How can I make changes in my eating patterns?

Tanya Zuckerbrot
Nutrition & Dietetics

Registered Dietitian Tanya Zuckerbrot explains how you can make changes in your eating patterns. Watch Tanya's video for tips and information on healthy nutrition.

Paula Greer
Midwifery Nursing
Changing your eating habits starts with having what the YOUdocs call that "aha moment " that makes you desire to make a permanent life change.

Once you have that motivation behind you, the journey starts with learning what you are eating, why and when.

Reading labels and learning to understand not only the nutritional information but also the ingredients list is key to understanding what you are eating. You will be surprised how many processed foods contain the five food felons.

Removing the five food felons from your diet should be your first step to healthier eating habits.

Your second step will be learning portion control.

Next comes planning to eat 5-6 times a day to jump start your metabolism, keep your body fueled and burning and get those hormones grehlin for hunger and leptin to make you feel satisfied back in working action.

These simple 5 steps, learning about healthy eating and getting your aha moment, removing the five food felons, portion control and eating small frequent healthy meals and snacks will have you well on your way to healthy eating... Just remember that you need exercise and sleep to keep you healthy and balanced. Good luck and remember we are always here to answer your questions.
Kate Myerson
Nutrition & Dietetics
Sometimes it's not just what we eat but how we eat and why we have the eating habits we do.

For example if we are emotional eaters, stress eaters, eating on the run or eating too much at night. These things cannot change overnight, after all, these habits did not develop overnight either.

Try a food journal to recognize what some of those eating habits are. Think of which one might be the easiest to change and start there. That will build your confidence to take on the next change.

Remember small steps can lead to big results.

For example, wanting to start packing a lunch is a great change. Doing that everyday, while it might be feasible may not be sustainable or realistic to start with. But deciding which days would be the easiest to pack a lunch or setting a goal of 2 days is a great start. Once that becomes more of a habit you can do another day, then another.

Forming a habit gradually will make it easier to stick with that habit rather than trying to force too big of a change at once. 

Good Luck!
Here are some tips that may help you to make changes in your eating patterns:
  • Practice first: For example, when you're making oatmeal for the first few times, have a favorite alternative around, in case the oatmeal doesn't come out to your liking. Learning how to cook a new food may take some trial and error.
  • Eat breakfast: Eating a substantial breakfast may prevent the midmorning crash that can set off the cravings for sugar and stimulants like coffee. Try whole-grain breads and cereals, free-range eggs, greens, fresh fruits, yogurts, and nuts and seeds. This may require some additional planning, but the food doesn't have to take a long time to prepare. If you make a pot of whole grains -- such as brown rice, quinoa, or rye -- when you have time to cook, make enough to last three meals. Then all you have to do is heat up the grains in the morning and add some nuts or seeds, milk, yogurt, fruit.
  • Modify your snacks: Many of us get hungry midmorning or mid-afternoon when there is no provision for a meal. If we don't plan for these cravings, then when we are hungry and our energy flags, we reach for the most convenient choices: baked goods made with refined flour, candy bars, and coffee. None of these foods gives us the sustained energy or the nutrients we need to get through the day. Try planning ahead, and have some nutritious snacks available: a sandwich on whole-grain bread, celery, carrots or apples with nut butter, or plain yogurt with fruits and nuts.
  • Plan lunch and dinner: You can begin by doing this just once a week. Plan for a vegetable, a protein food, a starchy vegetable or whole grain, and maybe some nuts and seeds or cheese to add some healthy fat.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.