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In the last post, which you can read here, I introduced to idea of small sustainable changes and why they yield amazing results. Now, it’s time to take a look at how easy it is to apply these small changes to our food and nutrition without feeling like we are depriving ourselves of all the delicious goodies, while working towards greater health.
Food and Nutrition Changes
Making changes to our food and nutrition is probably the hardest and scariest life change for most people to tackle.
“What?! I can’t eat cake?! Lady, you’re crazy!”
Food is very emotional for people. You have memories attached to meals, foods, smells, and celebration. So much of what we do to celebrate life is surrounded by food. Restricting food or not eating certain foods is like denying our memories and celebrations. Why would we want to deny ourselves in this way?
Honestly, we don’t.
So we start small by ADDING healthier options to our diets.
If you normally have coffee, sugary creamer, and a donut for breakfast, all you need to do is add something healthier before you eat the donut. You may choose to add fruit, veggies, protein, or a healthy fat. Still eat what you usually do, but add an egg to go with it. If you don’t have time or like eggs, add some nuts or lunch meat. It doesn’t have to be any big deal, but just add something healthier to what you already are choosing to eat.
Try this for one meal a day for a week.
Then move to two meals a day for a week.
Keep on adding a healthy choice for each meal and snack. Over the course of a month, you have just added more healthy nutrients to your body then you would have regularly. Congratulations! You have just made some small sustainable changes!
When my friends and family have used this approach, they tell me that they inadvertently start looking to add more healthier options because their bodies feel better with all the nutrient dense foods. The next thing you know, your pants are looser, you’re sleeping better, and you have more energy! That’s a win as far as I’m concerned!
Another approach to small sustainable changes is to add a new fruit or veggie to your grocery list each week. This is something we did years ago and really enjoyed the process of discovering new foods. As a child, I had never had an avocado, and didn’t even know they were in guacamole. I had no idea what to do with it or how to even cut into the thing. Is it a fruit? Is it a veggie? What do you mean it’s full of healthy fats and carbohydrates? Here we are about twelve years later and avocados are a major player in our dietary lineup.
One of the things I love about the Beachbody Food Portion-Fix containers is that they teach you all about new foods and healthier substitutions you can make in your diet. Most of the Beachbody Programs now include the portion-fix containers for free! They are seven different containers that are color coded based on the different food groups. This is done so you can make sure you are getting nutritional variety in your diet without crazy food scales and portions that are too large or too small. Using the containers to maximize my nutrition was a small sustainable change I began using years ago. The recipes and food ideas that are included with the portion-fix containers helped me add some new foods to my diet!
Regardless of the approach you take to make small sustainable changes, it is very important to write down the various changes you have tried. For example:
- March 2nd, 2017: eggplant – pan fried – good, all the kids ate, make again.
- April 4th, 2017: eggplant – baked in olive oil in oven – gross, turned out mushy. NEVER AGAIN
When you are able to keep track of what you have tried, added into your meal rotation, and how you felt about it, it gives you a good guide to look back on to see the amazing changes you have made. It will help guide your future choices and remind you of all the different ways you tried new foods and liked them!
What are some small sustainable changes you will make in the area of food and nutrition to reach your goals? I’d love to hear from you!
Next up is how to incorporate this into your mental well-being!