Overhauling dietary habits often takes years. Although there are always exceptions to the rule, the journey from point A to point B requires time and gradual steps.
Too often, I find that people talk about dietary habits as one big issue to unravel, as opposed to several interlaced factors that can be handled individually.
I often employ the analogy of a tangled ball of yarn. The only way to untangle it is to first loosen one thread, then another, and then another until the insurmountable knot disappears.
If the concept of healthier eating appeals to you, but you have no idea where to start — or what to do — consider these three steps you can take today.
- Cut down your sugar intake. The average American adult consumes 22 teaspoons of sugar a day. That’s approximately fourteen more teaspoons than what is recommended as a daily limit by the American Heart Association. Start training your palate to get used to lower amounts of sugar by making small cutbacks today. Usually add three packets of sugar to your morning coffee? Try it with two. Normally drink a 20-ounce bottle of soda with lunch? Opt for a 12-ounce can. Two weeks after implementing these changes, make a few more subtle cutbacks.
- Set up a fruit bowl at home. One of the easiest ways to make sure you’re eating the recommended two servings of fruit every day is to have it readily available. Sticking an apple in the back of your refrigerator’s fruit-and-vegetable drawer serves no purpose. Place the fruit bowl in whichever room of the house you spend the most time in, and fill it with fruits you like. If the only fruits you like are Granny Smith apples and grapes, so be it.
- Stock up your desk drawers. Say farewell to the vending machine. Next time you’re at the grocery store, stock up on healthful, work-friendly foods. Some suggestions: nuts and seeds, 100% whole grain crackers, unsweetened dried fruit, 100-calorie bags of popcorn, and truly good-for-you bars like Lara, Clif Nectar, and Kashi Tasty Little Crunchies.
Give yourself two to three weeks to get used to these changes, and then see how you can gradually build your way up to better health.