As we enter summer, you may be feeling more inspired than ever to get into a healthy eating routine so you can feel your best, and take advantage of all that summertime has to offer. So today Kristie Middleton, Senior Food Policy Manager at The Humane Society and author of the new book MeatLess, is sharing her top 5 tips to help you stick to healthy eating.
1. Set clear, well-defined goals for yourself.
Instead of setting a goal like, “I want to eat more plant-based meals” try, “I’ll always order plant-based meals when dining at restaurants,” or “I’ll replace meat with plant-based chicken nuggets at the grocery store.” Setting these specific parameters will help decision making easy.
2. Healthy eating is contagious, so get friends to join you!
Our diet choices are so heavily influenced by our community. In research published in The New England Journal of Medicine, researchers found that an individual’s likelihood of becoming obese rises by 37 percent if their spouse is obese and 57 percent if a close friend is. Dr. Walter Willett, chairman of the Department of Nutrition at Harvard School of Public Health warns, “Obesity is ‘contagious’ but physical activity and healthy eating are too, so we want to emphasize the latter.” So get friends and family to join you. In addition to having their support, you multiply the positive impacts!
3. Shout it from the rooftops.
Writing down our goals can help us stick to them? According to psychology professor Gail Matthews at Dominican University, people who write down their goals will be 42 percent more likely to achieve them. So tell the world—go ahead and share your goals in the comments below!
4. Make the healthy, plant-based choice the easy choice.
Let’s face it, we’re all busy. It’s easy to make bad decisions on impulse and especially when we’re hungry. Making it easy to eat foods you’re trying to consume more of is critical to success. One easy way is to wash and cut vegetables and put them and a tub of hummus at eye level in the fridge—in a clear container, so they’re the first thing you see when you reach in for a snack.
5. Don’t think about the big picture; think about specific behaviors.
Dr. Milena Esherick, program director at The Wright Institute graduate school of psychology, helps individuals with transitioning to plant-based diets. She says, “Think in terms of specific behaviors (“buy soymilk” or “try Meatless Monday”). That helps narrow down options.
I hope this helps you achieve your healthy eating goals this summer!