Tips for a healthy diet

Published 7:00 am Thursday, January 19, 2017

One of the toughest parts of permanently changing to a healthier lifestyle is the nutrition phase. Instead of jumping right into a new diet, changing small things like including healthier food alternatives, and changing proportion sizes and cooking methods are great ways to begin the healthy transformation smoothly, Carolyn Bailey, a Valley Services, Inc. division dietitian, said.
Many people make the optimistic decision to alter their unhealthy habits with a new gym membership, but the key to losing those extra pounds is based on the person’s food choices, Bailey said.
It’s difficult for anyone to go immediately from eating unhealthy, addictive junk food to salads and chicken every meal. Instead, Bailey suggests easing into a healthier lifestyle by progressively eliminating the unhealthy foods.
“To begin, eliminate one or two things you know you can easily step away from. This will not only help you get on the right track, but it will give you confidence in the beginning stages of the transition,” Bailey said.
Many people quit diets because they are not flavorful and are the polar opposite side of what they are accustomed to eating, she said.
“One thing people in the workforce do unconsciously is skip meals, mainly lunch, and then go crazy for dinner. That will result in the opposite of what you are trying to accomplish,” Bailey said. In its place, she recommends bridging meals with a healthy snack. Instead of having chips and a soft drink, try fruits, cheese or nuts as a snack with a bottle of water, she said. This also applies to meals. Choosing a healthier side while keeping the main course consistent is a great way to ease a the healthy and nutritious lifestyle.
Another way to ease into a healthier diet is changing the cooking method. In Mississippi, many foods are fried, and complimented with a glass of sweet tea, Bailey said. However, the simple change of grilling instead of frying and drinking half sweet tea and half unsweetened tea makes a huge difference in calorie intake.
Also, try not using sugar in coffee, switching from white bread to whole-wheat bread and getting just the hamburger at a fast food restaurant instead of the combo can lead to bigger strides toward a nourishing routine, Bailey said.
Bailey said it is imperative to keep track of what is being eaten at what time of the day in order to help eliminate and replace unhealthy foods and drinks.
“Keeping track of what you eat and when is the easiest way to go through this process,” Bailey said. “For example, if you write down what you eat and drink and realize that you drink soda every day at 2 p.m., then replace that soda with water or a fruit and vegetable smoothie. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself.”
Goal setting can also be a fault many people face when attempting to change their diet. In this case, Bailey suggests setting specific goals. Losing weight is not a proper goal, Bailey said, but eating more fruits and vegetables is.
“To be successful, know your habits and do what you are willing to do first, then cut more out as the process goes on,” Bailey said. “This builds confidence because being successful with one thing will trickle down to more success down the road.”

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