Excitement that you’re doing something good for yourself. Fear that you may not be able to stick with it, and stress about how much time it may take from your already too busy schedule.
Fear not, we’ve tapped the experts on the best way to start a new healthy eating habit. Their advice – make small changes that can have a big impact on your overall health.
Here are the top five tips for starting a new lifestyle of healthy eating:
- Good vs. Bad. Focus on what you should eat rather than what you shouldn’t eat. No food is “good” or “bad”. Aim to eat more produce such as fresh fruit and vegetables, and smaller portions of everything else.
When building your plate, your goal should be to fill half your plate with fruit and vegetables, ¼ with lean protein and ¼ with whole grains.
- Eat Treats in Moderation. When it comes to treats, don’t deprive yourself. This can often lead to over indulgence. Have a small portion and savor it. We recommend 1 oz. of 70% Cocoa dark chocolate.
- Don’t Skip Meals. Each person is unique. So are their nutrition needs. While some things like intermittent fasting may work for some, skipping meals can lead to over eating. Find what works for you and stick with it, whether that’s a few meals per day with a couple snacks or many small meals in a day.
- Take Baby Steps. Don’t plan to overhaul how you eat overnight. You’ll be more successful if you make realistic goals and focus on one goal at a time. Spend about 2 weeks. A great first goal is to find a way to incorporate vegetables into every meal.
- Plan Ahead. Set aside time each week to take an inventory of your fridge and pantry, make a shopping list and food prep. Whether you fully prepare meals or just pre-chop fruits and vegetables – you’ll be prepared for the week and spend less time cooking later. Don’t forget to plan out your snacks too!
Be a Smart Snacker
Prep Healthy Snacks ahead of time, so they are ready to grab and go when hunger pangs strike. Here are our favorites:
- Hummus with Vegetables – the key here is a variety of vegetables. Carrots, Celery, Cucumber, Bell Peppers – the possibilities are endless!
- Handful of nuts and fruit – we love walnuts for their antioxidants
- Parfait with yogurt and berries
- Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding – If you’re looking for something sweet, this fits the bill. Get the recipe here.
Our expert: Sheri Berger, RDN, Cardiac & Pulmonary Wellness Center (CPWC), El Camino Health's Mountain View Hospital. Sheri consults with patients who have had a heart attack or other cardiac events on how to build healthy habits when it comes to nutrition. Learn more about the CPWC.
This article first appeared in the March 2019 edition of the HealthPerks newsletter.