New Year’s resolutions might come off as a bit cliché, especially if they tend to be impractical, hopeless or impossible.
However, many resolutions fall into the category of “bettering yourself” or “getting healthier,” and Alicia Ford, diabetes care and education specialist and registered dietitian at the Vancouver Clinic in Battle Ground, says you don’t need a large, seemingly impossible goal to begin eating healthier and bettering yourself.
“So I would tell them to start small because when you think about healthy eating it can sometimes be overwhelming,” Ford said. “Setting small, achievable goals can be really helpful.”
Ford used the example of eating breakfast every day as a small, achievable goal to give yourself.
“It is one of the most important meals of the day,” she said, explaining how a healthy, well-balanced meal can provide sustainable energy throughout the day.
Ford said setting small goals makes overall growth and achievement more possible for someone trying to eat healthier.
Ford also used the example of using small steps to cut fast food out of your diet instead of quitting “cold turkey.”
“Some people will cut fast food out completely and they never miss it again. But most people will do it for the first couple months, but once they go back, the gate opens,” she said, recommending that people try and cut fast food out of their regular diet one day at a time.
If you eat fast food three times a week, cut it back to two days and so on, she said. Ford also explained that while fast food may not be the healthiest option, some items on the menu are better than others.
“Always look at the menu and see your options to make a wise decision,” she said.
Along with cutting out fast food, Ford said it’s important for people to “eat with mindfulness” and pay attention to what they are eating.
“Another big part, along with that mindfulness, is actually trying to meal prep and thinking about balanced meals,” Ford said, mentioning that she teaches her patients the “plate method” when it comes to balanced meals. “Basically, half your plate is veggies, then there’s a source of protein and usually there’s a starch or carb. Thinking about a meal that way helps to balance it out and can help you feel full a little bit longer and make sure you’re getting a mix of fruits and vegetables and whole grains.”
While Ford works directly with diabetic patients at the Vancouver Clinic, she said it’s important for all people to eat a balanced, healthy diet that is low in sugar.
“Something that I usually discourage is sugar sweetened beverages. So, our sodas, our really sweet coffees, our energy drinks because they’re empty calories,” Ford said.
Ford said those who like to drink beverages high in sugar should try cutting the portion size down a little bit by pouring a smaller glass.
As for alcohol, Ford says to limit the intake as much as possible because it messes with blood sugars and sleep schedules.
“Just, be mindful about it,” she said.