Make small diet changes for a big difference in 2020
Simone Austin, Rokeby Farms Dietitian, shows how small dietary changes are achievable and can help your New Year resolutions last.
The excess of Christmas is over and the new year has begun. Holidays are already beginning to be a distant memory! Now’s the perfect time to focus on the year ahead and start thinking about small diet changes that will help you achieve your 2020 health and wellbeing goals.
It’s easy to overload with self-improvement pledges in the new year – you’ll exercise more, eat healthier, drink less, make time for yourself, save money, spend more time with your family, and the list goes on. Are all these really going to happen? It’s a new year, but not a new life, how and why will you do things differently from yesterday?
There are some things to consider.
1. First, look at all the great things you already do that are awesome for your health. Give yourself a pat on the back!
2. Forget dieting if a goal is to lose weight! If diets worked for sustained weight loss, we wouldn’t be creating new ones constantly. There are no quick fix gimmicks here. Change your mindset away from focusing solely on your weight.
3. Do you really want to overhaul your life with stretch targets, or could your health benefit from making a few small achievable modifications, that will yield real, long-term results and still have you happy?
4. Think about the why you would like to make diet changes. Keeping them health focused is a good way to avoid getting caught in a diet cycle. Some examples could be:
a. I would like to drink more water so I don’t get dehydrated and a headache by the afternoon so I will ahe a jug on my desk, drink a glass of water before meals.
b. To improve my bowel regularity I will eat 2 fruit a day, eat more pre and probiotic containing foods such as Rokeby Probiotic milk on morning cereal for the addition of probiotics that are known to help with bowel regularity and use brown rice for extra fibre.
c. I will eat more seafood for omega3 fats for my heart and joint health by having at least one fish evening meal and lunch a week
Keep this list achievable. One or two things at a time.
5. Now we have decided to be realistic what steps (strategies) are in place to make these attainable for you to stick to? For example you have decided to eat a more nutritious breakfast, what strategies need to be in place to make this last for more than a few days? It sounds simple but it involves making the following happen:
a. Getting up 10 minutes earlier
b. Buying the food that will make a healthy breakfast
c. Adding this to the shopping list and going shopping
d. Scheduling shopping time in the diary
e. Setting the alarm 10 minutes earlier and not hitting snooze!
f. Making wholegrain toast with avocado and tomato and a glass of blueberry or natural Filmjolk for breakfast
6. Be positive. Think about what foods to include. No one wants to be told what not to eat and when we restrict, we often want that food more! By focusing on everything you want to eat in the day there won’t be much room for the less nourishing choices anyway. For example daily intakes of two pieces of fruit, five serves of vegetables, a handful of nuts, wholegrains, dairy (or alternatives), lean meat, fish, eggs, chicken or meat alternative such as legumes, healthy fasts such as extra virgin olive oil there isn’t much room for anything else.
7. If there is only one change you make, it should be for most of us to increase the amount of vegetables we eat. 93% of Australians don’t eat the recommended five servings of vegetables a day. A few ways to make this happen might include:
- Start with the vegetables first when shopping
- Visit fresh food markets with family and friends
- Grow some herbs and vegetables at home
- Prepare vegetables in advance for snacks and lunches, cook extra one night for the next
- Add extra vegetables to dishes e.g. barbeques, soups, curries, frittata, with your eggs, in stir-fries, meatless Monday.
- If you get in your five servings a day it automatically restricts over eating in other areas!
Final thoughts: Planning and having strategies in place are the key to success in most areas of life. This is no different when aiming for a nourishing, healthy diet. Look for support from people around you – get the family in the kitchen, spread the load. These are key ingredients for long term success. Overly restricting yourself, feeling guilty and focusing on what you can’t have aren’t.
Words of advice for a positive start to the new year!
Accredited Practising Dietitian