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Health Matters: Providence Holy Cross Medical Center | 11 Eat to Live 5 simple dietary changes to improve your health A t Providence Holy Cross Medical Center, we know how hard it is to fit good nutrition into an already full life. "With busy schedules and people needing quick meal options, it may be faster to go to a drive-through over stopping at the grocery store and then still going home to start cooking," says Ashleigh Diamond, RD, a diabetes educator at our hospital. But, she says, "there are many affordable, healthy, quick options. It's helpful to think ahead and have a plan. Think about what fast-food options are on the way home and choose smaller portion sizes and grilled items over fried; then add a side of steamed vegetables or salad. At the grocery store, look for precooked chicken or cut-up vegetables." Diamond teaches her patients how to set themselves up for success. "Keep it simple and start with a change that may be easy for you," she says. "Some small changes may be going for a walk after a meal, switching to an unsweetened beverage instead of regular soda or paying attention to regular mealtimes. Focus on consistency and use positive self-talk." HERE ARE A FEW EASY WAYS TO GET STARTED. Prep your meals. Set up your plate and plan your meals before you are hungry. Include high-fiber grains, legumes or starchy vegetables, like sweet potato or beans. Add a lean protein like chicken, fish or lean red meat. Fill most of the plate with colorful vegetables. And include a heart-healthy fat, such as a portion of avocado or a few nuts. Start the day right. Change up your breakfast. Try adding some vegetables and avocado to your eggs to keep you full. Drink your fill. Choose water or sparkling water. For flavor, add lemon, lime, or mint. Limit sweetened drinks. Add some zest. Punch up the flavor with fresh herbs, garlic or lemon. Head to the farmers market for all kinds of fresh produce. Stop and pause. Don't eat until you are too full. Try adding a 5-to-10-minute walk after meals to help lower blood sugar. Call 855-478-5423 to schedule a visit with a registered dietitian. If you have diabetes, our certified diabetes educators can help you with food choices that will keep you well. Ashleigh Diamond

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