Forming healthy habits

Making a change to our daily routine can be difficult, especially when food is involved. Getting into a new habit doesn’t have to be intimidating. Everyone knows the saying, “practice makes perfect,” and it’s true. The more you do something, the more that action becomes automatic or second nature. The other secret to success is to make sure your goal is achievable; ask yourself if you could really stick to this change.  
 
National Nutrition Month is upon us and now is the perfect time to start making a new healthy lifestyle habit. HSHS St. John’s Hospital offers the following food, nutrition and physical activity tips for ideas on how to get started with your new healthy habit:
 
1. Watch Your Portion Sizes
The average portion size of food is about two to three times larger than it was 20 years ago. Bagels used to be three inches in diameter and they are now six inches in diameter -- that’s an additional 210 calories. Cutting back the portion sizes on your plate will make a huge difference in the amount of food you’re eating each day.
 
2. Listen to Your Stomach
Be conscious of when your body is telling you to eat and when to stop eating. Sometimes hunger can be confused with thirst. Try drinking some water first before reaching for a snack. When you do start eating, try slowing down at meal times. It takes our brains about 20 minutes once we start eating to register that we are full.
 
3. Eat the Rainbow
Make sure you are eating a variety of fruits and vegetables. Don’t think too hard about it, just look down at your plate and see if you have at least three different colors on there. Certain colors of fruits and vegetables indicate specific nutrients. The more color on your plate, the more variety of vitamins and minerals you are consuming.
 
4. Prepare Ahead of Time
Thinking about meals on the go can be difficult and time consuming. Try preparing your meals ahead of time depending on what works with your schedule. This could be fixing your lunches for the rest of the week or simply deciding what to have for dinner the night before.
 
5. Get Moving
Start getting active in any way you can. Instead of using the elevator every day, set a goal to use the stairs once or twice. Or you could even park your car further away to get more walking time in. Whether you go to the gym or walk an extra mile, just keep moving throughout your day. 
 
Looking for more healthy tips? Check out eatright.org for more nutrition resources.