Spring is in the air bringing changes to weather, wardrobes and waistlines. With the holidays and cold weather months behind you and plans for spring break trips, pool time lounging and outdoor activities in the near future, this is the perfect time to focus on healthy eating.
In light of National Nutrition Month, now is the time to shake off the winter doldrums and make the transition to healthier eating habits. Here are five nutrition tips and tricks to help you “spring” into action and transform your eating habits, one step at a time.
Nutrition Tip 1: Don’t Do It Alone
The most important step to successfully transitioning to healthier eating is to establish a strong network of support in preparation for your journey. Breaking old habits and making healthier lifestyle changes is a difficult task, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. By enlisting support from family, friends and a health and fitness professional, you will get started on the right path to continued nutrition success. A nutrition specialist can help you evaluate your goals and set a plan in motion, one that is smart – specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and timely – to your particular lifestyle.
Nutrition Tip 2: You Bite It, You Write It
The simple act of writing down and keeping track of all food or beverages that enter your mouth will increase awareness of the amount and variety of foods you eat each day. Keeping an Accountability Food Journal is the best tool available to help increase your consciousness regarding the foods you eat. A journal also enables you to analyze the circumstances that contribute to making less healthy food choices. Journaling should be as specific as possible and include the date, time, amount of food, situation and hunger level. Your journal will not only help you keep track of your daily food consumption, but also serve as an insightful follow up tool to share with your nutrition professional. The information in your journal will enable your nutritionist to identify which foods are working for you, as well as which foods and circumstances are barriers that may be getting in the way of attaining your healthy eating goals.
Nutrition Tip 3: Take Baby Steps
Few people are successful with major lifestyle changes when they dive in head first. The best strategy to achieve major goals in life is to break the goal down into small doable steps. For instance, if your goal is to improve your eating habits and you have a problem eating too much high fat, high calorie fast food (and you truly enjoy the food), then it would probably not be realistic to cut it out completely. Instead, you would work with your nutrition consultant to come up with a better plan, one that is doable for you such as cutting back on fast food consumption or even choosing healthier fare at fast food restaurants. Rome was not built in one day and neither should your transition to healthier eating.
Nutrition Tip 4: Focus on the Positive
Some people equate healthy eating with deprivation and eliminating favorite foods from your diet. To keep your nutrition transition from stalling before you take the first step, give yourself the gift of positive thinking and keep your momentum toward healthy eating moving strong. Instead of putting the sole focus on eliminating foods from your day, switch your mindset to a more positive approach…what healthy foods can you add into your day? For example, if you want to cut back on your red meat consumption, perhaps commit to eating a vegetarian dinner on Mondays (Meatless Mondays); or reserve one day a week dedicated to trying different kinds of fish from around the world (Fish Fridays). Have fun with it and make your journey to healthy eating an adventure.
Tip 5: Break it Down
A marathon (26.2 miles) is run one step at a time. Many people fail in making the transition to a healthier lifestyle when they take the all or nothing approach. The key to successfully making this transition is to work with your support team to embrace the opportunities, work through the challenges and learn from your mistakes during each step of the journey. By breaking your nutrition transition plan down into one step, one meal and one day at a time, you will cross that finish line healthier and happier.