If You Did Just One Thing to Improve Your Diet

By Jenna A. Bell, PhD, RD

When you think about all the healthy changes you’d like to make to your diet, it may seem overwhelming. So overwhelming that you may consider avoiding a change all together. To give you some help, Pollock Communications surveyed the nutrition experts – Registered Dietitians – in their annual Nutrition Trends Survey for 2013. Pollock asked dietitians what behavior change would have the biggest impact on improving the American diet. The top answer may not be a surprise to you…but the options that tied for number two may be enlightening.

Eat More…

In the survey of 200 dietitians, “eat more fruits and vegetables” was the top response to the questions: what behavior change would have the biggest impact. We all know this is true. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans encourages us to increase our fruit and vegetable intake and MyPlate says to fill half your plate with fruits and veggies. For more ideas to improve your intake and make this behavior change, visit: www.ChooseMyPlate.gov or Fruits and Veggies – More Matters: http://www.fruitsandveggiesmorematters.org/.

Less is More

While “eat more fruits and vegetables” was a clear winner with 58.5% recommending it as number one, there was a tied for second place: “reduce added sugars” (18%) and “Maintain current diet but eat less of everything” (17.6%). These scored far above “eat less fat” and “eat less saturated and trans fat”. Based on these dietitian insights, we need to choose more of the good stuff (fruits and veggies) but watch our intake of unnecessary calories from added sugars and overall, we are eating too much of everything.

Manageable Changes

So when you contemplate making changes to your diet for your health’s sake, consider these simple changes: add a fruit and vegetable to every meal or snack and eat less of your usual servings.

Avoiding added sugar can be a little more challenging. Try this low stress modification: avoid regular soft drinks – they are the main source of added sugars in the diet.

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