DALLAS — Like peanut butter and jelly, healthy eating goes hand in hand with movement. Here are several ways that Dallas-area nutrition pros suggest you incorporate the good stuff into your diet. They’re easy and seem small, but can make huge differences.
SET A GOAL
Every week, write down one nutritious change you want to make, says Sara Asberry, a registered dietitian at the University of Texas at Dallas. It might be waking up 15 minutes earlier to eat a nutritious breakfast. Or adding one vegetable to every meal.
“Once they have mastered the first thing, it’s easier to keep gradually adding to their routine,” says Asberry, who works in the school’s Student Wellness Center. “Eventually they have successfully developed long-lasting, healthy habits that they can keep forever.”
Megan Lyons of The Lyons Share, a Dallas health coaching service, suggests starting each day with a huge glass of water. Yes, she says, even before coffee.
“Hydrating right off the bat helps flush away toxins that have collected overnight and helps prevent dehydration, which can lead to overeating and cravings, during the day,” she says.
REDESIGN YOUR PLATE
The key to better eating is moderation, Asberry says. “Healthy eating does not have to be void of all enjoyable foods. It’s about balance. We tend to put so much emphasis on the foods themselves — ‘good foods’ vs. ‘bad foods.’” In reality, though, “it’s more about how we are eating them in relation to one another.”
What to do? Rearrange your plate, Asberry says. “Try portioning less starch and protein on your plate while adding significantly more vegetables. Ultimately aim to make half your plate vegetables.”
CHECK INGREDIENT LISTS
Basically, “the shorter the better,” Lyons says. If you recognize ingredients, that’s good. If they look like “chemical soup, your body doesn’t recognize it as food, even if the label says ‘healthy.’ “
Meridan Zerner, consulting registered dietitian at the Cooper Aerobics Center, recommends 100-calorie mini-tubs of guacamole, hummus or nut butter. Be sure to scoop them with fruits and vegetables, not chips.
Also, measure out portions of nuts and trail mix, pop them into containers and keep them at your desk and in your car. Be sure to only eat one at a time, by the way; those calories can add up.
Lyons keeps small bags filled with vegetables at hand, “which I eat before any other snack,” she says. “They give me a natural boost of energy, add to my fiber and nutrient intake, and keep me satiated so I don’t overeat at dinner.”