Setting Realistic Goals When Resolving to Improve Your Diet

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By : dLife Editors

By: Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

Every year many people set a New Year’s resolution with the best of intentions. In January, people are generally very motivated and determined to make this the year for improved eating habits and weight loss.

Unfortunately, studies have shown that after just a few weeks into the New Year, many people have broken their well-intended resolutions.

Very often people make the mistake of setting unrealistic goals and end of up feeling hopeless and disappointed in themselves.

Although dedication and motivation are necessary, the key to succeeding with a New Year’s resolution is setting a realistic and obtainable goal.

For example, if you are trying to cut back on sweets, it may be unrealistic to say, ‘I will never eat dessert again,’ but rather, set a goal of eating only certain sweet foods such as the sugar-free varieties of Jell-O, pudding, popsicles and ice cream bars.

This would be a goal that is easier to achieve goal, still improves your eating habits (and possibly your blood sugar levels) and would give you the confidence to set other healthy eating goals.

Here are some examples of basic healthy eating components that might be good for you. Pick one area at a time to work on and, once achieved, move onto the next goal.

1. Eat three meals per day. Eating three meals every day can improve your blood sugar levels and increase your metabolism. Many people skip meals, which can lead to overeating at the next meal, causing elevated blood sugar levels. Eating three meals daily is a basic step toward healthy eating, weight loss, and improved blood sugar levels.

2. Choose high-fiber foods. High-fiber foods can help lower cholesterol and may help lower blood sugar levels. These foods also stay in the stomach longer and provide a feeling of fullness, so they can be especially helpful if you are looking to lose weight. High-fiber foods include whole wheat bread and cereals, brown rice, oatmeal, fresh fruit, vegetables, beans, and legumes.

3. Eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. This goes along with eating more high-fiber foods. Most Americans are eating too many starchy foods and are falling short of the recommended 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.

It may sound like a lot, but a serving is 1 cup fresh fruit, 1 medium piece fruit, 1 cup raw vegetables or 1/2 cup cooked vegetables. You can easily eat 2 servings of vegetables in one sitting by having a large salad with a meal or 1 cup cooked vegetables. A good New Year’s resolution may be to eat 2 servings of fruit per day by including fruit with breakfast and taking one piece of fruit for a snack.

4. Choose lower-fat foods. Specifically, you should cut back on saturated fat and trans-fat foods, which can raise your cholesterol levels. Saturated fat is found in fatty meats such as bacon, sausage, and hot dogs along with regular cheese, whole milk and salad dressings.

Trans-fats are found in a lot of processed foods and snack foods. Lower-fat food options include lean meats such as chicken breast, lean ground turkey, fish, fruit, vegetables, skim milk, and light products such as reduced-fat cheeses and salad dressings.

Remember, to reward yourself for progress. Of course, a non-food reward is always recommended. New outfits, new technology, and fitness related items make good rewards. Also, an appointment with a registered dietitian can help you even more with healthy eating. Have a Healthy New Year!


Hearty Lentil Soup and Focaccia Bread

Serving Size: 2 cups

Makes: 9 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cooking spray
14 ounces lean smoked pre-cooked turkey sausage (Kielbasa), sliced
1 cup diced celery
1 medium onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
3 cups water
1 14.5-ounce can fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 14.5-ounce cans unsalted diced tomatoes
1 cup dried lentils
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 bay leaf

1. Coat a large soup pot with cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, sauté sausage until lightly brown. Remove from pan.
2. Add celery, onion, and carrots to pot and sauté over medium-high heat for approximately 4 minutes.
3. Add the sausage and all remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer for 1 hour.
4. Remove bay leaf
5. Serve a slice of warm Focaccia bread

Nutritional Information: 168 Calories, 4g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 28mg Cholesterol, 825mg Sodium, 20g Total Carbohydrates, 7g Dietary Fiber, 7g Sugars, 13g Protein 13g
Exchange: 1 Starch, 1 Vegetable, 1 Lean Meat

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Updated by dLife editors 1/3/19.