Ask the Experts: Change a Habit, Change Your Health, Part 1

by in Ask the Experts, March 23, 2013

vegetables on scale
“If you could recommend just one habit that someone should start doing to eat, and live, healthier, what would that habit be?”

That’s the question I posed to a group of my colleagues – registered dietitians and nutritionists – in the trenches coaching and counseling people in the science, and art, of eating better. Rather than focusing on huge overhauls that may not be sustainable (i.e. no carbs, no gluten, no dairy, no alcohol, etc.), I wanted to look for keystone eating habit changes that could have a butterfly effect through the rest of your daily routine and get you the health and fitness results you want.

I was amazed — within 24 hours I had over 60 responses. As I began sorting through the feedback, I realized that many of the recommendations fell into a seven broader categories, which I’ll be summarizing and presenting in two posts.

Buckle up, here are the first four:


Eat more veggies and fruit

• “Eat your veggies first. Because they are so low in calories, veggies fill you up not out!” – Marisa Moore, MBA, RD, LD

• Have a fruit or vegetable with every meal or snack. – multiple experts

• Fill half your plate with veggies at lunch and dinner. – multiple experts

• “Try one new, healthy food every week. Try a mango or a new, healthy recipe.” – Michel D. Harris, RD, LDN, CDE

Eat more frequently to avoid becoming too hungry

• Whether eating every three, four or five hours, “Never let yourself get too hungry.” – Danielle Omar, MS, RD

• “Have a mid-afternoon snack to control hunger levels later in the day and avoid eating too much at dinner.” – Sarah Koszyk, MA, RD

Reconnect with the process of cooking and eating

• Only eat real food that your grandma (or great-grandma) would recognize. No ingredients that you can’t understand or pronounce. – multiple experts

• “Become more aware of what you are eating by checking the ingredients list when choosing packaged foods.” – Karen Marschel, RD, LD, CDE, CLT

• “It’s so helpful to plan a menu for the week in advance and then organize your shopping list and prep in advance…It makes such a difference in eating healthier and more home-cooked food.” – Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN

• Eat at home more often, with people. Prepare one more home-cooked meal each week. – multiple experts

Exercise and lifestyle improvements

• Whether it’s 10, 15 or 30 minutes, “Make an appointment with yourself daily to move, just like a shower or a meal.” – Elisa Zied, MS, RD, CDN

• Exercise one more day per week. — multiple experts

• Whenever possible, choose to walk or take the stairs. — multiple experts

• Get some sleep! The stress on the body from being sleep-deprived can lead to overeating and fat retention. — multiple experts

Review the habit changes recommended here, choose the one that works best for you and give it a shot for three to four weeks. Research shows it takes about that long for a new action to become a sustained habit. If one recommendation doesn’t work for you, try another one; different approaches work for different people. Or hang tight for next month’s post for the other three categories!
Do you have another habit to share? Tell us!

In addition to the quotes above, I’m so grateful for all of the wonderful feedback I received from the following nutrition professionals: Tammy Lakatos Shames, Tara Todd, Jill Weisenberger, Erin Palinski, Jackie Newgent, Alexandra Oppenheimer, Michelle Dudash, Kim Kulp, Lisa Stollman, Penny Wilson, Keri Gans, Kerriann Jennings, Emma Fogt, Rachel Begun, Anne Mauney, Jill Castle, Marilyn Jess, Lisa Dixon, Maryann Jacobsen, Beth Lutton, Rebecca Horsman, Denine Rogers, Alexandra Black and Sarah-Jane Bedwell.

More posts from .

Similar Posts

Foods That Drive Dietitians Craaaazzy

As a nutrition professional who works with food, there are many unhealthy items that, truth be told, make my skin crawl. (Those bowls made out of baco...

Comments (452)

  1. propecia says:

    Title…

    […]here are some links to web sites that we link to because we consider they may be really worth visiting[…]…

  2. Title…

    […]very couple of sites that happen to become in depth below, from our point of view are undoubtedly well worth checking out[…]…

  3. Title…

    […]usually posts some really exciting stuff like this. If you’re new to this site[…]…

  4. Pipe Tobacco says:

    Title…

    […]the time to study or check out the material or web-sites we have linked to beneath the[…]…

  5. Title…

    […]Wonderful story, reckoned we could combine some unrelated data, nevertheless seriously worth taking a appear, whoa did one study about Mid East has got additional problerms at the same time […]…

  6. Title…

    […]very few web-sites that take place to become detailed beneath, from our point of view are undoubtedly well really worth checking out[…]…

  7. Title…

    […]usually posts some pretty interesting stuff like this. If you are new to this site[…]…

  8. Title…

    […]check beneath, are some absolutely unrelated web-sites to ours, even so, they may be most trustworthy sources that we use[…]…

  9. Title…

    […]here are some links to web pages that we link to simply because we believe they are really worth visiting[…]…

  10. Title…

    […]just beneath, are quite a few totally not associated internet sites to ours, even so, they may be certainly really worth going over[…]…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>