If you’re like many Americans, you’re thinking about how you can eat healthier this new year.
But, do you have an action plan to make this goal a reality? We spoke with Lorissa Bronson, a registered dietitian with Banner Health’s North Colorado Medical Center, who recommended starting small. “When someone comes to me for recommendations on making healthy changes, I always ask, ‘what is your main goal?’ From there we can start breaking that down to smaller, more attainable goals.”
Here are some small changes to help you get started on your healthy eating journey:
Not fresh? Don’t worry about it.
When it comes to eating more fruits and vegetables, don’t shy away from these delicious foods just because they aren’t in season. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables packed in water are still a tasty, healthy option.
Honor your hunger and fullness cues.
Listening to your body cues is important. When you’re hungry, if you put off eating, you’re more likely to feel fatigued, irritable, or like you need to reach for sugary foods for quick energy. Also, try to enjoy mealtimes with limited distractions. This will help you be more mindful of when you’re starting to feel full so you can stop eating.
Brainstorm foods that make your body feel good and help you feel satisfied.
Foods are made of different macronutrients, like carbohydrates, protein, and fats. A combination of 2-3 can make you feel more satisfied and provide you with sustaining energy for your day, according to Bronson.
Think ahead and plan.
Make some time to plan and shop for your meals for the week ahead or every few days. When you plan out your meals, you’re more likely to stay on track with your goals and feel successful!
Don’t let your trip to the grocery store backfire.
All the colorful boxes and catchy slogans on the packages can entice you into buying food you don’t want or need. As you’ve probably heard, never go to the grocery store on an empty stomach and have a list ready so you’re not tempted. Going to the store hungry can often leave you feeling overwhelmed or grumpy and you may wind up forgetting ingredients for your thought-out meal plan.
Savor Your Food
Savoring foods you love brings you more satisfaction and enjoyment and helps you be more in tune with your body’s wants and needs.
Pick one change at a time and go with it.
When you try to make several changes at once you can easily feel defeated or frustrated if you aren’t successful at keeping up with them all, according to Bronson. When making one change at a time, the brain is not overwhelmed and you’re better able to set yourself up for success. Adding changes all at once leads to a “temporary” mindset and not thinking about a change as a lifetime habit.
Would you like more tips on eating healthy? A Banner Health registered dietitian can help you navigate ways to make changes.