Lightsey Jett, RDN
Palmetto Health-USC Orthopedic Center
Around this time of year, we often set resolutions to better our health in the upcoming year. Below are a few tips to help stay on track with healthy habits in 2019.
- Keep healthful snacks on hand. Over-eating can occur as a result of being overly hungry. Keep healthful snacks on hand to have between meals to take the edge off hunger levels before your next meal. For example:
- Keep a bowl of fruit or individual packs of almonds by the front door to grab as a snack when you leave home to prevent a stop at the corner store or drive-through for a quick fix.
- Stock your fridge at work with individual Greek yogurts, grapes, or individual bags of baby carrots and hummus.
- Keep a granola bar in your purse or car to keep yourself from grabbing a candy bar in the checkout line.
- Drink water, not liquid calories. Thirst can often be confused for hunger. Keep water with you to drink between meals and take the edge off your appetite. The sugar in sweetened drinks like sweet tea, juices and sodas can cause rapid digestion and insulin spikes, resulting in even more hunger. Stick to sugar-free beverages, and mix it up with flavored waters, infused water (add a wedge of lemon or orange, sliced cucumber, berries, mint leaves, etc.) or sparkling waters.
- Slow down! There is a delay between swallowing food and the feeling of fullness (it typically takes 10-30 minutes for your brain to receive satiety signals from your stomach). When we eat quickly, we tend to eat more than we need. Slow down at mealtime by chewing each bite of food more thoroughly (10 times or more), setting your cutlery down between bites, and/or taking a sip of water between bites. Remember, you don’t have to finish everything on your plate, especially if you are out to eat and the portions are large. Grab a to-go box and enjoy the left-overs at a later time.
- Avoid under-eating. It is easy to think, “If cutting calories helps lose weight, cutting a lot of calories must help lose even more weight, right?” Wrong! Eating too few calories can slow metabolism and impair weight loss, in addition to making you feel tired and irritable. Keep your caloric intake reasonable and focus instead on becoming more physically active.
Create your nutrition plan
Working alongside your health care providers, our registered dietitian nutritionist will meet with you one-on-one to create a nutrition plan and teach you how to manage chronic conditions.