Keep it Simple – Eating Right Doesn’t Have to be Complicated!
By: Lisa Cooper, MS, RD, LD/N
Take time during National Nutrition Month to focus your attention on eating habits. Healthy eating is one of the most powerful tools for disease prevention and is “doable”, if you create your own way to a healthier eating pattern. Choose one or two simple steps this month to concentrate on small, manageable changes.
Simple Steps to Make Small Changes
Remember, no one eats perfectly every day. Strive for small adjustments and focus on transforming the way you think about food — one step at a time.
Changes That You Can Make
- Decide to eat healthier and enjoy the foods you love in small amounts
- Involve family by planning menus together, making sure recipes fit with preferences and budget
- Include one new easy meatless recipe each week
- Have picky eaters choose a few healthy options at the grocery store
- Cook meals in batches on the weekend for easy week day prep
- Choose mainly water and low/no sugar beverages. Add lemons, limes, or cucumbers to water or try unsweetened carbonated water
- Focus on what you can add to your diet. Add a variety of vegetables and fruits at each meal and snack
- Choose low fat cheese, yogurt, and milk. If dairy-free is preferred, select fortified plant-based beverages with no added sugars
- Try a new grain like brown rice crackers or quinoa
- Cook with plant based oils such as olive, canola, and sunflower
- Select lean protein foods, including seafood, lean meats and poultry, eggs, legumes, soy products, and nuts and seeds. Limit processed meats such as hot dogs, salami, and bacon
- Buy foods with little-to-no added sugars; including unsweetened applesauce, yogurts, and whole-grain cereals
- Use herbs and spices to season foods instead of salt. Read labels on packaged food for sodium
Small Changes. Big Results!
While diet (nutrition) is only one piece of the puzzle along with exercise (fitness) and well-being, it is the piece that will help the other two fall into place and optimize your health. Getting your diet in order will not only benefit your health and well-being greatly, but a simple strategy and small changes are easier to make and will add up to healthy benefits!
References & Resources
For more information on healthful changes you can make to your eating plan, consult a registered dietitian, your physician, or seek information from a reputable online resource.
- The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
- Orlando Health Blog
- The National Institute of Health (NIH)
- Medline Plus
- The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
- Choose My Plate
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020
- National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK)
- We Can!
- Women’s Health
- Health and Human Services
About the Author
Lisa Cooper specializes in prevention and wellness at Orlando Health Center for Health Improvement. She is a registered and licensed dietitian with a Bachelor of Science degree from Ohio University and a Master of Science in Human Nutrition from Case Western Reserve University.