Being stuck inside and changing normal routines has many people focused on their health and weight management. If you put on a few pounds during the pandemic, don’t worry—you aren’t alone. Recognizing that nutrition and activity play a key role in successful lifelong management of your weight and health is an excellent first step in making positive changes.
Though breaking bad habits can seem daunting, here are ten changes you can make to your nutrition to get started today.
- Switch from sugary beverages like soda, juices, sports drinks, sweet tea, lemonade and aguas frescas to water or zero calorie drinks.
- Trade potato chips or cookies for non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, celery, sliced cucumber, baby tomatoes or pepper wedges.
- Schedule three balanced meals per day, filling half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables.
- Bake, broil, boil, or steam foods instead of frying.
- Reduce portions of meats and high fat foods and increase portions of vegetables.
- Remove the skin from poultry and trim the fat from meats.
- Eat fish twice per week. Grill, steam, bake or broil instead of frying.
- Avoid fast food restaurants.
- Substitute low fat yogurt in a recipe for sour cream.
- Swap sugary coffee drinks for freshly brewed black coffee with a small serving of creamer.
Starting with just one or two of these tips can make a huge difference in your health.
Change your perspective—and your lifestyle
In addition to these nutrition tips, it can be helpful to change your perspective about diet, activity, and weight loss. First, recognize that weight loss is slow motion and takes hard work and time. Your health doesn't change overnight, but your decisions about your health can.
Allow yourself to make changes gradually. You don’t have to become a pro chef and run a marathon tomorrow. Start today by making a few simple changes in your diet. For exercise, you can start as simply as walking five days of the week for 30 minutes. If you can convert some of these tips into habits, you’re making progress.
Joel Lien is a Registered Dietician and Diabetes Educator at the Texas Diabetes Institute.