Changing dietary habits can be hard. Not only are routines difficult to break, but there’s also ample information and various recommendations everywhere you look.
So where do you begin?
Well, if you’re looking for sustainable behavior change, start with one goal – something to work toward. The shift will set off a series of changes that ultimately radiates out to every part of your life (Duhigg, 2014).
Here are 8 practical tips you can use to improve your diet. Pick one that resonates. Focus on that pattern or a keystone habit – it’ll become the foundation that helps you reprogram other routines.
- Eat breakfast – even if it’s small and on the go, something is better than nothing. If you can, have a substantial and balanced breakfast. It’ll kickstart your metabolism and regulate your hunger hormones, allowing you to maintain a healthy weight. It’ll also help with cognitive function. If you’re not sure where to begin with these 8 tips, start here. You can read more and check out a few quick recipes on my post, The What You Eat Series – Breakfast.
- Know what you’re eating – cook your foods whenever possible. It’s the simplest way to know what you’re putting in your body. If you’re eating out and aren’t sure what’s in the dish you’re about to order, ask! You can then modify as needed. Knowledge is power, my friends.
- Combine your macros – they all provide your body with energy, yet they each serve a purpose of their own (carbs: energy, protein: building blocks, fat: absorption). It’s best when consumed together, so aim to combine at least 2 macronutrients at every snack and have all 3 at meal time.
- Eat more, not less – think eating frequency here, but know this isn’t to encourage mindless grazing throughout the day. It’s to promote small, frequent meals (generally 5-6 a day in the form of 3 meals and 2-3 snacks, depending on your needs).
- Slow your roll – be present, slow down. It’ll increase the rate at which your body digests and assimilates nutrients. Let your food work for you. It’ll also allow you to enjoy your meals. If you’re interested in diving more-in-depth, check out my post Reclaim Your Lunch Hour. Reclaim Your Health.
- Increase your fluids – water serves a range of services in your body, including maintaining a healthy metabolism; removing waste through urine; and controlling heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature. Get a 32-ounce bottle and fill it at least twice a day.
- Choose fermented foods – it’ll increase your probiotic intake and aid in digestion, which will leave you feeling good. Try kombucha, kefir, kimchi, miso and yogurt.
- Fiber is your best friend – it regulates blood sugar levels, helping you maintain your energy. It’ll also leave you satiated for a more extended period. Aim for 5 g per serving (or 20%), a goal you can quickly achieve with farro, brown rice, whole wheat couscous, whole grain bread, steel-cut oatmeal and bulgur.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kelly Powers, MA, RD is a Registered Dietitian with a Master’s Degree in Food Studies. She is the founder of 52 Weeks, a personalized meal plan program that helps users make meals in < 10 minutes. Her mission is to help others find pleasure in cooking and eating – all while creating a life they can maintain.
Learn more about Kelly and her services here –
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Duhigg, C. (2014) The power of habit. New York, NY: Random House LLC.