Are years of donuts, dips and desserts making your body scream for a nutritional makeover? Or perhaps your diet plan includes one excuse after another of how it did not, could not, and would not work.
If so, here are some ideas from expert Moms.
1. Start smart
Take stock of yourself. What motivates you to stay the course toward better health? Is it your family’s health history? Do you want get back into your “skinny” jeans?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Consult savvy Moms, read and ask friends for their health secrets.
Portion control is a major calorie killer, If you sit down with a bag of chips, baked or fried, you certainly will eat more than if you try one of the 100 calorie pre-portioned snacks. Portion yourself towards a healthier lifestyle.
Examine your relationship with food. Do you eat when you are bored, stressed, or sad? Do you use food as a reward? Make a list of other ways to comfort or reward you that don’t involve food.
Slowly change your eating habits. If you are ready to improve your nutrition, you may be tempted to do a diet overhaul and change everything about the way you eat. Select one eating habit to change at a time.
Establish food goals you can reach and make them small. Your goals should be specific, attainable and flexible.
2. Plan passionately
Having a plan reduces stress. Limits quick but bad food choices, and gives you a starting point. San Diego, Organizing Pro and author of Simplify Your Life, Marcia Ramsland offers this advice for meal planning. “Tonight take a pen and pad of paper to dinner and ask your family to help you make a list of fourteen healthy meals they like that you cook. Ask them simply, what would you like to eat for dinner?” Since most people cook the same three to five meals over and over, the new list gives you a place to start, a recipe to follow and items to put on your shopping list. Post the list inside your kitchen cabinet by your dinner dishes for instant menu ideas.”
- Stocking up on healthier snacks helps you choose healthier options. Keep a bowl of fruit in plain sight so when hunger strikes your first line of defense is the fruit bowl.
- Review your week: What nights will you be home for dinner? What nights can you cook ahead? Try grilling several chicken breasts ahead to top salads, mix with couscous and steam veggies or to serve with a fresh fruit salsa.
- Make meals a family affair. Clean and prepare vegetables for the week together. Post the week’s menu on a chalk board in your kitchen.
3. Keep it simple
Healthy eating doesn’t have to mean labor intensive. Simple steps that do not overwhelm keep us in the game instead of defeated before we even start. You don’t have to change your whole diet at once. Just pick one improvement and stick with it. For instance:
Frisco, insurance executive, Susan Dennis-Buss said, “Carry lots of snacks around (for me and the 3 little hungry moochers). Usually cereal bars, or I mix baggies of pistachios and craisins (buy them in bulk at the large discount mega stores). Try it, it’s really yummy, takes the edge off hunger and is pretty healthy.”
- Select precut salad bar veggies at grocery store.
- Get rid of temptations.
- Your diet may be doomed before you leave the supermarket. If ice cream is a temptation, don’t bring it home.
- Know your danger zones, like the easy access drive-through with their .99 cent specials. What triggers bad food choices and be ready to guard against them.
- Buy only whole-grain bread.
- Buy only skim or low-fat milk.
- Use less oil for cooking and buy vegetable oil that is liquid at room temperature.
- Eat fish at least twice a week.
- Drink an extra glass of water when you wake each morning.
4. Cook creatively
Friday night is “make-your-own-pizza night” shared Dallas, artist/painter, Sabra Inzer, “My kids are truly the chefs each kneading their own pizza dough, layering tomato sauce, low-fat meats, fresh cut vegetables and cheese. They love making smiley faces in the pizza with the ingredients.”
Use shortcuts where you can. Bagged salad greens, prepared and frozen vegetables, pasta sauces and gravies, grated cheeses, refrigerated or frozen pasta, premarinated meats, refrigerator dough’s, reduced sodium boxed stocks, prepared bread crumbs, and cut up veggies from a salad bar are all wonderful shortcuts.
Keep favorite ingredients on hand in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Like; dried pasta, pasta sauce, frozen chicken, frozen pasta, onions, garlic, eggs, Boboli pizza crusts, frozen meatballs, frozen peas, corn, and carrots, and olive oil.
Mix and match meals. Say you have an outstanding chicken dish, alternate serving it with sweet potatoes, couscous, wheat pasta topped with low-fat cheese.
When planning your plate; think color. Color = nutritious.
Cut up several fruits, place in a casserole dish; sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar and bake at 350 until bubbly. A crustless cobbler cuts the calories while adding a sweet treat.
Setting a good example and making one healthy choice can inspire others to make better choices as well.