Do you grab fast food each week, dislike the taste of vegetables or eat too many sweets? Poor eating habits can mean poor nutrition and poor health. The Mayo Clinic Staff recommends lifestyle changes to reduce cholesterol, including losing weight and eating heart-healthy foods like lean meats, low-fat dairy and monounsaturated fats. Eliminating trans fats in fried foods and commercially baked products, limiting cholesterol-rich foods like egg yolks, organ meats and whole milk products is also recommended. This is just some of the advice from experts about how make healthy dietary changes. Below are four ways to change your eating habits today.
Start Small and Sensibly
Registered dietician/nutritionist Keri Gans says it’s better to start with small changes than to totally change your diet in one day. Fad diets, skipping meals and feeling deprived lead to frustration and failure to sustain the healthy eating habits you’re trying to develop. Gans recommends following a healthy eating schedule of three meals plus snacks every day, adding color to your meals with fruits and vegetables, limiting alcohol and soda, and switching to whole-grain carbohydrates like oats, quinoa, brown rice and barley. Stop eating junk foods on the go or eating a limited diet without the variety of good needed for good nutrition.
Small Changes for Big Benefits
Elaine Magee, MPH, RD, best-selling author of books on nutrition and healthy eating, also feels that making small changes to eating habits is the key to success. She recommends switching to whole wheat or whole grain breads to add fiber and vitamins and minerals, using mustard instead of mayonnaise to eliminate calories and fat, and making oatmeal with skim or one percent milk instead of water to add protein and calcium. Eating leafy greens like spinach instead of iceberg lettuce and grilled or broiled fish weekly and skipping the fries with meals does double duty by giving you more nutrients and making you feel full.
When You Don’t Like Veggies
Q&A Internet resource Go Ask Alice recommends preparing vegetables in a more appealing way for those who just don’t like to eat them. Instead of eating them raw, roast vegetables like turnips, carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower to make them sweeter and tastier, and season them with herbs and spices or cheese.
Alice also recommends pureeing vegetables to disguise their flavor and texture and adding them to soups, stews, and dishes like rice pilaf and omelets and scrambled eggs. This is easy to do simply by microwaving the vegetables and then pureeing them in a blender or juicing system like the NutriBullet. For those who like a crispy crunch, thinly slice veggies, brush with olive oil and bake them to produce a healthy alternative to commercially prepared potato chips. Kale, zucchini, sweet potatoes, squash, beets and eggplant are all great candidates for veggie chips.
Examine Your Head and Your Pantry
Jillian Michaels helps people get fit, get healthy, meet their weight loss goals and change their lives. She knows it takes hard work, both physically and mentally and advises people to examine behaviors and habits they want to change, minimize negative self-talk and use techniques like affirmations, journaling and visualization to make healthy eating changes. Then she says to head to the kitchen, clean out processed food and restock with healthy alternatives.