You might be struggling to stick to your new year’s resolution to eat healthier because you either started with no plan or you’re trying to do too much.
If you’re having trouble, there are three steps that might make things a lot easier for you.
The first is to try and only eat real food. Take a look at what’s on your plate and identify what is processed and what isn’t. It could be the entire meal – like a frozen dinner – or maybe just part, like a bottled salad dressing or white rice.
Now think of ways to swap for more nutritious options. Perhaps eating whole grain pasta instead of white-flour spaghetti, making your own salad dressing with olive oil and vinegar, or snacking on baked chickpeas instead of potato chips.
Limiting processed foods can help reduce inflammation and the risk of several diseases. Consider the Mediterranean diet if you’re looking for examples of how to limit processed foods.
Schedule meals and snacks using a timer on your phone. Set up three times for meals and two snacks, and avoid eating between these times. This can help curb cravings and reduce stress about when you’ll eat next. It can also get rid of unnecessary calories.
Avoid scheduling meals and snacks after about 7 PM to not conflict with your body’s natural clock.
Lastly, try to limit portion sizes. Load your plate as you normally would, then remove about a third of the food – maybe even half. You can even try using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate – this can help fool you into eating less.
You can also try eating less by keeping serving bowls off of the table, which can remove the temptation of going in for more.
Try these steps one at a time, introducing one per week. Make notes about what you’re eating, what you’re not, and what is or isn’t working. Think about how to address any questions you may have and what you can do to make better choices more often.
Having a well-executed plan is the best way to adapt, and stick to, a healthy diet.