Big diet adjustments have you overwhelmed? Then start with baby steps.
Whether you need to change your diet in order to shed pounds or improve the health of your heart, it can be hard to know where to start. If you’ve set a weight loss or health goal for yourself, the best way to achieve and maintain that goal isn’t to completely overhaul how you live your life overnight. You’re more likely to maintain good habits if you start out slow and steady.
So what baby steps can you take to make a healthy diet a life habit instead of a mere goal?
Sip on This
It may sound simple, but drinking more water is a great goal to get your healthy lifestyle started – especially if you love soda. Did you know that if you drink two glasses of soda every day for a year, you will gain 24 pounds? Sound crazy?
Consider this: The sugar found in sodas, caffeine products, and juices taste great, but these drinks may actually make you thirstier instead of quenching your thirst like water does. That’s why you wind up downing glass after glass of soda when you go out to eat.
Try replacing at least one soda a day with a cup of ice water. You’ll cut out excess sugar and calories, and the cold water will help you burn calories by forcing your body to warm up the water. If you simply can’t cut soda completely out of your diet, drink diet soda instead of regular.
At the same time you’re cutting soda out, you should also switch to skim milk.
Even drinking one-percent milk adds hundreds or thousands of grams of fat to your body each year. Skim milk may taste a little different, but it still has the same amount of vitamins and minerals and less fat. If you’re currently drinking whole milk, switch to two percent. Give it a few weeks, and then jump to one percent for a couple weeks, and finally work your way to skim.
When you think of colorful foods, don’t think about red velvet cake or green icing. Think about fruits and vegetables. Having a colorful plate at each meal is a healthy thing to work toward, so take small steps to add them into your meals and snacks. If you find yourself reaching for chips or cookies at snack time, try an apple or baby carrots instead. And don’t worry about becoming a vegetarian. Including at least one fruit or vegetable at each meal will help you take great strides toward a healthier diet.
Breakfast is often overlooked and forgotten. After all, many people are too busy in the morning to sit down to eat or perhaps they just aren’t hungry first thing in the morning. However, eating even a small breakfast can make a big difference in your health. Skip breakfast, and you can expect to be extra hungry when lunch rolls around, causing you to overeat and add extra, unneeded calories to your physique. Don’t think you can become a breakfast eater? Go with a small piece of toast, a hard-boiled egg, or a spoonful of peanut butter to get started.
Also, be sure to include healthy snacks as part of your day, and don’t let more than a few hours go by without food. Otherwise you will suffer the same fate as if you didn’t eat breakfast. You’ll become overly hungry and eat more than necessary at the next meal.
Other small changes to make in your meals include using olive oil instead of butter, switching to whole grain breads and pastas, and checking nutrition labels to reduce sodium and sugar in your diet. But don’t sweat making all these changes at once. Remember – baby steps!
Every Change Counts
Think baby steps won’t get you to your goal fast enough? Maybe you should modify your goals, because every positive change counts – even if they are just baby steps!
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