Seven Simple Steps to Improve Your Diet

It's a new year. The urge to jump into a drastic diet might be tempting. But making some small changes to your eating habits can help you drop pounds without much effort.

It Starts with Diet

“Increase the nutrition quality of your life,” explains Dahlia Gomez, a University Health registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator. “Choose healthier carbs. It’s not always about weight loss. Sometimes, improving your labs — blood pressure, blood sugars and cholesterol levels — and the way you feel are more important than simply weight loss.”

Changing habits is key, adds Kasey Oroian, University Health clinical nutrition manager.

“Eating healthy is not rocket science, but it does take planning and work,” Oroian said. “It’s the habits you repeat on a daily basis that make the biggest impact. Change your habits to help change your health.”

Seven Steps to a Healthier You

  1. Stop drinking sodas. Switch to zero-calorie sparkling water.
  2. Eat one fruit per day. An apple, orange, peach or banana does help keep the doctor away.
  3. Pack your lunch at home. Plan the day before work. Keep healthy snacks in your car (nuts, dried fruit, protein bars) to help resist temptation.
  4. Eat the rainbow. Choose a different color of fruit or vegetable daily.
  5. Plan your meals around a vegetable instead of meat. Fill half your plate with fresh, grilled or roasted vegetables.
  6. Avoid fad diets. They often exclude one or more food groups. A restrictive diet can impair long-term success.
  7. Eat whole foods. Foods that don’t have a nutrition label, like fresh fruits and vegetables, should be what you eat frequently.

“Start the new year out healthier by changing simple things like eating breakfast, eating at home more and choosing baked instead of fried items when eating out,” Gomez said. “A little sacrifice will go a long way.”

Want to add another resolution? Use our New Year's Quiz to see what you can do to be a healthier you.

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