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How to Add Value to Your Diet without Breaking the Bank or Losing Your Mind.

At Live Well Kitsap, we talk a fair amount about diet, eating healthier and all the benefits that come with it. That’s because we firmly believe in Hippocrates’ quote from so long ago- “Let food be thy medicine, and medicine be thy food.”

We know that what we toss down the hatch matters. We know from our own personal experience as well as what research shows- people who make good healthy food choices tend to have better energy, a stronger immune system, and are generally able to manage a healthy weight better, all contributing to both quality and length of life.

Food should nourish and taste good. I cannot imagine one without the other. ( I like food too much). It is possible to make small shifts that can serve to move you in a healthier direction with your diet even if you have previously thought otherwise.

Many people do not make small baby step shifts as they perceive one or more of the following:

1. They can’t afford to eat healthy- Often times people have convinced themselves “why bother” when it comes to changing their diet. They are operating from the thought that all healthier food is too expensive.

2. They do not know where to begin. So they don’t start. With so much conflicting health and diet information, many people feel so overwhelmed, that they don’t make any changes at all.

3. They can’t imagine life without their favorite foods. Many people are under the illusion that they would have to give up too much in order to eat and live healthier. They can’t imagine a life without chicken wings, cheeseburgers or beer. Many parents, and moms in particular don’t want to deal with the fight that would ensue if they changed the family diet away from their norms.

All these reasons and more keep people pushing back from change. Changing any habit can be difficult especially if you have been chewing on stories that keep you stuck in your status quo.

If you think you may be ready to make even one small change, then keep reading.

Because the reality is making one small baby step change can set you on the path of a cascade of other small changes that over time, add up to new thoughts, feelings and choices that can really make a difference in not only your diet, but your overall health and wellbeing

1. Get over the idea that you have to make big changes fast. Choosing to add one healthier thing to your diet can have a big effect for little effort. You might decide instead of “giving something up” to simply add a good protein to each meal. You might create a homemade trail mix to snack on, add fish to your diet one night a week, or add a bean or lentil salad to the menu. Even choosing an almond butter and banana open faced sandwich might be a quick way to add protein.

2. Stop shooting for perfection. In other words, relax and enjoy the journey. Ever watch a baby go from crawling to learning to walk? There’s a lot of falling down and getting back up that occurs. Think of every baby step change as a step forward, even if you occasionally fall back. Every new thing you’ll try is an experiment. Be open minded and see what you can make stick.

3. Make one intentional choice each day. Maybe you decide to add greens to your diet by having a delicious and nutritious salad for lunch or dinner. This can be easily achieved by prepping your lettuce or mixed greens and chopping up of some carrots, cukes, radishes, or bell peppers, and keeping strawberries, almonds or walnuts and feta or goat cheese on hand, so you can create a variety of salads throughout the week.

4. Find one healthier replacement for your most go to food. Do you enjoy potato chips? Try replacing them with Cassava chips. Find that pizza is your favorite go to food? Buy or make a pizza with a cauliflower crust and add more veggies like onions, artichokes, arugula, or mushrooms and chicken to your pizza to give it more taste and nutrition.

5. Buy organic for the things that really matter. You may be aware there are many chemicals- pesticides, antibiotics, preservatives that are in our main food supply. That can feel scary when it feels like you can’t afford organic. Choose organic for thin skinned fruits like strawberries, blueberries and peaches, and don’t be as concerned about your oranges, bananas and avocados.

With little intentional tweaks, you can begin to make baby step changes that can serve to help you move from the standard American unhealthy diet, into one that you notice is beginning to give you more energy, help your immune system stay strong, and help you feel good about what you put in your body.

No baby ever went from solely crawling to getting up and walking perfectly without some falls and bumps. Enjoy the journey of trying new foods, and making small changes.

To your Health!

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