It never hurts to have a little help when you're trying to reach a goal! To help you make 2013 your healthiest year yet, we've tapped the best diet and fitness experts to support your efforts. All month long, we'll be chatting with them on Facebook and Twitter as well as showcasing their top tips and tricks on SHAPE.com. So if you missed today's Facebook chat with NY-based nutritionist and author Keri Gans, have no fear! You can catch the highlights of the transcript below. Scroll down to read the interview!
"My husband wants to try a 10-day cleanse that includes nothing but juice. How healthy or unhealthy is this?"
Keri Gans (KG): I'm not a big fan of juicing. I see it as a temporary solution to a long-term problem. It's more important to learn how to eat healthy in the long run than to try a restrictive detox or juice diet.
"I love eating sweets, especially in the morning, and have a hard time staying away from them! What should I eat for breakfast?"
KG: If you love sweets perhaps you should try getting your "sweet" from fresh fruit in yogurt or cereal, cinnamon in oatmeal, or a cereal that has a little sweetness from raisins but still plenty of fiber.
"Does the blood type diet really work?"
KG: Blood diets? Any diet that puts a lot of restrictions in place and doesn't [sic] provide plenty of options isn't going to be successful for the long term.
"How healthy is caffeine for you?"
KG: Nothing wrong with caffeine! It just depends how much you drink per day and what you're putting in your coffee.
"When I'm nervous, my cravings become really bad. What should I do?"
KG: Cravings are hard, especially when you're stressed or nervous. It's important to make sure you're well-stocked with healthy snack options, so that if you get a craving, you're prepared."
"My diet mostly consists of fruits and veggies, and I work out consistently, but I still can't lose weight. What gives?"
KG: Your diet sounds great, but dont forego the protein! If you're a vegetarian, eat lots of plant-based proteins like quinoa, tofu, or nuts.
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"Should I count calories if I want to lose weight?"
KG: I think the best way to lose weight is not by counting calories, but by becoming calorie conscious. Learn how to build a good meal: Half of your plate should have veggies, and the other half should have lean protein and 100 percent whole grains.
"What are your top tips for vegetarians?"
KG: A vegetarian diet is not necessarily a healthy one. Make sure that you get enough protein, which can be easy to do if you include beans, tofu, whole grains, and nuts. And don't overdo it on the bread!
"I know I should eat more fruits and veggies, but I'm tired of eating only that as a snack. What are some other healthy snack options?"
KG: A few great snacks besides fruit are: an individual serving size of cheese (i.e. string cheese, Mini Baby Bel, Cabot); "a shot glass" of nuts; "power bars",(i.e. LUNA, KIND, Kashi); hummus and veggies; roasted edamame; Greek yogurt—to name a few.
"How much cardio is too much?"
KG: An hour of cardio per day is great if you can do it. If not, no pressure! Start slowly and work your way up. Also, remember to take a day off. Your body needs its rest!
"I just had a baby and am struggling to lose the last 10 pounds of baby weight. What can I do?"
KG: Regaining your body post-pregnancy is always a challenge. Definitely make sure you're including exercise in your day and that you're watching your total fat intake. Pilates is also great for abs.
"I'm pregnant! What are the foods I should be eating?"
KG: First off, congratulations! Hopefully, you're taking a pre-natal vitamin. Make sure to eat plenty of foods with calcium in them (good examples are cottage cheese, milk, or yogurt); also, make sure to get lots of fiber and protein. Try not to fall into the mindset of "eating for two" and gain too much weight. Rather, simply focus on well-balanced, "clean" eating.
RELATED: Does your diet need a fresh start? Check out our 7-day clean eating plan—no juicing required!
"What's a good lunch for someone who's always on the go or who has little cooking equipment or time?"
KG: Bringing a lunch is a great and easy thing to do. Make a sandwich with two slices of 100 percent whole-grain bread and top it with either grilled chicken, turkey, egg, or tuna salad made with low-fat mayo, hummus or cheese. Make sure to add plenty of veggies (i.e. cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce), and a piece of fruit to go with it.