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Changing Your Diet

Timeless Nutrition Tip

Are you having trouble making healthy changes in your diet? If so, the Journal of American Dietetic Association recommends that people wanting to add fruits and vegetables to their diet use the "Stages of Change" model.

Changing Your Diet with Fruits and Vegetables

Find your stage and you'll learn what to do.

  • Pre-contemplation: Don't go to the produce department yet. Instead, learn about the benefits of healthy eating.
  • Contemplation: To move forward, the "pros" of diet change need to outweigh the "cons". Think of the reasons you don't want to change your diet, then find ways around those barriers such as new menu ideas, foods that do not need much preparation time, etc.
  • Preparation: You intend to change within the next month. Set small, achievable goals, such as eating a piece of fruit at lunch instead of a cookie.
  • Action: You're eating more fruits and vegetables. Try to get support from other healthy eaters. Make your environment conducive to healthy eating by stocking easy to grab healthy snacks.
  • Maintenance: You've kept up the change for six months. Now work out the kinks. If you made diet mistakes, figure out how to avoid them next time.

Avoid the Salad Bar Trap

Unless you know how to beat the salad bar trap, you could end up with an extra 1,500 calories, 90 grams of fat, 100 milligrams of cholesterol and 1,500 milligrams of sodium.

Salad bars have many healthy food choices. However, it is important to be able to distinguish healthy salad choices from the high-fat at salad bars. Look for fresh vegetables. Start by piling on chopped green lettuce, one cup has only ten calories and a trace of fat. If you dare, try spinach as your salad base.

What to avoid. Avoid pasta salads, mayonnaise based tuna, and chicken and seafood salad. Avoid any vegetables dripping in oil. Avoid cheese and pepperoni chunks on your salad plate.

So now, how do you dress your salad? First, if the restaurant offers it, use reduced calorie dressings. Limit yourself to one tablespoon of a reduced fat dressing. Croutons are good for topping your salad in moderation. You might want to avoid bacon bits - or at least go very light on them. They do add a lot of flavor. But, you don't even need to pile them on. Sprinkle some shredded cheese on your salad, but go easy on that, as well. In short, be sensible and take advantage of the healthy choices and you will save many calories!

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