Making Healthy Nutritional Choices: Habits, Behaviors & Resources

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  • 0:01 Changing Your Diet
  • 0:34 Making Healthy Choices
  • 3:34 Resources to Guide You
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

This lesson will help you see how easy it is to track what you eat and change your diet for the better. It will also provide you with additional information on where a wealth of information on healthy nutrition can be found.

Changing Your Diet

If you've ever made a New Year's resolution to eat healthier, but didn't follow through for one reason or another, you're not alone. It may be that you simply put too much pressure on yourself or didn't follow the right strategies. In fact, modifying your behavior and eating habits is much easier than you think. We'll explore some simple strategies that can help you on your quest to change your diet and point out several resources that can help you make the right decision regarding your diet.

Making Healthy Choices

The first thing you need to do on your way to eating better is to gather knowledge and data about what it is that you do right now. Some things have become habits to the extent that you no longer pay attention to them or think nothing is wrong with them. That's why you should begin by keeping a daily journal where you log what you eat or drink. Record what you take in, how much you consume, where you eat or drink it, and where you obtain it from. Be as detailed as possible as this will help you understand your current dietary habits.

At the same time you should also write down alternatives that are available to you. If you stop by the local gas station on the way to work to buy a soda, write down the alternatives, such as juice or water. This is important in helping to find out what options you have and where. Next, set yourself some simple goals. Categorize what you eat into things you should choose more or less often. For example, you may have hamburgers, deep fried doughnuts, and soda in the unhealthy category and apples, water, and whole grains in the healthy category.

This way, you can not only see what your healthy and unhealthy choices are but can easily use the list to set goals to choose healthier choices. But be realistic when changing your behavior. Increasing the healthy choices by two or three and decreasing the unhealthy choices by two or three is far more realistic and attainable than denying yourself all your unhealthy treats. It may lead to bingeing down the line.

Once you have outlined your goals it's important to use certain techniques to break old habits and behaviors. Planning ahead is a great way to do this. For example, put a healthy snack in your backpack, like a granola bar, for the next day at school. This way, when you get up, you're ready to go without any excuses and this will help avoid your buying candy in the cafeteria.

Substitute things as well. Get a bottle of water instead of a soda. It's really simple. The vending machine doesn't care which you choose and you only have to press two buttons for either one. If some healthy things seem too bland for you, no problem! Spice it up! If drinking water is too boring add a slice of lemon or lime to zest it up.

Examine your journal for routines. Maybe you always go to the vending machine on your way home from work. See if there's another exit you can use that avoids that temptation. If you love dining out, examine the menu online before you go. If there's no good healthy option, perhaps another place has food you'll enjoy just as much, but is much healthier.

And finally, don't forget to look at food labels! Make sure, based on those labels and other information, that you're getting enough nutrients without too many calories. What I've outlined thus far is a good start. If it doesn't seem to help you, then I encourage you to watch the lesson on creating a behavioral management plan for even more tips and tricks!

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