You don’t have to revolutionize your diet to make your New Year’s resolution a reality—just take what you’re already doing, and look for opportunities to make small improvements. You’ll be surprised how these 15 slight adjustments can help yield big results over time.
Drink Seltzer Instead of Soda (Even if It’s Diet)
Unless you live in a bubble, you know both drinking your calories and artificial sweeteners accelerate weight gain. So ditch the sweet drinks, and switch to soda water. Jazz it up with a squeeze of lemon, lime, or orange—or add cucumber slices or pomegranate seeds.
Eat More Protein and Less Sugar at Breakfast
Switch from cereal, toast, and muffins to yogurt, nuts, nut butter, and eggs to give yourself the fuel you need in the A.M. You won’t miss carb-crashing in an hour—you’ll notice you feel more energized and satisfied longer. You want both of those!
Start Having a Mid-Morning Snack
If you have more than a few hours between breakfast and lunch, start eating a small snack between the two meals. A few strategically placed, healthful calories at that time will keep you from overeating and being too hungry at lunch. Think nuts and veggies, rather than packaged snack foods.
Read the Sugar Count on Labels
There are about a bazillion names for sugar out there, and you don’t want any of ‘em to top the ingredient lists on foods you’re putting into your mouth. Make a rule not to sink your teeth into nutrient-poor, weight gain-causing ingredients. Swap your sweets for nature’s candy—yes, we mean fruit!—and you’re on your way to weight loss.
Ditch the Bread and Try a Lettuce Wrap
Bread is not the devil, but it really doesn’t offer a lot of nutrition—and does bump up the calorie count. Replace your usual sandwich holder with a romaine or cabbage leaf. It works with just about anything you’d put between two slices.
Use a Measuring Cup to Portion Grains
Give your serving spoons a break, and replace them with a ⅓-cup measuring cup. It may feel a little institutional to serve an exact portion, but it will help you learn how much you should be eating when it comes to rice, quinoa, or any of your favorite grains.
Start Each Meal with a Full Glass of Water
There’s a reason this suggestion feels played out: Drinking water before you eat helps you to meet your fluid rec for the day, which in turn boosts your metabolism and helps you figure out if your hunger is truly hunger or actually thirst.
Knit, Apply Lotion, or Do a Puzzle While Watching TV
Too many people pack on weight because they eat in front of the tube. Keep your hands busy so they aren’t busy putting chips between your lips. Decide you no longer eat on the couch with a remote in your hand, and that’s a tweak you’ll be able to show off in your swimsuit by summertime.
Always Leave at Least One Bite on Your Plate
You’ll feel so empowered by not eating that last mouthful—and this will help you realize that you don’t need to eat the whole thing to feel satisfied.
Eat Hot Foods
A secret of Eastern cultures is that they consume hot tea and soup at every meal and sometimes in between. Why does this give you such a weight-loss boost? You naturally have to eat hot foods slower, so you end up taking in less. Plus, all of that water from the tea and soup help you feel more satisfied.
Eat Your Veggies First at Every Meal
You know how there can be a full plate in front of you, but your first bite is of the pasta? Make your first few bites vegetables—even better if they make up the majority of what’s on your plate. Filling up on nutrient-dense, low-calorie veggies first—before you even consider eating your protein and starch—will help you slim down without thinking about it.
Buy Nuts in Their Shell
When you have to work to open up each nut, you’re much less likely to over-indulge on them. Plus, the stack of shells is a good visual reminder of how many you’ve already eaten.
Make Your Own Healthy Snacks Grab-and-Go
Prepare a bunch of containers of pre-portioned nuts, dried fruits, high-fiber crackers, and pumpkin seeds. Being prepared is empowering and keeps you in control—so you’re less likely to raid the vending machine.
Don’t Add Too Much Variety
Eating in a repetitive way may feel a little uninspired, but it also helps you eat less. Research shows that eating the same things helps you to consume fewer calories. Save the variety for the veggies—it’s hard to overdo it on those.
Start Each Meal with Eight-Count Breaths
This is when you breathe in for eight counts and then out for eight counts. Try to do eight of these whenever you can so stress and rushing through your meal don’t override your hunger and satiety cues.