By Guest Blogger Cindy Silver, a registered dietician
Does it surprise you that only 8-10% of all people have success with health-related New Year’s Resolutions? Maybe you’ve been in that small slice of success, or maybe not. For the 90-92% who have not, let’s get some ideas going to boost your chances for better nutrition in 2018. Why? Delicious nutrition helps families connect, it nourishes and energizes bodies, it makes us all clearer thinkers, and it keeps us out of the doctor’s office.
Steps to Success
Step 1: A Single, Simple Goal
When you set one goal and keep it simple, you’re off to a great start. The hard part is choosing a goal among all the options. Here are 7 goals to consider and be sure to choose one that speaks to you. Rank your top 3 and then sit down with your family, talk over the 3, and come out with a family goal for better nutrition.
7 Goal Options for Better Nutrition
- Eat a less sugary breakfast every day.
- Grab-n-Go for breakfast when you miss it at home.
- Make lunch more than a green salad.
- Cut up a fruit and a vegetable every day to keep in the fridge for snacking.
- Think through and write down what’s for dinner, 2 days in advance
- Post what’s for dinner on the fridge, day-by-day
- Bring your school-age, 6-12 year, child to the grocery store as your helper
Step 2: An Action Plan (AP)
After choosing a goal, the next step is your strategy or action plan. Look at the 3 action plan strategies for each of the 7 goal options and then decide if they are realistic. If they are, great. If not, then re-write the action plans to suit your family.
1 – Eat a less sugary breakfast every day
AP: Plain Cheerios + 1% Milk/Soymilk + Banana
AP: Egg + Toast with Fiber + Apple + 1% Milk/Soymilk
AP: Warm Corn Tortilla + Black Beans + Salsa + 1% Milk/Soymilk
2 – Grab-n-Go for breakfast when you miss it at home…and always carry your water bottle!
AP: Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap + Peanut Butter + Banana
AP: Hardboiled Egg Sandwich + Pear
AP: Homemade Trail Mix of Nuts, Seeds, Raisins or Craisins in a Baggie
3 – Make lunch more than a green salad
AP: Green Salad + Toppings like these: Colorful Veggies &/or Tuna/Chicken &/or Soybeans &/or Walnuts &/or Pumpkin Seeds + Orange
AP: Whole Wheat Tortilla Wrap with Light Cream Cheese & Deli Turkey or Chicken + Grapes + Oatmeal Cookie
AP: Soup with Vegetables + Whole Grain Crackers & Cheese + Baby Carrots & Hummus
4 – Wash & Cut up a fruit and a vegetable every day to keep in the fridge for snacking
AP: Cantaloupe Chunks + Bell Pepper Strips
AP: Apple Slices (dipped into OJ to prevent browning) + Baby Carrots
AP: Clementine Citrus + Cucumber Slices
5 – Think through and write down what’s for dinner, 2 days in advance
AP: Baked Chicken Legs + Corn + Green Beans + 1% Milk + Juice Popsicle for Dessert
AP: Spaghetti & Lean Beef Meatballs (or Meatless Meatballs) + Red Sauce + Steamed Broccoli + Mango or Melon for Dessert
AP: Homemade Corn Pancakes + Turkey Sausage (or Meatless Sausage) + Cut up Fresh or Canned Pineapple for Dessert
6 – Post what’s for dinner on the fridge, day-by-day
AP: Buy an erasable Wipe Board with magnet at an office supply store for the fridge
AP: Every 2-3 days, write dinner menus on the wipe board and post it
AP: Ask your school-age child, 6-12 years, to help post dinner menus on the wipe board
7 – Bring your school age child, 6-12 years, to the grocery store as your helper
AP: Each week, schedule 45-60 minutes for smart grocery shopping, when you and your child are not hungry, and add it to your calendar
AP: When you arrive at the store, slowly review what’s on your grocery list, or spend 10 minutes writing the list with your child’s input – before getting out of the car
AP: Inside the store, get your child involved with choosing & weighing fruits and vegetables, reading a nutrition label, and sticking to your list
Step 3: A Consistent Pattern
After firmly deciding on your goal and action plan steps, there’s one very important element left – consistency. You might call it being stubborn about your goal and, in this case, being stubborn is good. This is where you get the job done with laser focus, day after day after day. No, it may not be easy and yes, it will gradually get you where you want to go.
AP: Think deeply about your goal and write down why you chose it on a sticky note. Stick your note somewhere you’ll see it every single day.
AP: Visit your Why-Note every day, take a deep breath, and say out loud, “I got this!”
AP: Be your family’s Better Nutrition Leader for a 2018 goal. Then put your action plan to work.
What better nutrition goal will you select for your family and which action plan step will come first?