We are one week into the New Year and those trying to keep their New Year’s resolution to live healthier may need some help.

Click to hear KMZU’s Brad Hartman talk with MU Extension Nutritionist Glenda Kinder:

Glenda Kinder

Press Release from the University of Missouri Extension

“The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones,” is an often quoted Chinese proverb.  This strategy can work for you anytime you face a difficult challenge.  When making changes to our lifestyle it can be especially helpful to keep this in mind.  Glenda Kinder, Nutrition and Health Education Specialist, said “if you’re trying to make changes in the way you eat, making small, gradual changes that are realistic for you to implement and maintain over the long term is your best strategy.  If you make sweeping, restricting changes and you feel deprived, it is unlikely that you will stick with those new habits over time.”
And it’s important to note that small changes can have a big impact if they are consistently maintained.  Here are some examples of 9 small diet changes which experts believe can have biggest results over time.
  1. Practice portion control.  Cutting back a little at a time will be the easiest to do.  The MyPlate model of ½ of the plate colorful fruits and vegetables, ¼ of the plate grain, ¼ of the plate – lean protein, and one small dairy serving is a good tool for controlling portions at each meal.
  2. Slip more vegetables into your diet.  Researchers report that we only eat on average 59% of the amount of vegetables recommended in a healthy diet.  Aim for at least 2 cups per day.  Make it easy on yourself by adding veggies to the foods you already eat.  Add onion, lettuce, sliced mushrooms, bell peppers and other veggies to sandwiches.  Toss veggies into pasta salad.  Replace some lasagna noodles with very thin-sliced zucchini.  Double your usual vegetable serving at dinner.
  3. Be mindful as you eat.  Try limiting distractions while you eat, avoid multitasking during mealtimes, enjoy conversation or music with your meals, focus on the taste, textures of your food, and eat slower.  You’ll enjoy the experience more.
  4. Use caution with snacks.  Adults now consume about 500 snack calories per day – up from only 200 calories daily in the 70s.  Snack only when hungry and shoot for one that provides only 100 to 200 calories and is a good source of both carbohydrates and protein.
  5. Leave 10% of each meal on your plate.  Since 1970, our calorie intakes have crept up by more than 20%.  It only takes 100 additional calories per day to result in 10 pounds of extra weight per year.  Cutting back that small amount consistently can also lead to pounds loss.
  6. Try an oil pump mister.  While plant oils, like extra virgin olive oil, contain healthy fats and bioactive compounds, a little can go a long way.  An oil pump mister can save lots of calories when cooking or dressing a salad.
  7. Swap some of your meat for mushrooms.  This is a way to add vegetables as well as saving calories.  Chopped mushrooms can be used as a substitute for ground meat in all kinds of recipes.  Seasoned and grilled Portabella mushrooms can also be used as the burger in your sandwich .
  8. Eat only while sitting.  By making a habit of only eating when you are sitting you can potentially reduce snacking or eating when you’re not hungry.
  9. Swap butter for ripe avocado.  Avocados are rich in heart healthy monounsaturated fat and other healthful nutrients.  When swapped for butter or mayonnaise you can save 75 calories per Tablespoon.