Four Easy Steps to Start Eating Healthier

Author

Emily McPhee, Registered Dietitian

Emily McPhee, RD

People often have an all or nothing mentality when it comes to eating healthy. They jump into a strict diet, have one slip up and throw in the towel in frustration soon after.

One of the things I enjoy most about my job as a registered dietitian is helping people get out of this cycle.

Eating healthy does not need to mean following strict guidelines. It is about balance.

For most of us, we need to focus on choosing foods that nourish our bodies, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.

Four Easy Steps to Start Eating Healthier

March is National Nutrition Month and this year’s theme is “Put Your Best Fork Forward.” It means making small changes for big results, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Small changes really can have a big impact on your health.

Here are a few ideas to help you start eating healthier:

  1. If you love macaroni and cheese try making it with whole grain pasta. Whole grains have nutrients and fiber that processed grains don’t have. Add a vegetable—like broccoli, spinach or onions—to the dish or on the side for added vitamins.
     
  2. Switch from white rice to brown rice or quinoa, both of which have more protein and dietary fiber. For a different taste, try mixing diced cauliflower in with your rice, which will add fiber and vitamin C to your meal.
     
  3. Can’t live without chocolate? You don’t need to deprive yourself. Allow yourself one small piece per day. Eat slowly and be mindful. If the rest of your diet is lower in sugar and saturated fat, there is space for small treats like this.
     
  4. When packing snacks for your day, pick fruits and vegetables. Challenge yourself each week to try a new fruit or vegetable (there are so many delicious choices that may surprise you). Also, experiment with different ways to prepare them.

The idea of making major changes to your eating patterns can be a scary proposition for anybody. But drastic changes aren’t always the best solution for long-term results. Small steps to improve your diet can, over time, make a big difference.

South Shore Hospital’s registered dietitians offer individual sessions to help you meet your nutritional goals. Learn more about our program by visiting our website or call 781-624-4090 to schedule an appointment.