Many of us make health-related resolutions, such as to lose weight, stop smoking or join the neighborhood health club. While it is common to set high goals, experts say that setting smaller goals could do more for our health.
“Small steps are achievable and are easier to fit into your daily routine,” says James O. Hill, Ph.D., Director of the Center for Human Nutrition at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center. “They are less overwhelming than a big, sudden change.”
Here are 10 to try:
1. Keep an eye on your weight and work on making sure you are not gaining extra lbs. Even if you gain just a pound or two every year, the extra weight adds up quickly.
2. Take more small steps. Use a pedometer to count your daily steps; then add 2,000, the equivalent of one extra mile. Keep adding steps, 1,000 to 2,000 each month or so, until you take 10,000 steps on most days.
3. Eat breakfast. Breakfast eaters tend to weigh less and have better diets overall. For a filling and nutrition-packed breakfast, top a bowl of whole grain cereal or granola with fresh fruit slices, and non-dairy milk, such as almond, coconut, or oat.
4. Switch three grain servings each day to whole grain. If you’re like the average American, you eat less than one whole grain serving a day.
5. Have at least one green salad every day. Eating a salad (with low-fat or fat-free dressing) is filling and may help you eat less during the meal. It also counts toward your five daily cups of vegetables and fruits.
6. Trim the fat. Fat has a lot of calories, and calories count. Cook with minimal healthy oils, such as avocado or coconut. Better yet, try cooking with water only. Reduce the amount of high fat, processed vegan alternatives, adding more fresh plant-based foods instead.
7. Consider calcium by including two or more daily servings of green, leafy vegetables – such as broccoli, cabbage and okra. Add sesame seeds and tahini to your salads and sandwiches.
8. Downsize. The smaller the bag, bottle or bowl, the less you will eat.
9. Lose just 5 to 10 percent of your current weight. The health benefits are huge-lower blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.
10. Keep track of your eating. Write down what you eat over the next couple of days and look for problem spots. Often, just writing things down can help you eat less. Consider using a food tracking app, such as myfitnesspal.com. It’s a great resource, and easy to use to keep on track and improve your health.
This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read.