By Shereen Lehman, MS – Reviewed by a board-certified physician.

Is your diet less than healthy with too much fat, sugar, sodium and processed foods? Don’t feel bad — that’s a common thing — and I can help you. I know it’s not easy to switch from a junk food laden, high-calorie diet to a healthy diet. If you aren’t ready to make an over-night dietary transformation, don’t worry — you can take small steps to improve your diet. Over time, all those little steps will add up.

You’ll form new healthier habits and hopefully improve your health. But be patient — it takes time and practice. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip-up — just make good choices starting with your next meal. Eating healthy foods doesn’t need to be complicated — here’s how to follow a simple, healthy diet.

Here are some simple first steps you can take to change your diet. You don’t need to do all them at once. Pick one or two this week and add another one or two the next week. Continue until you’re comfortable with your new diet.

Start With Breakfastunknown-1

Hard-boil some eggs, or make a healthy batch of cupcake-sized bran muffins. This is good even when you’re in a hurry — you can grab an egg and a muffin before you go to work — and you won’t be tempted to eat the giant sized bagels or pastries at the coffee shop.

LUNCH at Work (or School)

Do you out for lunch every day? Cut back on high-calorie restaurant food and pack your lunch a couple of days each week.

imagesStart with a healthy sandwich. Choose whole grain bread, lean low-sodium meat or poultry, and lots of tomatoes, onions, lettuce, avocado or other sandwich vegetables. Go light on the mayonnaise or use a low-fat mayonnaise. Buy a small insulated container for a cup of vegetable soup and add a piece of fresh fruit for dessert.

If you must eat at a fast food restaurant, buy a salad for your meal or, at least, purchase a salad instead of french fries. When snack time rolls around, and you find yourself staring at the vending machine, choose a package of mixed nuts instead of a candy bar. Drink fresh water instead of sugary soda or that third cup of coffee.

It’s Dinner Time!

Here’s an easy way to plan a balanced meal. Mentally divide your plate into four quadrants. Half of your plate should be covered with green or colorful vegetables and fruit. One-quarter of your plate can be home to your protein source (chicken, meat, eggs, fish and seafood or a vegetarian dish). Finally, you can use that last quarter of your plate for something starchy like potatoes, pasta or rice.unknown-2

Buy prewashed and prepackaged salad ingredients so that you can make salads quickly and easily. Salads are an easy way to add vegetables to your diet, and they take up space in your stomach so that you can feel satisfied with a smaller entree.

Get more omega-3 essential fatty acids by eating fish at least twice per week.
If you don’t want to eat fish, nibble on some walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Soy, canola oil, and flax seeds are also good.  You can drizzle the oil on sandwiches, vegetables or salads. Choose baked or grilled meats, chicken, and fish rather than fried. And avoid heavy creamy or cheesy sauces.

images-1After Dinner

Instead of having a big bowl of ice cream for dessert, choose a cup of plain Greek yogurt. It’s an excellent source of protein and calcium. Add nuts and berries or sliced fruit and some honey.
Do you like snacks like potato chips or corn chips? Baked chips are better than fried. And if it’s the dip you love, try scooping your chip dip with fresh vegetables like raw carrots or green beans instead.

United States Department of Agriculture and United Stated Department of Health and Human Services. “Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2015-2020.” Accessed April 2, 2016.



Comments are closed