5 Nutrition Tips that Build a Strong Dietary Foundation {Part 2}

November 5, 2013

This post was written by Nutritioulicious blogger Ann Lokuta.

In case you missed it, last Friday I shared my first two nutrition tips for building a strong dietary foundation. The remaining three tips pack a lot of promise in terms of sustainable dietary success. Try incorporating all 5 of these habits into your daily routine to create a strong dietary foundation that you can stand on for a lifetime.

  1. Challenge yourself daily. I used to grab the chip bag, snack on a few, and then put the bag back. Five minutes later I would walk back to the bag with intentions of only one more grab. But then 5 more minutes later I would walk back and grab myself one last heaping handful. Why couldn’t I stop at the first grab? I wasn’t actually hungry; I was just eating out of boredom. So I started giving myself little challenges to practice self-control. Now, if I want some chips, I have them, but on the first grab I promise myself that this will be the only grab. If I get the urge to go for seconds, I reevaluate if I’m actually hungry and if not I tell myself that this is a small challenge that I can overcome and I walk away. Don’t give up on these challenges even when it is difficult at first. Eventually it will get easier to resist mindless snacking and you’ll become more in tune with your body’s actual hunger cues.
  2. Give it two weeks. Remember the first time you tried a sip of coffee? Do you also remember immediately spitting it out? If you’re a coffee drinker like I am, it might be hard to even imagine that your morning cup of joe once tasted like tar. Some studies have suggested that we often confuse “unfamiliar” with “dislike,” but this perception could potentially change if you continue to eat the food. Try this theory out with some veggies that you previously weren’t fond of. Did kale rub you the wrong way the first time you ate it? Try steaming, roasting, or sautéing the greens to see if your feelings change within a week or two.
  1. Brush it off. You may have gone off the bandwagon this week thanks to multiple happy hours, girls or guys nights out, your best friend’s birthday dinner, and the all-you-can-eat Chinese lunch at work. You have to brush it off and move on. Getting down on yourself will only create more stress, which will lead to a cycle of poor eating habits and a deeper hole you feel stuck in. If you’re feeling down and out, do something to clear your mind so you can feel confident that tomorrow will be a healthier day. Take the dog for a walk, lie down and take a few deep breaths, read a book, or ride your bike – find what calms you and do it. Thankfully we get a new chance every day to start fresh and change our habits, so take advantage of it!

Do you have any tips that are key building blocks to your diet success? If so, please share them below!

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  1. Hi Ann,

    Could you share the studies you referred to which suggested that our taste buds may confuse “unfamiliar” with “dislike”? Thanks!

  2. Hi Ivy,

    Thanks for reading! One of the more recent animal studies suggesting this idea was published in Nature Neuroscience (Food experience–induced taste desensitization modulated by the Drosophila TRPL channel).

    In addition, various research has shown that as children it can take us about 10 times to finally “like” a food, even if we seemingly disliked it the first 9 times (based on this same theory of confusing unfamiliar with dislike). An article in the Annals of Nutrition & Metabolism does a good job of going over this idea, as well (Complementary foods and flavor experiences: setting the foundation).

    On a personal note, I’ve found that my perception of a food can sometimes change from the initial try to subsequent exposure. It is definitely a fun theory to test out and (in my opinion) worth it if you can add a healthy food to your “like” list that you wouldn’t have considered before.

    Let me know if you have any other questions!