Registered dietitian nutritionists dish on their top tips for leading a healthy lifestyle.
Listed below are 20 tips from some of the top registered dietitian nutritionists in the field to help guide you to lead your healthiest life yet. Rest assured, if you pick one, two or all 20 of these to follow, you’ll be feeling great by the end of the month. Buh-bye diets, hello lifestyle!
Enjoy the experience.
The word “diet” comes from the Greek word “diaita,” meaning “a way of life.” It’s not just about the food you eat but rather about sharing it with friends and family and taking time to stop and enjoy the experience.
Joan W. Rupp, MS, RDN
Save room for two more bites.
Practicing this simple habit has two great benefits: It’s a completely painless way to save calories from the extra food you’re not eating, which can lead to slow, steady weight loss over time. It also teaches you to pay more attention and listen to your body, which is one of the best ways to stay healthy and feel your best long term!
Amber Ketchum, MDS, RDN
Start with breakfast.
Every morning, I start my day by fueling my body with nutrients it needs to stay healthy. (That’s called breakfast!) My favorites are an egg over easy on whole-grain toast with sliced tomato and Greek yogurt with berries. It helps me stay focused in the morning on getting my kids to school and start my workday off on the right foot.
It may sound completely absurd, but try brushing your teeth with your opposite hand. Doing so will force you to think with a different part of your brain, helping to foster creative thinking. Within days, you’ll notice a cascade of new ideas that may just have you trying tofu next week, kickboxing next month or a half marathon by the end of the year!
Elizabeth Shaw, MS, RDN, CLT, nutrition communications consultant – Shaw’s Simple Swaps
Every food (and beverage) can fit in a healthy diet. There’s no need to deny yourself of things you enjoy!
Bonnie Johnson, MS, RDN, vice president of Scientific Affairs at The a2 Milk Company
Be a fiber fanatic.
Eating more fiber allows you to feel more satisfied while stabilizing blood-sugar levels, helping to fight off hunger and cravings. Diets high in fiber have been linked back to lower bodyweight, decreased disease risk and improved longevity. Aim for a minimum of 25 grams per day.
Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, author of Belly Fat Diet for Dummies and blogger at MommyhoodBytes.com
Include more Peruvian superfoods.
Foods like maca powder, pichuberries and Starseed Sacha Inchi seeds are loaded with nutrients and a great addition to smoothies to boost your workout.
Manuel Villacorta, MS, RD, author and founder of Whole Body Reboot
Increase your energy, naturally.
I know that sounds simple, but I read recently that only 6 percent of Americans get the recommended five to six servings of vegetables daily. Make it a goal to add at least one more vegetable into your day and just watch your energy levels soar.
Abigail Joy Dougherty, RDN, LDN, nutrition consultant, The Soul of Health Nutrition
Focus on self-care.
Every day, wake up and think, “What is one thing I can do today for ME that would make this day the BEST day ever.”
Sarah Koszyk, MA, RDN, author of 365 Snacks for Every Day of the Year
When you do things you enjoy, be it a run, mediation or other hobby, you become happier, which helps you make healthier choices throughout the day.
Sara Haas, culinary dietitian, agrees.
Take a TEA break.
This not only helps keep you centered but also helps keep you hydrated. Up to 60 percent of your body is made of water, and it’s important to replenish that supply throughout the day to keep your energy up!
Amy Gorin, MS, RDN, owner of Amy Gorin Nutrition
Try new foods.
So many illnesses and health-related problems could be avoided if we just ate more produce. Replace one thing that you would normally eat with a new fruit or a vegetable. Not only does this keep healthy eating interesting, but you also may end up trying something that you didn’t know you liked.
Natalie Rizzo, MS, RD, of Nutrition à la Natalie
Get enough sleep.
Make a special effort to get enough sleep and to sleep well on a regular basis. Sleep impacts energy levels, ability to make good decisions and to put your best face forward — all of which can impact self-confidence and more.
Marisa Moore, RDN, owner of Marisa Moore Nutrition
Make a “me” list.
What makes you happy? Running, grocery shopping solo, hot coffee with a friend, etc. Find a way to do at least three things on that list every week. It makes me feel like I can still have a bit of me when everyone else in my life seems to need 100 percent of me, too.
Katie Serbinski, MS, RD, founder of Mom to Mom Nutrition LLC
Eat foods you enjoy.
Instead of worrying about what you “should” or “shouldn’t” eat, choose foods you find satisfying. Deprivation, both physical from not eating enough and psychological from restricting foods or food groups, leads to overeating, binging and usually eating more of the foods you’re trying to restrict.
Rachael Hartley, RD, private practice dietitian at Avocado a Day Nutrition
Jazz up your meals.
Add some pizazz to your food (and life) by adding herbs, spices and citrus zest to your meals, snacks and smoothies. They not only instantly transform even the most mundane food, but they also dampen inflammation and prevent free-radical damage.
Kendra Tolbert MS, RDN, CLC, women’s wellness nutritionist at Live Fertile
Know your limits.
The healthiest version of ourselves lies somewhere between giving ourselves grace while still having challenging goals. A good place to start is by being honest with yourself about what works for you and what doesn’t.
Shannon A. Garcia, MDS, RD, LD, CLC, KISS in the Kitchen
Connect with YOU.
We cannot be our best physically if we are not feeling our best mentally and emotionally, as well. Taking time to connect with what makes you happiest in life and taking time to evaluate and remove the things that are making you unhappy opexn up the doors to allow you to take better care of yourself in a holistic and compassionate way.
Emily Kyle, MS, RDN, founder of The School of Health & Happiness
Eat more plants.
If you just make one major change in your diet for optimal health and weight management, switch the emphasis of your food choices to mostly whole plant foods, such as whole grains, beans, lentils, fruits, vegetables, nuts and seeds in their whole form. By making this major change, you will increase your fiber, vitamin, mineral, phytochemical and healthy fat intake, which helps defend the body from disease.
Sharon Palmer, RDN, The Plant-Powered Dietitian, author of Plant-Powered for Life
Eat good mood food.
Rather than focusing on weight, I focus on happiness! I always strive to eat for a good mood since food and mood go hand in hand. Science shows us that eating fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, eggs, fish, legumes, whole grains, foods with probiotics, tea and even dark chocolate all play roles in brain health and good mood. Eating for health AND happiness is a win-win!
Set boundaries and stick to them.
I find that most people know they “should” incorporate more self-care, but their lives are moving so fast that it’s challenging to slow down. Carve out an hour of alone time to make two lists: things in your life that give you energy and are life-giving and things in your life that drain you. Figure out which draining activities you have control over and start making an action plan of how you will reduce time spent on these activities — set boundaries, say NO.
Lindsay Stenovec, MS, RD, CEDRD, owner and founder of the TheNurturedMama.Club