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3 Steps to Changing Old Eating Habits


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Swap old habits for new ones! This guide provides a concrete plan for developing a new eating habit that’s both satisfying and long-lasting.

Most of us aren’t all-or-nothing when it comes to our eating habits. We all have behaviors we’re proud of (“Veggies every day!” or “healthy fats in the kitchen!”) and ones we wish we could change (“Too much deli meat” or “that afternoon cookie habit…”)

What ALL these habits have in common is that they serve us in some way: physically, mentally, and emotionally. When we decide to change our eating habits, it’s important to honor the valid needs behind our old ways!

That means acknowledging the various needs that our food fulfills for us, and making sure the new habits we choose meet those needs.

Here are three steps you can follow that build healthy eating habits to last. So you can keep up with the habits that matter to you and still feel fulfilled in body and mind.

Step 1: Identify Your Main Priority

Ask yourself, “What is the MOST important change I want to make?”

Maybe you want to eat a fruit or veggie with every meal. Or start reaching for healthier snacks between meals. Maybe you want to eat more plant-based proteins like beans and nuts. Or make time for a sit-down family dinner five nights a week.

Whatever you choose, narrow your priority down to one single, concrete, and measurable goal.

Step 2: Identify How the Old Habit Served You

Maybe you chose to eat sugary granola bars in the morning because it was a convenient food you could grab on your way out the door. Or you skipped out on simple steamed veggies with dinner because you don’t love the taste of steamed veggies.

Needing convenience, and good tasting food are valid goals! So are eating a healthy breakfast and having veggies with dinner every night. Let’s find a way you can meet all your needs.

Step 3: Ensure Your New Habit Meets Your Needs

Make a plan for turning your new habit into a daily practice, with a mind toward fulfilling you present AND future needs.

Meal planning is your best ally when it comes to making your new eating habit work. Take the time to evaluate your week. Plan a menu that is realistic to your upcoming schedule. Then stock up at the grocery store.

Having a plan–or not–can mark the difference between a delicious and nourishing dinner and a last-minute shortcut that doesn’t satisfy your nutritional needs OR your taste buds.

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Natalie Monson

I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.

Learn More about Natalie

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I like how you point out about a concrete, measurable step. When you discover what is sabotaging your health, you have to figure out a certain step to take to not continue on in that particular habit. Otherwise, a bad habit will continue to repeat itself. It takes a conscious decision to change. It takes thought and decision on replacing a bad habit with a good one.

Thank you very much for these amazing tips. Really changing habits is the best and healthy way to stay healthy.

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