Small Diet Changes That Have a Big Impact

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Small Diet Changes That Have a Big Impact - Image
May 3, 2022

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when it comes to making healthier diet choices these days. It often feels as though everywhere you turn, someone has an opinion on various solutions to maximize your health. However, the best way to make a big impact is easier than you think.

Our team at Scottsdale Private Physicians, LLC can help demystify healthy eating with nutrition counseling. Our personalized service can help you better understand the relationship between your diet and your health, including how the things you consume affect your emotions, energy, and overall well-being.

But you can also make small changes on your own. Here are a few simple ways to get started.

Dish up more fruits and veggies

One of the best things you can do for your diet involves increasing the produce in your life. Not only do fruits and vegetables add more variety, flavor, and color to a meal, but they also contain healthy servings of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Plus, veggies usually leave you feeling fuller longer, and fruits can double as dessert.

When eating fruits and vegetables, avoid added fats by choosing fresh, steamed, boiled, or baked items. Serve them with a small amount of nut butter, salt, pepper, or olive oil.

Add more whole grains

Do you love bread or pasta? What about doughnuts, rolls, and muffins? If you do, it’s time to make the switch to whole grains.

Whole grains fall into a nutritional category known as complex carbohydrates. Unlike their highly processed counterparts, whole-grain foods are generally high in fiber and low in fat — nutritional powerhouses that leave you feeling fuller longer and help prevent overeating.

To add more whole grains to your diet, simply swap items like white pasta, white rice, or potato chips for whole-wheat pasta, wild or brown rice, or unbuttered popcorn.

Choose the right proteins

It can be tempting to reach for packaged lunch meat, ground beef, frozen fish sticks, or highly marbled meats, but there’s a better option for your health. Look for lean cuts of low-fat meats and try more plant-based options from time to time.

Examples of lean proteins include:

  • Poultry, especially chicken breast
  • Fish and seafood, like salmon and coldwater trout
  • Beans, peas, and lentils

Meat cuts labeled as “loin” or “leg” are often lean cuts of meat, like pork loin. But trim off excess fat before cooking and eating. Cooking lean proteins by grilling, roasting, broiling, or baking and serving them without gravies and high-fat sauces provide the healthiest options.

Rethink your dairy choices

Do you love a cold glass of 2% or whole milk? How about cream cheese or cottage cheese? You don’t have to ditch your dairy to clean up your diet — simply replace your favorite varieties with lower fat versions.

The easiest way to rethink your dairy choices involves choosing:

  • Skim, 1%, or nondairy milks
  • Low-fat cheeses and buttermilk
  • Nonfat or low-fat yogurt
  • Nonfat or light mayonnaise

Instead of ice cream, try sherbet, sorbet, or frozen yogurt as an occasional treat.

Take a closer look at the fat and sugar in your life

Don’t worry — you don’t have to eliminate fats and sugars in your diet. In fact, trying to restrict yourself too severely can lead to unhealthy bingeing. But high-fat foods and sweets easily add up during the day, putting your health and waistline at risk.

Instead, substitute sugar-sweetened beverages like soda, fruit juices, and energy drinks with zero-calorie drinks and water. While cooking, use healthy fats like olive, canola, and soybean oils whenever possible. Need a sweet treat? Reaching for some dark chocolate can satisfy those cravings with a single square.

Making small choices like these to your diet can help reduce your risk of numerous chronic diseases, from heart disease and diabetes to obesity and cancer. And when you make a few small changes at a time, it’s easier to ensure that they last a lifetime.

Curious to learn more ways to improve your diet and overall health? Our specialized services include lifestyle coaching and preventive medicine to help you live your healthiest life. Contact Scottsdale Private Physicians, LLC in Scottsdale, Arizona, to schedule a consultation today.

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