Making Small Changes Can Improve Health
By Debra Rodzinak
Living a healthier lifestyle doesn’t mean that a person has to immediately go vegan and do yoga four hours a day. Studies show that to be successful with lifestyle changes, small changes made gradually over time seem to last as opposed to a huge change all at once. When it comes to changing an eating style, these small changes can build up over time and lead to an overall healthier lifestyle.
Fruits and Vegetables
Focusing on whole fruits and giving up processed or sugary drinks is one step that can be taken. Some examples include:
- Switch to eating a whole apple instead of drinking apple juice that may contain added sugars
- Instead of snacking on cookies or other sugar filled treats, eat fresh or dried fruits
- Treat yourself to fresh fruit for dessert
Vegetables come in a wide variety of colors and tastes. When adding vegetables to your diet, try to:
- Eat different colored vegetables such as green, red, and orange
- Add vegetables to dishes that you already eat, such as spaghetti or salads
- Cut the amount of salt, fat, and added sugars by eliminating gravies, sauces, and glazes
Whole grains have been shown to increase longevity. When thinking about your diet, make at least half of the grains you eat, whole grains.
- Instead of refined or processed grains, choose whole grains
- Read the nutrition labels to ensure that foods are high in fiber
- Eat whole grain foods such as popcorn, whole wheat flour, and oatmeal
Low-fat and Fat-free Dairy
Dairy comes in a variety of fat levels. Making the switch can be done slowly, over time. Those who have tried switching from whole milk to fat-free milk can switch to 2 percent, then 1 percent before going fat-free. Some other ways to change your dairy include:
- Choose low-fat or fat-free yogurt or milk
- Read the labels to find the low fat cheese option
- Cut out cream cheese, butter, and heavy cream, which have very little calcium and are loaded with saturated fat
Many people think that eating healthy means cutting out meat. This could not be farther from the truth. Lean cuts of beef or chicken without the skin are some easy changes to a diet. Some other changes include:
- Instead of just chicken or beef, try to eat seafood, beans, nuts, eggs, and soy during the week
- Eat fish twice a week
- Use beans, peas, seeds, soy, or unsalted nuts as added ingredient to meals you already prepare
As with any lifestyle change, small steps can lead to big gains in the long run. Try one or two changes for awhile. Once it becomes habit, add one or two more. You will be eating healthier in no time.
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic.