Many people get stuck before they ever get started when it comes to changing their eating habits. They recognize their current regimen isn’t what it needs to be (and is often far from it) and let the daunting task of overhauling their diet keep them from making any positive changes. In all reality, though, making small changes over time is the best way to long-term benefits, especially when it comes to nutrition. Instead of trying to change everything at once, start with one of these 6 simple steps. Then as that becomes habit, add in another. Before you know it, you’re nutrition and your health will be on the right track.
1. Start the day with a healthy breakfast
If you are someone who has always skipped breakfast, it may seem a little counterproductive to start eating more food. But research shows that people who start the day with a balanced breakfast are able to curb their appetite all day long, meaning they eat fewer calories and gain less weight over time. Protein is one important thing to keep in mind as you make your breakfast selection. This nutritional component will keep you fuller longer and give your body the building blocks it needs to get through the day.
2. Fill your plate with veggies first
As you fill your plate for meals, load it up with produce, especially veggies first. Then serve yourself smaller portions of proteins and carbohydrates. Filling your plate in this order will help you ensure that you’re getting in plenty of vegetables and fruits and make it easier to choose appropriate portions of protein and carbs.
3. Keep healthy options on hand
Convenience is one of the biggest deterrents to a healthy diet. Most people go for what is quick and easy, especially if they are hungry and in a hurry. So set yourself up for success whether it is at snack time or meal time by keeping healthy options on hand. When you get home from the store, clean and prepare your veggies and store them in single serving portions, so they are easy to grab and go. Even having some go-to options, like a vegan protein bar or pack of dried cranberries, is better than reaching for a bag of chips or a candy bar. Healthy food delivery companies are another great way to keep a healthy option at your fingertips.
4. Keep a food diary
Whether it’s a physical diary or journal or an online app, like Myfitnesspal, studies show that keeping record of what you eat makes all the difference. In fact, individuals who record their intake are able to lose more weight and keep it off longer than those who do not. Like with any change to your nutrition, though, make sure you choose an option that will work for you that you’ll actually do.
5. Eat fewer processed foods and more whole foods
While not all processed foods are terrible (like some foodies would have you believe), the fact is that they do tend to have more sodium, fat, and added sugar than their whole foods counterparts. So you can cut your losses and actually eat more if you go with less-processed foods, like fresh veggies and fruit, tofu, and whole grains. Sticking to the perimeter is a good rule of thumb when you’re at the grocery store shopping for healthy options.
6. Use frozen produce as an easy win
Frozen vegetables and fruit often get a bad rap, but the truth is that frozen produce is better than no produce in your diet. Buying frozen produce and keeping it on hand to toss into your meals, such as soup, stir fries, and even oatmeal, is a quick, easy win for everyone.
Improving your overall diet doesn’t have to be complicated or daunting. Instead use these simple tips to start making small changes to your nutrition, and you’ll be eating healthier and feeling better in no time.