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Simple Nutrition Changes for Long-Term Wellness: 5 Habits to Implement Today

Creating sustainable, health-promoting nutrition behaviors is foundational for overall wellbeing. However, most adults struggle translating nutrition knowledge into lasting dietary habits. Ironically, as busy women, implementing simple, sustainable nutrition habits provides the energy, focus, and resilience needed to achieve our nutrition goals.

Studies show that implementing small, incremental changes is an evidence-based strategy to eventually develop self-directed, automated nutritious behaviors. Layering these small, research-backed habits into your lifestyle primes your brain and body for long-term wellness without stress or restriction. Once habits become automatic, you can build upon them. Over time, these healthy behaviors compound, eventually feeling effortless while supporting wellbeing.

Below are 5 Simple Habits to Start Elevating Your Nutrition Routine.

Add a Fruit or Vegetable to Every Meal: Start by making a conscious effort to include at least one serving of a fruit or vegetable with each breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This could be as easy as slicing up an apple or banana to have with breakfast, adding a simple side salad to a main meal, or roasting some vegetables to add to your dinner.

Fruits and vegetables are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants that support immune function, heart health, digestion, and disease prevention. At first, you may have to actively remember this step, by writing a reminder to yourself on your fridge or phone, but over time it will become an automatic part of your meal planning and prep. Before long, you'll find that adding produce to meals feels natural and you'll notice the extra nutritional benefits. Sticking to this habit is a simple, sustainable way to upgrade your diet using nutrition by addition.

Drink 1 Glass of Water Upon Waking: As soon as you wake up, before reaching for coffee, juice, or anything else - including your phone - drink a full 8-ounce glass of water. In the morning, our body requires water after sleep to rehydrate, jumpstart the metabolism, and aid in digestion and elimination. Drinking water first thing also curbs morning hunger, making you less likely to overeat or make less healthy choices for breakfast.

At first, remembering to do this every single morning may require a physical signal, such as leaving a glass of water by the bedside before going to sleep or a post-it note on your bathroom mirror. Instead of immediately checking your devices, make reaching for that initial glass of water the first thing you do upon waking. Maintaining this simple habit helps you stay consistently hydrated, which is essential for energy, cognitive function, and skin health.

Take Intentional Breaks: It can be all-too-easy to reach the end of the workday and realize you haven't stopped looking at your laptop or gotten up from your seat. In our hustle culture, it's become normalized to stare at a screen all day, only to stare at a smaller screen (our phones) after work.

Our brains and bodies need periodic breaks; that is, we can only expect to be so productive without any movement or hydration. Making a conscious effort to pause for even 5-10 minutes every couple of hours can significantly increase both your physical and mental health.

Set a timer to remind yourself to get up from your chair, take a short walk, do some light stretching, and drink at least a full cup of water. This small habit of intentional breaks will help prevent muscle tension, improve circulation, boost energy levels, and keep you hydrated throughout the day. Over time, these frequent water and movement breaks can evolve into a healthier lifestyle of regularly incorporating exercise and proper hydration into your workday routine.

Park Further Away: We've all been there - circling the parking lot in search of the closest spot to the entrance. However, making a habit of parking a bit further away can be a simple and effective way to increase your daily step count and contribute to an active lifestyle. Those extra steps from the car to your destination may seem small, but they can really add up over the course of the day. By parking just a bit farther, you can sneak in more physical activity without significantly altering your existing routine.

Stop Scrolling 30 Minutes Before Sleep: In our always-connected digital world, it’s easy to mindlessly scroll through social media or respond to messages right up until bedtime. However, research shows that this late-night screen time can have negative impacts on our sleep, nutrition, and health.

Spending at least 30 minutes being phone-free before your target bedtime can have major benefits for both your nutrition and mental health. When you step away from the blue light emitted by screens, your brain is better able to wind down and prepare for sleep. This helps regulate your natural circadian rhythms, allowing your body to naturally produce melatonin at the right times and leading to consistent, quality sleep.

Studies show that sleep deprivation can disrupt the balance of key hunger hormones like leptin and ghrelin. This hormonal imbalance can lead to increased feelings of hunger, cravings for calorie-dense comfort foods, and overeating. In contrast, getting enough sleep helps keep these hunger signals in check, making it easier to make nutritious food choices.

Instead, replace your phone time with something calming - like reading, journaling, or meditating - to help your body and brain wind down into better sleep.

We often think overhauling our entire lifestyle is necessary for better health, but the reality is that small, realistic, and compounding habits are the pathway to sustainable overall wellness. In fact, dramatic dietary overhauls can actually lead to burnout and a sense of deprivation that undermines long-term success.

As you experience the compounding benefits of these habits - whether physical, mental, and / or emotional, embracing even more positive changes for your overall wellbeing will become a natural and motivating next step.

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