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Baby Steps to Healthy Eating: Minimize Snacks

Jennifer Czepiel

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

This Thursday marks the start of a new year! Where did 2014 disappear to? As we dive right in to 2015 there are so many who make fitness and health related goals. While new year’s resolutions that involve working out more, eating less, slimming down, or buffing up, are some of the most popular every single year, they are equally the ones that are set aside before the thaw of Spring. In 2015, I would like to help you keep your fitness goals, by making them fun!

Let’s start out by creating a plan to stick to just one diet goal and one fitness goal for January of 2015. There are still a couple for days to create a plan, and it can be a simple as doing a few more minutes of stretching before getting on with your day. Today though, focus on your eating habits. Allowing yourself one more splurge day on New Year’s Eve can be okay, but then start fresh.

Step One:

Before setting yourself up for failure right out the gate, assess your current fitness and diet regimen. There are levels for all of us and we should not expect ourselves to leap over tall buildings if we are having trouble climbing a flight of stairs. There is nothing wrong with starting small. Look at your current diet first.

I used to be able to chow down on an entire package of cookies in one sitting. I did not go from that to healthy snacking overnight. It takes time to change any habit, eating is no different. The way I started out was as simple as paying attention to packaging. Reading the serving size on your favorite snack food can be very enlightening, not always in a positive way. If you are a big time snacker, pick your three favorites each day and stick to the serving size. Seems like cheating, but this can work better than cold turkey.

Step Two:

So, you have your three favorite snack foods. You have checked and adhered to the recommended dosage. You have one month to decide how meaningful these snacks are to your nutritional and emotional eating desires. Are there some snacks you could break it off with altogether and not miss them? Are there alternatives to the all time must haves?

When I was forced to evaluate why I really ate the unhealthy foods I chose, it helped me to define what I was really looking for in a snack. If chocolate is what your body is craving work your way up the percentage of cocoa. A truly good chocolate will be satisfying in smaller doses. You will get your fix, and nix the unhealthy aspect.

Step Three:

As we continue to take these baby steps toward healthier eating habits, the desire for the not so healthy will begin to wane. Rather than going cold turkey and wanting just because you are not allowed to have it, which creates an unhealthy emotional as well as physical relationship to food in general, we create proper responses.

For this first month, as far as your dietary goal, focus on weening off at least three types of unhealthy snack foods. These are the sweets, the salty, and the baked goodies. Look for ways to spoil your dinner with a better treat rather than denying yourself a reward. You are working hard to eat well and you deserve to feel good about it.

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