Small Meal and Lifestyle Changes for Big Results
What does it take to make a positive change? Often, people set big goals but it’s the smallest efforts that can be easily integrated into your routines and can offer a lasting improvement. I want to share a few ideas that have been helpful for my family. As a 66 year-old woman, developing healthy habits for my husband and me has become a priority. Check out some these suggestions.
Meatless Mondays – Going meatless and eating plant based foods should be satisfying and delicious especially for those who eat meat daily. Consider vegetables that are substantial like Portobello mushrooms, eggplant, cauliflower steaks, and hearty squash dishes. You may find your diet going meatless more often.
Upcycled Foods – Not all food has to be pretty. There’s a movement to use upcycled foods that don’t pass quality controls. These foods can be found at farmer’s markets and elsewhere to cut down on food waste. Vegetables and fruits are often upcycled and they are the food groups that are lacking in the American diet.
An Early Reservation – Eat earlier so you can take a walk after dinner. Even a short stroll will improve digestion and likely make for a better night’s sleep.
The Bread Basket – Since it usually arrives the table first, you may be tempted to fill up on fresh bread. Take half a slice and enjoy.
Less is More – Consider sharing an entrée with your dinner partner. Most restaurants are happy to split portions or provide a sharing plate. You can also halve you meal in advance with the intention of taking some home. If you want to know more about re-warming your meal items, be sure to ask your server.
The Better Charcuterie – Charcuterie is always popular and it’s typically dominated by meat and cheese. Make sure that yours has lots of fruits and vegetables. The more colorful, the better.
Enjoy the Crunch – Check the serving size on a full bag of chips. Separate the servings into containers to be sure you don’t overeat.
Glorious Cheese – Grated cheese is a delectable food topper. A fine grater versus a coarse one will use less cheese and will spread it more for pasta, salad, nachos or wherever you use cheeses.
Ice Cream Lovers – There are many creamy frozen treats on the market that are satisfying. Select one that has the chocolate or sweet swirl in the ice cream rather putting on a lot of toppings that add sugar and calories.
Cocktail Time – If you’re mixing your own, go light on the spirits. You can still enjoy a drink that uses 1 ounce of gin instead of 2. Don’t hesitate to request the same when you are having one out. Use fresh fruit or vegetable juices in your cocktails.
A Little More Wine – If you’re planning to have some wine, consider “spritzers” with a sparkling water. While white wine spritzers are common, they can also be made with red wines such as Pinot Noir or Grenache.
The Soda Monster – If you’re a soda drinker, try some of the sparkling waters on the market. If they are not flavorful enough, add fruit. Strawberries and mangoes add natural sweetness.
Quick Meal Prep – We are all tempted to pop a ready-made entrée in the microwave on a busy day. Carefully check the labels of frozen entrees for salt, additives, and excessive calorie counts. Often the labels have very small print. Get those readers out or use the magnifier on your smart phone before you load up your shopping cart.
Sharing ideas with each other and altering even one or two habits are a step toward positive change!
Top photo: Bigstock