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10 Small Changes to Eat Healthier Forever

March 08, 2021

These easy tips can set you up for long-term success.

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Yes, You Can Eat Healthier Forever

Nobody has the perfect diet — and making dramatic eating habits to your diet in order to eat healthier won't work. Big changes don't stick. Research shows that making small changes to your current eating plan tends to work much better in the long run. We asked registered dietitians from around the country weigh in on small changes you make now to eat healthier long-term.

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Focus on Fiber

Julie Lee, MS, RD, CDN, campus dietitian at Binghamton University recommends having at least two servings of fiber-rich foods at each meal and one for a snack each day. By focusing on how much fiber you eat, Lee says you’ll naturally increase your intake of nutrient-dense foods and likely hit several other nutrition goals (like eating less sodium and less sugar). "Fiber-rich foods include fruits, vegetables, beans, nuts and seeds, and whole grains, like oatmeal and brown rice," says Lee. "Not only does fiber help with bowel regularity, it keeps us full between meals and stabilizes blood sugars to provide a steady stream of energy throughout the day."

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Start Your Day With a Glass of Water

"Start your day with at least one cup of water and continue to aim for at least half your weight in ounces of water throughout the day," says Vandana Sheth, RDN, CDCES, FAND author of My Indian Table: Quick & Tasty Vegetarian Recipes. Sheth explains that most folks wake up slightly dehydrated and having a cup of water first thing in the morning can give you a jump start. Even minor dehydration can affect your energy levels and mood. It is a goal that Sheth works on with most of her clients.

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Start Thinking About Food As Your Friend, Not Foe

"Diet culture has wired our brains to think about singular foods as good or bad, carb or protein, clean or dirty. When you stop thinking this way and you realize that food is meant to nourish your body, you start thinking about how nutritious food is working to keep your skin healthy, your bones strong, and to give you energy," explains Sarah Pflugradt, MS, RDN, owner of Sarah Pflugradt Nutrition. "Food can also make you feel good, and that's okay — I mean, who doesn't love sprinkles? Quality of diet is always important, but food is not your enemy."

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