I must belong to a target audience for fitness and weight loss, because I keep seeing ads online for diets promising to lose weight fast and easily.

And I get why: We all feel a little guilty about the sweet treats and large meals we indulged in during the holiday season.

The start of the New Year is actually a great time to reset our habits and work toward healthier goals, according to lifestyle experts.

If your goal is to lose weight or eat healthier in 2019, I encourage you to read this recent article in the Iowa Dish with tips from an Iowa State University dietitian and nutrition expert. She explains why intuitive eating, rather than lose-weight-quick diets, offers more benefits to our long-term health.

That said, I personally don’t think there is anything wrong with wanting to lose a few pounds, especially for health reasons like reducing your risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.

Last week, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported that Iowa’s obesity rate ranks fourth in the nation and continues to climb.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, even a 5 percent reduction in body weight can produce health benefits.

Over that past year, I’ve switched to a more low-carb diet after learning about the health benefits of protein-rich diets. I eat more vegetables; include protein at breakfast and at snack times; and have switched from non-fat to reduced-fat dairy because I prefer the taste and it keeps me full longer.

Keto diets, in particular, are especially trendy right now. This low-carb, high-fat diet encourages followers to fill up on avocados, butter, whole-milk dairy, steak, bacon and – no kidding – a snack called “fat bombs."

Although avocados and fat bombs are a much-loved food for keto dieters, I’m just not that into them. Instead, I prefer to snack on low-fat cottage cheese, Greek yogurt and string cheese, which are good sources of calcium, vitamin D and high-quality protein. Plus, they pair well with my favorite fruits. Because if you are cutting back on carbs, then fruits are your sweet tooth’s best friend.

I also love scrambled or hard-boiled eggs in the morning or as an afternoon snack. In addition, I keep beef or turkey snack sticks in my fridge. Both my husband and my daughter love them, and meat snacks are protein-rich without the sugar.

While many keto-style diets recommend grass-fed beef and dairy, I’m not convinced they are worth the extra cost. Experts say beef and dairy aren’t good sources of omega-3 fatty acids, whether they are grass-fed or not.

Also, new research is finding that dietary cholesterol doesn’t impact blood cholesterol levels as much as previous thought. That’s why the most recent U.S. Dietary Guidelines lifted the restrictions on how many eggs we can consume each day. Plus, eggs fit into all the trendy diets: Mediterranean, keto, paleo and Whole 30 diets.

If you’re looking for an easier way to eat healthy, and maybe even lose weight, I encourage you to check out the quick, keto-friendly recipes and muscle-building workout tips at www.beefitswhatsfordinner.com.

One easy, high-protein recipes to try: beef jerky trail mix. Perfect for snacking in the office or at big-game day parties. And way tastier than a coconut-oil fat bomb.