Tired of hearing about all of the foods that you “should be” eating, like plain yogurt and whole grain pasta? Thinking there is no way that your family will ever eat brown rice? Some people can jump right in and make food changes easily, but for others, how about meeting half way? With this approach, it is a gradual transition to less familiar items rather than a radical change in food intake.
- Yogurt—mix one container of plain yogurt with a favorite flavored yogurt. Eat half now and save the other half for tomorrow helping get a probiotic in each day and cutting the sugar intake from yogurt in half!
- Whole milk to 2% milk cuts the fat in half as does making further transitions from 2% to 1% and so on.
- Mix unsweetened almond milk with sweetened almond milk.
- If a recipe calls for butter, using a mixture of butter and olive oil works in recipes and still imparts the buttery flavor (exception: baked goods). For most recipes (except baked goods again), the total fat in the recipe can also be reduced by 1/3 without significantly affecting the taste and quality.
- Pasta—mix equal portions of regular pasta and whole grain pasta.
- Rice—cook equal portions of white and brown rice together with a rice cooker; use the ‘mixed’ setting.
- Cereal—try half whole grain (> 3grams fiber/serving), low sugar (<6 grams sugar/serving; this equals 1.5 tsp. sugar) cereal combined with one that may have more sugar and/or lower fiber.
Meeting half way can also be applied to frequency or other amounts too.
- Eating dessert 5 days per week, try 2-3 per week.
- Drinking 3-4 alcohol drinks on a Saturday night, reduce to 2 alcohol drinks.
- French fries with a sandwich or burger? Get fries every other order or share fries.
Taking the half way approach can improve nutrient intake and reduces the feeling of deprivation that can accompany a “strict dieting” approach. These little changes may not seem like much, but they add up over time.
Happy and healthful eating,
Donna G. Pertel, MEd, RD, LDN
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