Making Simple Changes and Substitutions

Mom and squash baby food

You don't have to throw out all the food in your refrigerator to start eating healthier. There are many small, simple changes you can make that will drastically improve your diet. They are changes that don't take extra time or money, and they're easy to stick with.

  1. Make substitutions. Order brown rice instead of white rice, or buy whole wheat bread instead of white.
  2. Add healthy foods in, rather than taking a favorite food out. Bring a snack of cut-up vegetables or some grapes in your lunch. You'll add a serving of vegetables or fruit to your diet and get the benefit of the vitamins and minerals it contains.
  3. Buy only nonfat or 1 percent milk, and low- or nonfat yogurt, sour cream, and other dairy products.
  4. Eat your fruits and vegetables first. You'll be less hungry by the time you get to your cheeseburger or dessert. This way you get the healthy foods in, leaving less appetite for the not-so-healthy foods. Also, the fiber in fruits and vegetables will make you feel fuller longer.
  5. Use a small amount of oil (olive or canola) for cooking instead of butter, margarine, or lard.
  6. Use herbs, spices, and other low-sodium seasonings to flavor food.
  7. Eat two servings of fish per week.
  8. Buy low-sodium canned goods (soups, vegetables, and beans).
  9. Make your favorite foods healthier. Prepare pizza at home using low-fat mozzarella and lots of fresh veggies.

Once you start recognizing healthy food choices, you can make small changes and substitutions on your own. You'll see that healthy eating can be simple, delicious, and convenient.

Reviewed by: Adrienne D. Mims, MD, MPH, August 2006
©2007 Kaiser Permanente

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