods have a “zero” point ranking, and others increase points based on their healthiness. Dieters have a set amount of points per day based on gender, height and weight, and age.

This allows dieters the freedom to choose how to spend their daily points.

My favorite feature is that almost all fresh fruits and vegetables have zero points, which means dieters can eat an unlimited amount while on the plan. The exception is for starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, peas or sweet corn.

I love the Weight Watchers plan because it sets a baseline for a healthier overall diet, heavy on fresh produce, for when people graduate from the formal diet plan.

When diets fail people, it’s because people see them as short-term for weight loss, and then they return to their old dietary habits, which were less healthy.

People learn that fruits and vegetables can be a filling and enjoyable part of a meal, and a guilt-free snack, and once they make this the norm in their diet, they usually don’t turn back. Weight Watchers shows them the light.

At the start of every year, retailers and produce companies should be excited to promote fresh produce as a feature of nearly every diet, and hopefully, a bigger part of people’s overall diet long-term.

Greg Johnson is Director of Media Development for Blue Book Services Inc.