The pandemic has wreaked havoc on our habits - including how many of us eat. Don't worry, you can take steps to get back on track — or begin a new path toward a healthier lifestyle — by eating right, bite by bite.
Julie Opp, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, Intermountain Healthcare, gave us a few small changes that you can easily implement:
Savor Each Bite
Savor each bite. Be mindful when you`re eating. Biologically, it takes 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to realize whether you`re full. Slowing down while eating can help you avoid the uncomfortable full feeling after meals. Take a bite, then set your utensils down. Chew your food well, savor the flavor and texture, and be sure to swallow the first bite before taking the next one. This will not only make your food more enjoyable, but help you eat more slowly and possibly eat less. Including in your meals a source of protein such as fish, chicken or turkey, or beans, and foods high in fiber and water content, such as raw fruits and vegetables, also will satisfy you and help you feel full longer.
Experiment with new foods, textures and flavors.
Try jicama, often called a Mexican potato, as a snack or in a salad or stir-fry. Or consider bok choy, kohlrabi, or watermelon radish for new veggies, or even tofu or edamame as a new protein. New foods can be intimidating if you've never purchased or prepared them at home. If this is the case, look for shortcuts to enjoying these foods, like pre-cut fruits or vegetables, or pre-seasoned tofu, available in most grocery stores.
Many people have no idea what to do with tofu. Here are some suggestions:
• Add silken tofu to smoothies. It has no flavor of its own, yet will add a silky creaminess to your smoothie.
• Use firm or extra-firm tofu in place of meat in a stir-fry. Press excess water out of the tofu by setting a heavy item on the package. Cut into strips or cubes, and marinate as desired. Tofu will take on the flavors it is cooked in, so you can use your favorite marinade and enjoy that flavor in the finished product.
Small changes make a big difference.
Try a small change in your diet that will work for you, such as cutting back on added sugar, or choosing to drink water instead of juice or soda. Small changes are easier to turn into habits, and will put you on the path to reach your health goals, be it weight loss, preventing diabetes or reducing cholesterol. Mastering small changes also will give you a boost of confidence and the opportunity to feel success, one small, long-lasting step at a time.
For more information, talk to your dietitian nutritionist, or visit intermountainhealthcare.org