Intermountain Healthcare

Experts Suggest Eating Right, Bite by Bite, to Improve Health in New Year


Salt Lake City, UT -- (ReleaseWire) -- 12/30/2020 --The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on individuals habits – including how many of people eat. Intermountain Healthcare experts are offering some easy steps to get back on track — or begin a new path toward a healthier lifestyle — by eating right, bite by bite, in the new year.

"Small changes make a big difference," said Julie Opp, Intermountain Healthcare registered dietitian nutritionist. "Long-term changes in eating lifestyles are key to improving health and wellbeing. But making big changes all at once can be difficult, and reduce your chances of success."

Opp suggests making a small change in your diet that will work for you, such as cutting back on added sugar, or choosing to drink water instead of juice or soda. "Small changes are easier to turn into habits, and will put you on the path to reach your health goals, be it weight loss, preventing diabetes or reducing cholesterol. Mastering small changes also will give you a boost of confidence and the opportunity to feel success, one small, long-lasting step at a time."

A few small changes that you can easily implemented include:

Savor each bite. Be mindful when you're eating. Notice how your food looks and smells. Take a bite, then set your utensils down. Chew your food well, savor the flavor and texture, and be sure to swallow the first bite before taking the next one. This will not only make your food more enjoyable, but help you eat more slowly and possibly eat less.

Biologically, it takes 20 minutes from the time you start eating for your brain to realize whether you're full. Slowing down while eating can help you avoid the uncomfortable full feeling after meals. Including in your meals a source of protein such as fish, chicken or turkey, or beans, and foods high in fiber and water content, such as raw fruits and vegetables, also will satisfy you and help you feel full longer.

Experiment with new foods, textures and flavors. Try jicama, often called a Mexican potato, as a snack or in a salad or stir-fry. Or consider bok choy, kohlrabi, or watermelon radish for new veggies, or even tofu or edamame as a new protein. New foods can be intimidating if you've never purchased or prepared them at home. If this is the case, look for shortcuts to enjoying these foods, like pre-cut fruits or vegetables, or pre-seasoned tofu, available in most grocery stores.

One food that may be new to some people is tofu, but many people have no idea what to do with it. Opp offers these suggestions:

Add silken tofu to smoothies. It has no flavor of its own, yet will add a silky creaminess to your smoothie.

Use firm or extra-firm tofu in place of meat in a stir-fry. Press excess water out of the tofu by setting a heavy item on the package. Cut into strips or cubes, and marinate as desired. Tofu will take on the flavors it is cooked in, so you can use your favorite marinade and enjoy that flavor in the finished product.

"Long-term changes in eating lifestyles are key to improving health and wellbeing," said Opp. "The new year is an excellent time to re-access and put yourself on a new path. Just take it one step - or bite - at time."

About Intermountain Healthcare
Intermountain Healthcare is a not-for-profit system of 24 hospitals, 215 clinics, a Medical Group with 2,500 employed physicians and advanced practice clinicians, a health insurance company called SelectHealth, and other health services in Idaho, Utah, and Nevada. Intermountain is widely recognized as a leader in transforming healthcare by using evidence-based best practices to consistently deliver high-quality outcomes and sustainable costs. For more information, see Intermountain Healthcare or the Intermountain Healthcare Blog.