Small steps lead to big changes

Enjoy this post from Erin Norton, director of community outreach, Parkview Women’s & Children’s Hospital.

A healthy diet, packed with fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean meats, is important for overall health, but not everyone regularly follows this recommendation. For many women, pregnancy provides motivation to make healthy changes to their diet. When a baby is on the way, these changes not only improve the woman’s health, but can improve pregnancy outcomes, too.

Seeing that positive pregnancy test can also feel overwhelming, regardless of whether or not it was planned. Thinking about the future and how a baby will impact the family can be stressful. Pregnancy can also bring about physical issues, such as nausea and vomiting, that make eating at all, much less trying to eat healthier, more difficult.

At the very time a woman wants to make healthy changes, it feels especially daunting. So what is she to do? 

Start with one thing. Make it something you can do today.

  • Drink a glass of water instead of a sugary beverage.
  • Order a side salad instead of fries.
  • Eat a food high in folic acid, like broccoli, cereal or beans.
  • Keep a bag of nuts or other healthy snack in your bag for when you’re tempted to hit the vending machine.
  • Choose a fun-size candy bar instead of the full-size candy bar you really wanted.
  • Bake the chicken instead of frying it.
  • Skip adding extra salt.
  • Read the nutrition information on the back of the box.
  • Eat a piece of fruit instead of cake or cookies for dessert.
  • Remember to take a prenatal vitamin.
  • Skip the caffeine.
  • Make a meal plan for the week.
  • Take a moment to see if you’re really eating the recommended portion size.
  • Pack your lunch instead of eating fast food.

Sometimes women focus on all the things they’re doing “wrong” instead of all the things they’re doing right. When this happens, it is easy to become frustrated and be tempted to quit altogether. Making one healthy change today and another tomorrow and another the day after that builds momentum. Incremental improvements add up to big change!   

 

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