Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus.See all posts »
The New Year can be a great time for a fresh start, but many people attempt a complete overhaul of their diet, which fizzles out within a few weeks because it's just too darn hard. I think changing your diet is a lot like learning to speak a new language, or play a musical instrument - you have to practice and take it one step at a time.
So, I recommend what I call a “step ladder” approach. Focus on just one goal at a time, then once that change feels like a normal part of your routine, choose another goal, then another. Yes, you’ll be making slower progress, but you won’t feel overwhelmed. And the changes you make will be a lot more likely to “stick.” Plus, you can celebrate your smaller successes along the way. They’ll snowball into big results as the weeks add up.
Here are some suggestions:
Goal 1 – eat breakfast every day of the week (like instant oatmeal or cold whole grain cereal with fruit, whole grain toast with peanut or almond butter – even just a banana is better than skipping)
Goal 2 - include 2-3 cups (2-3 baseballs) of cooked veggies or salad at dinner every night
Goal 3 - eat 2 fruits a day as snacks (1 cup if fresh, a quarter cup or golf ball size if dried, or a mini fruit cup if canned in natural juice)
Goal 4 - swap out your refined grains for whole grains (such as whole wheat pasta and brown or wild rice for white)
Goal 5 – trade in saturated and trans fats for unsaturated fats (use oil and herbs when cooking instead of butter or margarine)
Goal 6 – increase your water intake by 1 or 2 tumblers per day (exchange regular or diet drinks for ice cold water with lemon)
For more ideas click here.
These step by step changes won’t turn your world upside down, and you'll be able to maintain them for the rest of your life. Happy New Year!
Photo courtesy of National Cancer Institute