I share my top 10 Small Diet Changes You NEED to Make BIG Difference to Your Health for Nutrition Month!
Happy Nutrition Month, friends! Well, we’re officially past the big new year’s resolution push where fancy gyms, detox regimes and diet books cash in. According to a 2015 Ipsos poll, 73% of the Canadians who set a New Year’s resolution breaks them (and my guess is probably around this time). The key to making health improvements is adopting simple, small behaviours into your day that already can fit into your current life. If your favourite food is pizza don’t promise yourself you’re never going to eat a Hawaiian thin crust pie again. If you hate swimming, don’t resolve to get in the pool six days a week.
I wanted to share the top small diet changes that when adopted into your daily routine can make a huge difference to your health.
10 Small Diet Changes You Need
Plan Those Snacks!
Us humans love to snack, but planning snacks is really the key to making sure we don’t end up desperately raiding the office cookie drawer. Aim for a combination of fibre and protein, and somewhere around or below 200 calories so you don’t spoil your appetite for your next meal. I am loving Sanissimo Salmas oven baked corn crackers with a few tablespoons of my Thai hummus recipe. Each individually wrapped pack has only 70 calories so they’re a flavourful and convenient snack to throw into a lunch bag for my 3 PM nosh.
Chew, Don’t Drink Your Calories
The problem with juices and other drinks is that they’re concentrated sources of calories without the satisfying delivery of fibre or protein. I also find that drinking your calories is not nearly as satisfying (emotionally or physically) as the act of sitting down to a beautiful meal, so we often drink up and are still craving more. If you’re used to drinking a glass of orange juice, swap it for a full orange- you’ll save calories, boost fibre and get to chew your food!
Keep Water with You at All Times
A lot of people accidentally mistake their thirst for hunger making it easy to overeat when a cup of water would have done the trick. Keep a refillable bottle or glass of water in plain sight at your work desk at all times of the day so that you’re constantly reminded to drink up. When you make it easy and available for yourself, you’ll be more likely to imbibe!
Have Protein at Breakfast
Most typical breakfast options are carb-heavy (think cereal, fruit, and toast), but research suggests getting that some protein in that morning meal is an easy change that can make a huge difference. In fact, studies that have compared two groups with breakfasts of the same calorie count have found that those who ate more protein consumed up to 135 calories less over the course of the day! That’s more than whole pound of weight loss each month without cutting calories! Here’s one of my favourite high protein breakfasts for protein packed whipped oatmeal!
Prep Those Veg!
Let’s get real- healthy food needs to be convenient to be eaten, so when you get home from the grocery store, wash, chop and portion out all of the veggies and fruit. Place them in clear baggies and containers so they’re easy to grab for snacks or throw into salads or stir-fries throughout the week. This tip will not only save you calories, but may save you money too if you’re no longer throwing out produce you never use.
Batch Prep Protein
Again, convenience, planning and healthy eating go hand in hand. If you’re making chicken breasts for dinner, bake or grill off a few pounds so that you have protein in the house ready for lunch and dinner. That way, when you’re tired or rushed to make lunches or dinners, you already have all of the building blocks ready to be assembled and eaten. Dinner will be ready faster than you can call for take-out, saving you tons of calories and cash!
Go to bed an Hour Earlier
I’ve discussed the role of sleep, appetite and weight management in the past here but in brief, we know that getting enough sleep is imperative to good health. Research also has linked sleep deprivation to weight gain and food cravings. Wind down a bit early by putting your stimulating electronics away, doing a meditation, having a bath, or reading a book. This will ensure you have a more restful and higher quality sleep so you can better manage your appetite (and maybe even have the energy to work out!) the next morning.
KISS (Keep it Simple Stupid!)
Hey, we’re busy people! Being healthy doesn’t require you to cook everything from scratch, but not all convenience foods are created equal. When looking at nutrition labels, fill your cart foods that have short, simple ingredient lists (or no label at all!) to help reduce unsatisfying added sodium, sugars, and fillers. For example, I love that Sanissimo Salmas have only four ingredients including whole grain corn flour and no artificial flavours of colours.
Choose Smaller Plates
This is a classic mindless eating hack that we can use to our advantage. We tend to eat with our eyes, and no one likes a half empty plate – it just feels emotionally unsatisfying and sad! So choose a smaller plate as your standard dinner plate so that filling it up looks and feels more – well, “full”.
Sit Down to Eat
I don’t care if it’s a quickie snack or a full blown 8 course dinner, if you’re putting anything in your mouth, it should be at a table, and away from distractions. Most of the eating people do on the go or standing up is mindless impulsive distracted eating and when we’re distracted, it’s very easy to blast past our satiety signals and overdo it. Sit down and invest in whatever you’re eating so that you derive the most pleasure and enjoyment out of every bite and tune into those subtle satiety cues.
See, healthy eating doesn’t have to complicated, it just has to work for you. Those small diet changes may seem like nothing, but they have the potential to make long lasting differences to your health that you can maintain for years to come.
What are some of the small diet changes you’ve adopted to improve your health this year?
Have you already tried any of these small diet changes?
Leave me a comment below with some of your thoughts and ideas!
Disclaimer: This post was developed in paid partnership with Sanissimo Salmas, however, all opinions are genuine.