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Emphasize the Positive: Small Changes Add Up

Emphasize the Positive: Small Changes Add Up

Small healthy lifestyle changes can add up to positive differences when it comes to healthy living. Whether you’re trying to eat smarter or are determined to move more, small changes to improve health—made one-by-one, and sustained over time—are likely your best tactics for progressing toward and maintaining your personal health and wellness goals.

Small Changes, Positive Results

Big goals, sensible strategies, small changes—what’s the difference?

  • Goals (dropping ten pounds or lowering your blood cholesterol level) are your desired outcomes. Such goals may seem daunting and you may not know how to get started.
  • Strategies (fitting in more veggies and eating more whole grains) provide a general roadmap to reaching your goals.
  • Small changes (adding broccoli to a pizza, switching to whole grain crackers, choosing one scoop of ice cream instead of two) are actions you take to put your strategies into motion and work toward your personal health or wellness goals.

Small healthy lifestyle changes are easy to start, easy to live with and easy to integrate into everyday life. Achieved one at a time, each small, positive change can take you one step closer to your goals.

Change of Plate

Smart eating promotes wellness and also helps lower or manage diet-related health risks. These small changes to improve health are positively easy and positively delicious.

  • For better breakfasts:
    • Drink a glass of fat free or low fat milk, and get its calcium and vitamin D benefits.
    • Sweeten French toast, waffles or cereal with sliced fruit instead of sugar or syrup for less added sugars.
    • Scramble 1 whole egg and 1 egg white, instead of 2 whole eggs, for less cholesterol but plenty of protein.
    • Make a quick morning parfait by layering berries, yogurt and whole grain cereal, instead of skipping breakfast and missing out on a nutrient-rich “refueling.”
  • For pack-and-go lunches:
  • o Switch to whole grain pitas, tortillas or bread for a fiber boost.
  • Tuck spinach, grated carrots or roasted red peppers into wraps and sandwiches to fit in more colorful veggies.
  • Pack an orange, apple or banana in your lunch sack; one more way to fit fruit in.
  • Buy “less salt,” ready-to-heat soups for less sodium and single-serve canned fruit in juice for less added sugars.
  • Toss your salad with two tablespoons of dressing, not a ladleful, to help manage fat and calories.
  • For quick snacks:
    • Pack a nutrient-rich portable snack: combine dried fruit, nuts, whole grain crackers and popcorn (a whole grain).
    • Portion snacks on a plate (instead of eating from the package) to control how much you are eating.
    • Snack on cherry tomatoes, baby carrots, grapes or tangerine slices for nutrient-rich finger foods.
  • For home-cooked dinners:
    • Divide your plate into sections: 1/2 veggies and/or fruit, 1/4 grain foods and 1/4 lean protein foods (meat, poultry, fish, tofu or beans).
    • Make less look like more. Put smaller portions on a smaller plate for fewer calories.
    • Sprinkle toasted almonds on salads for better-for-you fats and more fiber.
    • Top baked potatoes with veggie-packed toppings like salsa instead of butter for less fat and calories.
    • Add cooked or canned beans (red, kidney, black) to soup, salad, pizza and pasta sauce for more fiber and lean protein.
    • Switch to darker greens in salads for vitamin A and more nutrients.
    • Serve stir-fries with brown rice instead of white rice for more whole grain.
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