With Nutrition Month starting tomorrow, I have two questions for you:
- How would you rate your eating habits, on a scale from 1 to 10?
- What is one thing you could do to move that score one point in the right direction?
Where we dietitians really make a difference is in helping our clients set, make plans around, and follow through on their nutrition-related goals. Knowing what it eat is one thing; Doing it quite another.
In honour of Nutrition Month, I’d like to offer a free sample of that support to the people who’ve signed up for my weekly email updates. (If you’re not one of them, you’re welcome to sign up today.)
If you’d like to participate, simply email me with your answers to the two questions above. If you can frame up your “one thing” as a SMART goal with a plan, even better. But if you’re crunched for time, keep it simple. For many people, making that commitment in writing can improve your chances of a successful outcome.
In return, I’ll check in with you weekly during Nutrition Month to inquire about your progress. We’ll follow along with the weekly themes created by Dietitians of Canada. The overarching theme is “Take a 100 Meal Journey.” Instead of trying to change everything at once, it’s better to make one nourishing change that sticks. We eat about 100 meals in a month, so focus on making a small, lasting change and stick with it… one meal at a time.
That’s doable, wouldn’t you say?
The theme of Week 1 is “Pledge to make a small, nourishing change and stick with it, one meal at a time.” Think about your eating habits. Where can you make a positive, easy change? Here are some ideas that can make a big difference:
- Make sure to get at least 1/2 cup of vegetables with lunch most days.
- Make sure your breakfast includes a whole grain, such as oats, quinoa, or whole-grain bread.
- Have just a fist-sized serving (~1 cup) of grains and starches — potatoes, rice, pasta, cereal, etc. — at any meal.
- Enjoy fruit when you get the munchies in the evening, with a handful of nuts if you’re hungrier.
- Drink water in place of sugary beverages, like pop.
(Aside: If you’re already at a 9 or 10, ask yourself, is this sustainable? Is there something I could do to make it easier or more enjoyable for myself? A perfect 10/10 on this is not necessarily desirable. See this article about orthorexia to learn more.)
Just pick one change to really focus on. Then, get ready for action. Six ways you might get prepared:
- Take stock of your cupboards, fridge, and freezer. What do you need to nourish your 100 mile journey?
- Change your eating environment. Add healthy cues, like a bowl of fresh fruit on the kitchen counter.
- Post your healthy eating goals in the kitchen and at your desk to keep healthy eating top of mind.
- Monitor your progress with a food diary or an app so you can stay on track.
- Need fresh meal ideas? Get inspired with Cookspiration! Find hundreds of dietitian-approved recipes to suit your mood and schedule.
- Make a meal plan so you know ahead of time what foods you will be cooking and eating.
This week, just focus on getting ready. The weeks to come will be about:
- Week 2: Quality — Nourishing foods promote health and can help you feel your best.
- Week 3: Prioritizing portion size
- Week 4: Try something new!
- Week 5: Make it stick.
I hope you’ll join me. As physician and blogger Yoni Freedhoff pointed out recently, “when you realize you’ve got a dentist appointment coming up you suddenly up your flossing game”, and “having someone other than yourself to check in with may help you in fostering lasting change”. Looking forward to hearing from you!
Do you have a friend who might benefit from taking a 100-meal journey with us? Feel free to share this!
Comments and questions welcome on Facebook.
Adapted from The Dietitians of Canada’s Nutrition Month Campaign Materials. Find more information about Nutrition Month at: www.nutritionmonth2016.ca.