As humans, we tend to be creatures of habit, which makes change difficult in every aspect of our lives. Every day we make choices, and these choices relate to our ability to make changes- especially related to our nutrition and health. The choices that we make can add to our health, or they can take away from it. It’s easy to get overwhelmed when we think about all the changes we would like to make, but if we take small steps each day, over time, this can lead to improvements in our health.
Here are five small steps you can take each and every day to improve your eating habits. Start by introducing one step, and once you’ve incorporated it into your lifestyle, move on to the next.
Rise and Dine
When you hear the word breakfast, think of it as breaking your fast! Eating a balanced breakfast is the best way to ensure you are fueling yourself for a productive day. Breakfast has also been shown to increase metabolism, and improve cognitive function.
Going with the Grain
Swap out refined grains with whole grains. To name a few, white bread and white pasta are examples of refined grains products, while oats, barley and quinoa are considered whole grains. Whole grains are higher in fibre, vitamins and minerals as they literally contain the whole grain, while refined grains have underwent processing that removes part of the grain. Research has shown that individuals who eat more whole grains have a lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and some cancers.
Eat Your Veggies
As vegetables are a nutrient dense, low calorie option, including a hearty amount in your meals and snacks is another small way that you can add to your health. Vegetables provide us with nutrients that our bodies need to function optimally, but they also add crunch, colour, flavour and texture to our meals. Veggies can be eaten raw, roasted, barbequed, steamed or spiralized. They can even be added to things like sauces, smoothies and desserts if you have a hard time fitting in your veggies.
Keep Your Glass Full
…Of water! When we think about our eating habits, we tend to forget about the fluids that we drink. However, what we choose to hydrate ourselves with can either add to or take away from our health. As we all know, water is essential for life, but what does it do? In short, it helps clear waste from our bodies, cushions our joints and maintains our body temperature.
Along with water, try to choose drinks without added sugar or calories, such as milk, coffee or tea. Drinks with added sugar don’t fill us up, and the excess calories can lead to weight gain. If you struggle to drink enough water, treat yourself to a new water bottle, and bring it with you on the go. Also trying adding fruit to give your water flavour!
Our schedules are jam packed, which often leads to eating on the run, and overall, less time to take care of ourselves. However, if we were able to slow down and actually take the time to fuel our bodies properly, we would have more energy to tackle our busy schedules.
For this last small change, focus on turning mindless eating into mindful eating. Instead of rushing to eat, take the time to sit down and enjoy your meal. Start with one meal out of your day, and eventually try it at all of your meals and snacks. Pay attention to the way the food tastes, the colour and the texture. How do you feel when you are eating? Are you hungry, or are you full? Really taste what you are eating, and appreciate the time it takes to refuel your body.
My Viva Plan, developed by Registered Dietitians – can help you make these small changes to your diet and keep you moving towards your goals. Login or sign-up to see for yourself!