Taking the First Steps: Nutrition

boy drinikng milkFor most of us the resolution is the same: Lose weight and get in shape.  However the path to accomplishing these goals might look totally different for each of us.  The most important thing is taking the first steps.  Starting with small changes will help you to see progress.  This in turn, will keep you motivated and make it easier for to reach your goals and make 2015 healthier and happier.  Here are some healthful ideas to keep in mind when eating healthier is the plan:

  •  An apple a day. Add more fruits and vegetables to your diet.  Simply adding one apple a day into an otherwise lacking diet can have a big impact and lead to better choices down the road.  Choose fruits and vegetables in a variety of colors to gain the powerful antioxidant benefits each variety has to offer.  Try to have at least one vegetable on your plate at dinner time.   Challenge yourself to try one new vegetable a week.  Bet you will be surprised at the new favorites you discover.
  •  Make it a good morning.  Start the day with a healthy breakfast.  This can be a real challenge for some people who struggle to feel hungry when they start their day.  Give yourself time in the morning.  A healthy breakfast will fuel your body and help prevent eating a larger meal at lunch time.  It doesn’t have to and shouldn’t be a big calorie meal.  Make good choices- a balance of fruit, lean protein, and whole grain fiber give your body the fuel it needs to get you moving and keep you satisfied until lunch.
  •  Make an even exchange.  Swap white grains and pasta for whole grains.  Slowly add more whole grain pasta and brown rice and other super grains such as quinoa and farro onto your plate.  Give your taste buds some time to adjust, but stick with it.  White grains and pasta add mostly empty calories into your diet.  Whole grains bring fiber, B vitamins and minerals such as iron to your body.
  •  Swap the sugar.  Replace sugary drinks and soda with low fat milk and water.  This is often a difficult change for people to make.  Start cutting back on the number of sodas you drink each day and replace them with water.   Adding a lemon, lime or cucumber slice can give your water a little extra flavor.  Keep a refillable water bottle with you to sip on at all times during the day.  You will be surprised at how much more water you drink.  It will also help curb those in between meal time hunger pains.  A good goal would be to have no more than one 12 ounce can of soda per day. Don’t give up!  As hard as it may seem, stick with it.  You will see and feel the benefits of eliminating sugary drinks from your diet. 
  •  Start with one.  A balanced plate is great but only if the portion sizes are appropriate. Start with one serving.  Super sized portions are a huge problem in today’s society.  Try to limit your how much you take and remember you can always go back for a little more.  To learn more about what a healthy portion is read:  /news-stories/2012/01/understanding-portion-sizes/

Having the intention to eat better is the first step.  Good for you for deciding to make some changes!  Make a plan and start with small goals.  Enlist the support of your family or friends.  Get them on board to making healthier eating a priority.  Encourage one another to keep it up.  Why not trade some of the good, healthy recipes that you try?  You will most likely hit a few stumbling blocks along the road. Don’t stress over it.  Pick yourself up, reset your goals and continue on your healthy path.  Starting small can result in big rewards. 
Keep up the good work!