It’s a misconception that in order to clean up your diet and eat healthy, you have to make big, sweeping changes to your life.
Even small changes or tweaks can make a big difference. Turn those small changes into daily habits and you’ll be on your way toward losing weight — and keeping it off.
To help you get started, here are 4 tips to help you start living your best (healthy) life from Ilana Muhlstein, M.S., R.D. and creator of the 2B Mindset nutrition program.
1. “Clean” Your Counters
It doesn’t matter how sensible I am as a dietitian, or how motivated a person is, what we see is what we’re going to eat.
I always say, “OOSOOM: out of sight, out of mind.” This is critical especially for homes where the kitchen acts as a hangout as well.
Clear your countertops of sliced bread, jars of cookies, bowls of candies, and boxes of cereal.
Replace them with things that can be helpful if you’re feeling hungry like boxes of cherry tomatoes (my daughter reaches into these daily for a quick snack) or a bowl of apples.
You should also have things out that keep you thinking about your healthy lifestyle — veggies that need cooking like spaghetti squash, turnips, and onions, or a Shakeology or smoothie station.
I do keep treats and sweets in the house for my family, but not the ones that tempt me most. I’m much more savvy about keeping everything in sight, in mind, that we do want to eat most.
2. Beware of the “Health Halo”
A “health halo” is when a food is perceived as healthy overall, when in fact, it may only have some healthy attributes.
For example, veggie burgers. Many people look at all plant-based burgers as healthy protein substitutes, yet many of them can actually be higher in carbohydrates and fat than protein.
Protein is important for helping you feel full and preventing overeating, yet many of these vegetarian patties have less than five grams of protein in them.
If you do buy veggie burgers as protein substitutes, make sure they contain at least 10 grams of protein (per burger).
3. Use My Dilution Technique
Basically, just take a generous portion of your favorite sauce, dressing, or marinade and dilute it.
You can use lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, salsa, or just a bit of water to amp up the volume and distribute it more evenly.
It loosens up the sauce so it actually coats the food better and you end up eating less, without even realizing it!
4. Stay Busy
While free time gets perceived as relaxing, it actually makes me feel anxious, which can lead to bad eating habits.
That’s why I always try to fill my schedule with things that make me feel productive, so I don’t find myself rummaging through the pantry for a lack of something to do.
So, you can see that these strategies aren’t huge changes; they’re merely small adjustments to how you’re probably already living your life.
Start with just one healthy habit and then build on that by adding one more, and then one more after that until you’ve created a strong foundation for healthy eating — for life.