Usually we tell people not to sweat the small stuff. But when it comes to making healthy changes that will stick, it’s the small things that really make a difference. So in honor of National Nutrition Month, here are my favorite tips for living your healthiest life:
- Plan to pick something new: a new vegetable, a new walking path, a new recipe. The “plan” part is important because you are consciously making a decision to act on a goal, and it will feel good when you accomplish it.
- Eat breakfast: because your mother said so and because your brain needs the fuel to make good choices, such as executing on tip #1 above.
- Indulge in something good for you: dark chocolate and red wine both contain polyphenols, a type of antioxidant that may help in the fight against chronic disease. So if you enjoy these foods, partake in a small portion (1-2 squares of dark chocolate, 5 oz wine) without guilt!
- Love thy vegetables: again, because your mother said so, but also because a diet rich in a colorful produce is our strongest and tastiest weapon against obesity and chronic disease. Focus on filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables. You don’t have to tell her she was right.
- Start by adding instead of taking away: sometimes people get discouraged with healthy eating resolutions because they get caught up in what to avoid. Focusing on what to add is a lot more fun. There are no “bad” foods. Over time, taste buds and mindsets adjust to appreciate a plate filled with nutrient-dense foods, and this makes choosing the good stuff a lot easier.
Most importantly, don’t get overwhelmed! Focus on one or two small changes at a time and then challenge yourself to something new the next week or even the next month. And congratulate yourself on the strides you have made towards being your healthiest self.