By: Holly Case, Freelance Writer and Mom of Three Boys
Even if your diet is already pretty good, you could still find ways to improve. But it can be intimidating to think of making changes if your diet needs a lot of improvement. Stay optimistic and don’t become so overwhelmed by the thought of improving your diet that it stops you from making positive changes. Even small tweaks can have a major impact.
Don’t Skip Breakfast
Many women skip breakfast. Between busy mornings and the desire to save a few calories, it’s easy to see why some people skip a morning meal, especially if they don’t feel hungry right away. But making the small change of eating breakfast can make a big difference in your health. Skipping breakfast increases your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, particularly for women. If you’re worried breakfast will destroy your calorie goals, choose high-protein and low-fat options like Greek yogurt.
Add Good Foods Instead of Subtracting Bad Ones
Most diet advice tells you to get rid of all the bad foods you eat. But it’s hard to maintain willpower indefinitely. If your healthy diet just focuses on avoiding junk food, you’re likely to miss certain foods that you thought you could never eat again. Instead of promising never to eat a cheeseburger again, try adding healthy foods instead. Aim to increase your fruit and vegetable intake by having green smoothies every day. It’s easier to maintain small changes.
Make Smarter Snack Choices
When your blood sugar gets too low, you might get that dreaded feeling of being “hangry” – both hungry and angry. Unfortunately, these moments destroy our ability to resist making destructive diet choices, like grabbing something from a vending machine. Expect that you’ll have these moments and come prepared. Keep some healthy snacks in your purse or desk at work. Choose high-protein snacks with some staying power, like 100-calorie packs of almonds. Apples keep for a long time and offer fiber to keep your insulin levels steady.
Drinking more water is one of the best things you can do to improve your diet and overall health. When you drink more water, your skin will look better, your immune system may be stronger, and it can help you lose a bit of weight. It can be intimidating to drink more water, but you may find it easier when you give up the sugary beverages you’re currently drinking. By giving up sugary beverages, you also reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Pass on Social Food
Food is part of many bonding experiences in our country. From the piece of birthday cake you really don’t want to the dessert a coworker brought in, social cues can make you feel pressured to eat. Reserve your right to politely say no. All these extra little treats can add up to several hundred calories a day. When your birthday rolls around, ask your office mates to bring a fruit tray instead of cake. Having lunch with friends? Order water with lemon instead of soda, and choose a small salad instead of the cheese fries.
Making positive changes to your diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming. But you can get major results from small diet changes, and the best news is that those good habits are easier to maintain.