3 Simple Ways to Start Eating Better – Today!
One of my goals as a clinician is to make healthy living easier for people. With so much conflicting advice in the media, there’s a lot of confusion about what to eat and more importantly how to build better eating habits into your lifestyle.
Sometimes, it’s the smallest things you can do that can give you the best results. Here are 3 steps you can take that have helped many of my patients and can help you too:
1 – Grab a smaller plate or bowl
If you ever grabbed a smaller plate or bowl for your typical meal or snack (maybe the bigger ones were dirty or you were in a hurry and took what you saw first), then you may have noticed that you ended up consuming less food. And you may also have noticed that you didn’t leave the table feeling hungry. Studies do confirm that most people (yes, me too!) eat less when served less – and without feeling hungrier. And most people (yes, me too!) tend to serve themselves more food if the plate or bowl is larger.
If you’ve already been downsizing your tableware, good for you! But – if not, then today is the day to try this strategy. You don’t need measuring cups or spoons or weight scales. All you need are your eyes and a little curiosity to see if this can help you.
2 – Add a rainbow of colors
So much of what you hear in the media about eating right is about what not to eat. Another approach is to start adding good-for-you, colorful vegetables, and fruits to your plate. Before you know it, the less healthy foods are displaced. And because of their higher fiber and water content, produce also fills you up. A few examples:
- Decorate your dinner plate with fresh apple or orange slices. Pay attention to how restaurants use colorful produce to garnish plates for more ideas.
- Add dark salad greens, tomato and cucumber slices to sandwiches
- Keep washed and sliced red, orange, yellow and green peppers ready to grab and go for a quick snack on the run. Use hummus or light Ranch dressing as a dip.
3 – Pair protein and produce for a satisfying snack
Vending machines are so convenient but most have limited healthy choices. The candy, chips, and cookies that look enticing can end up stimulating your appetite even more instead of satisfying it. Also, those sugar highs can give you energy lows.
Instead, a good strategy is to think of snacks that combine some protein that has staying power (and won’t stimulate your appetite) with vegetables or fruits that are fiber-rich and come in their own natural wrappers. There are many grab and go options such as a yogurt cup and berries, some almonds and a sliced plum or a hard-boiled egg and some cherry tomatoes.
Planning snacks as a part of your healthy eating routine is a winning strategy. Have patience as you try different options till you find the ones you most enjoy.
Enjoy your health!
Robert Kushner, MD