In the months between New Year's and bathing-suit season, you hear a lot about detox diets and how to kick-start weight loss after a few too many indulgences. But the foods you’re often asked to eat on those diets are the ones you should actually be incorporating into your meals every day, rather than just for a few weeks or months to shed excess weight. SheKnows.com spoke with Diane Henderiks, RD, aka "The Dietitian in the Kitchen,” personal chef, cookbook author and television personality, about making the shift from short-term goals, like fitting into your skinny jeans, to overall healthy lifestyle changes.
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How to healthfully make over your diet
Henderiks suggests some simple diet strategies for making the shift from eating for detox and weight loss to eating healthy for life.
Evaluate your regular diet
Take a look at how you're eating already. Ask yourself what you can cut out (bad fats, refined flour, sugar) and what you can increase (fruit, vegetables, whole grains).
Go slow when modifying your diet
Tweak your diet slowly so you don't feel deprived, which can lead to overeating. Make diet changes in steps -- for example, if you regularly eat three scrambled eggs, bacon and white toast for breakfast, start by switching to two eggs and one egg white. Then trade white toast for whole wheat. Then add some spinach to your eggs to increase nutrient-rich leafy greens, and eventually trade the side of bacon for a fruit salad.
Shift your snacking habits. Keep a bowl of cut-up vegetables in the fridge for healthier between-meal munching. Cut them up on Sunday evening so you have them ready for the week. Store them in a container of water to keep them crisper longer. Always keep a bowl of fresh fruit visible on your counter or somewhere else people will see it. Henderiks keeps hers on the dining-room table where her kids do their homework.
Go meatless – weekly
Try meatless Mondays as a simple way to cut back on meat. One day a week with no meat often leads to more such days, Henderiks says.
Small steps for big health
We all want things quickly (that last five pounds melted away), but it takes 30 days to change a habit, Henderiks says. This means it also takes time to change your taste buds, so if you're used to eating high-fat, processed foods when you switch to a healthier, more plant- and whole grain-based diet, it may come as a shock to your palate. The dietitian explains, "People are so used to processed foods they haven't experienced the beauty of natural foods."
Opt for nutrient-dense foods
Henderiks suggests eating the foods that give you the most nutritional bang for your buck, rather than filling up on empty calories. Also think in short, achievable goals so you don't feel the need to completely overhaul your diet in a matter of days. Most importantly, think lifestyle change, rather than just adopting healthy habits to lose weight. Not only will you feel better – you'll end up looking great in your bikini by default.
We're all so busy these days that it often leaves us reaching for the less-than-nutritious options for snacks. Joining Shay Pausa in today's Daily Dish on SheKnows.com is Dr. Michelle May, nutrition expert, to shows us some delicious alternatives!
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