Sometimes it is easy to get off track on your wellness journey. Holidays, busy schedules, and other obligations may keep you from focusing on your health. But you can get back on track. Typically, spring is a great time to clean and reorganize, replacing the old with the new. It’s also a great way to start healthy new habits and break the old. Here are a few tips to get a head start in your spring health goals.
Keep a Food Journal
There are many different ways to keep track of what you eat. You can write it down on paper, keep notes on your computer or digital device, or use a diet tracking website or app. Keeping a food log helps you assess where you are and helps increase your chances of success. Some studies have shown that people who keep track of what they eat, no matter the method, have better success at losing weight, managing their diet, controlling their portions, and sticking to healthy habits. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when keeping a food journal:
Remember if you bite it, you write it. Include the extras that add up, such as that handful of candies at the office or foods that you taste during cooking.
If possible, record immediately after eating. Or, if you are in a hurry, snap a picture using your phone so that you can go back and enter the foods later.
Include holidays, parties, and the weekends.
It is easy to underestimate how much you have eaten. Measure your foods using measuring cups, spoons, or even a food scale.
Make sure you include “extras,” such as gravy on your meat, cheese on your sandwich, or vegetables, butter, and salad dressings.
Set Realistic Goals
Refine your goals by targeting a specific area for improvement. Goals should also be measurable, time-related, and most importantly, realistic. Carefully plan your goals and consider how they will fit best into your lifestyle. If you tend to eat out several times a week at lunch, this might be an opportunity to make better choices. For example, set a goal to eat out only twice a week. On the other days, plan to pack your lunch in a cooler to take with you.
- I want to eat better. I plan to bring fruits, yogurt, and unsalted nuts for snacks instead of buying chips from the vending machine.
- I need to eat more vegetables. I plan to eat salads for lunch and have 2 servings of vegetables at dinner.
- I must drink more water. I will drink at least 64 ounces of water per day at least 5 days per week. I will drink a glass of water before drinking anything else.
Spring-Clean Your Pantry
You won't be able to see what you have in your home, what you need to toss out, and what you need to buy until you've completely removed everything from your pantry. Consider these tips to get organized.
Go through your pantry and pull out absolutely everything. Split your items into two piles: things you use and want to keep, and foods you haven't touched in at least three to six months. Consider tossing or donating the items you generally don't use.
Start by checking the expiration dates on foods. For products that do not have expiration dates, such as oils and spices, there are resources such as the USDA FoodKeeper App to help you understand freshness and quality of these items.
Remove foods with partially hydrogenated oils; artificial colors and flavors; or foods high in saturated fat and/or with added sugars and sodium.
When reorganizing your food, think of how grocery store aisles are arranged. Group your pantry items by type: grains, drinks, baking items, canned goods, soups, snack foods, etc. This will make it easier to identify the items you need when heading to the store or making a meal.
Now that your pantry is clean, it's time to restock. Plan ahead by creating a customized list with Publix’s My Shopping List to make grocery shopping easier. When putting away your purchases, put foods you want to eat more of (e.g., canned fruits and vegetables) in your field of vision (on countertops or on eye-level shelves), and foods you want to eat less of hidden (top or bottom shelf behind other foods).
Keep a running grocery list on your refrigerator. When one of your pantry items runs low, add it to the list so you remember to purchase it during your next trip to the supermarket.
Helpful Tools from Publix
Publix offers a variety of tools for you. From shopping lists to recipes, Publix can help you get a head start in your springtime health goals.
Do you have a specific dietary concern? Are you watching your sodium intake or avoiding gluten? Publix has shopping lists for The Right Foods for You such as Gluten-Free, Low Sodium, Low Fat, and Four Grams of Sugar or Less.
We've made it easier to shop according to your dietary needs and goals with unique shelf tags. We've clearly labeled our products using Better Choice and brown shelf tags for organics, and gluten-free icons—so you know your best option at a glance.
Publix Aprons has developed recipes for several different dietary considerations, including gluten-free, lacto-ovo vegetarian, and kosher. Also, recipes designated as Better Choice, Carb-Smart, or Heart-Smart provide simple yet delicious options for your family.
Sources: Burke, Lora E., PhD, Jing Wang, PhDc, and Mary Ann Sevick, ScD, RN. "Self-Monitoring in Weight Loss: A Systematic Review of the Literature." Originally Published: Journal of the American Dietetic Association. Reprinted: National Center for Biotechnology Information, National Institutes of Health (NIH). January 2011. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3268700/.