Hello! This is Michelle, WCL’s registered dietitian, with this month’s Nutrition Minute because we want to MAKE EVERY MINUTE COUNT.
Do Just One Thing A Day Challenge
Eat Better Challenge
Day 1: Keep a food diary. Write down what you eat and drink and when you consume it. You can estimate your serving sizes or measure them out. The first step to improving your diet is being aware of what your current eating habits are. Research also shows that the more people tracked what they ate, the more weight they lost. At the end of the day, review your record to see where you can improve. Too much sugar? Not enough veggies and fruit? You’ll be addressing some of these issues during the week.
Day 2: Add some veggies or fruit to each meal. Banana with breakfast. Salad with lunch. Broccoli with dinner. Veggies and fruit are loaded with nutrients like vitamins, minerals, fiber, and other disease-fighting phytochemicals. Eating more vegetables and fruit has been found to lower risk of heart disease, diabetes, and even cancer. They also help with weight loss since veggies and fruit tend to be low in calories and full of fiber so you feel full faster.
Day 3: Make one beverage substitution. The next time your reach for a soda, mocha latte, energy drink, or other caloric beverage, grab a glass of calorie-free water, sparkling water, or seltzer instead. Your body doesn’t register liquid calories like it does from solid food so it’s easy to consume too many calories, which may be one of the reasons sugary drinks are linked to weight gain. Drinking sugary beverages also appears to increase risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Day 4: Eat some fish, even if it’s just some canned tuna. Fish is a great source of high-quality protein, which can help protect against muscle loss as you age. Many varieties like salmon are also loaded with omega 3s, a healthy fat. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish at least twice a week to reap its heart-healthy benefits. Fish may also help fight off depression, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
Day 5: Sneak some spinach or kale into your smoothie. It will give you a vitamin boost without changing the flavor—as long as you don’t overdo it. Don’t drink smoothies? Whip up a simple one made with your favorite fruits and milk or yogurt. It’s a great way to get more fruit and veggies in your diet.
Day 6: Snack on nuts or seeds. Replace highly processed snacks like chips and cookies with almonds, cashews, walnuts, or pumpkin or sunflower seeds. They’re packed with vitamins, healthy fats, and fiber, which help to fill you up faster so you eat less. Since they contain a good amount of calories, portion out a handful-size serving so you don’t overdo it. And for more flavor and crispiness, toast nuts or seeds in the oven at 350 degrees for five to 10 minutes. Check on them a few times and move them around so they don’t burn.
Day 7: Redesign your plate. For lunch and dinner today, fill half of your plate with veggies and fruit, a quarter with healthy protein such as fish, poultry, lean meat, beans, or nuts, and the final quarter with whole grains such as brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat pasta. Portioning your plate in this way will maximize vitamins, minerals, and fiber, while minimizing saturated fat, sugar, and empty calories.
Adapted from the Mindful Program by Sodexo. Michelle Elliott, RD
March is National Nutrition Month