If you are trying for a healthier lifestyle, often times that means that you need to adjust your normal nutrition habits.

We all know the typical American diet we grew up is absolutely horrible for us. Unfortunately, altering our dietary patterns has a learning curve to it.

A new approach to nutrition is not just about “cutting out the junk” and reducing portion sizes. It usually involves trying new foods, learning how to prepare them, and just as importantly, learning how to put together a full day’s worth of meals to make sure your overall diet is balanced. Most folks learned how to eat and structure a diet by just copying what their parents did.

One of the best ways to make serious habit changes is to start small, and add a little bit of change at a time. Big switches do work for some folks (i.e. quitting smoking cold turkey), but most people tend to have a higher chance of successfully maintaining that change if it is one small bit at a time.

Instead of saying you are going to not eat something ever again, instead focus on “I’m not going to eat that today.” Instead of saying “I’m only going to eat that from here on out,” instead say “I’m going to eat this today.” Take it one day at a time.

Making it easier to make a good choice is the most likely way to get the result we are looking for on any particular day. Instead of purchasing your normal snack items, get something that is a bit healthier.

Put some fruit or nuts in a place that makes it easy to get like the middle of your counter or table. This works because most of us are fundamentally lazy, especially when hungry. We’ll eat the first thing we see.

The last and most important part is to try new foods. Try some vegetarian or ethnic dishes. Once you identify a new dish or type of food you find enjoyable, learn how to prepare it and start working it into your normal schedule. This will allow you to put a good substitute in for the “junk” you are cutting without having to eat the same two dishes all the time.

Remember to start with small changes that are easy to make. Once you have successfully done the small change every day for a week or two, add another small change. Then start working in easy substitutions and new foods every now and again.

When it comes to switching gears with your nutrition, be sure to take it slow and steady. Remember that we are after long term health and not extreme overnight changes.

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