With the COVID-19 pandemic skewing everyone's routine, it's been a tough couple of years to stay healthy. But 2022 is a great time to reclaim your rhythm.
Whether you’re striving for a healthy weight or just eating for wellness, try a technique called habit stacking to help you tap out a healthier daily regimen.
What’s habit stacking anyway?
We’re glad you asked! Habit stacking involves anchoring tiny, new, positive steps to other parts of your current routine. It's like flossing before you brush your teeth or stretching before you exercise. With a little thought, you can make certain habits happen together.
Start by thinking of simple ways to eat more healthfully. You might:
- Add more vegetables and fruit to your plate.
- Slash the sodium in your diet.
- Whip up healthier versions of favorite recipes.
- Avoid or reduce sugar in what you drink.
Next, ask yourself what small steps you can take to work toward these goals. And how can you tie those small steps to things you already do?
Remember that you can build stacks of several new habits tied to one current habit. Check out our list of ideas.
|When you …||Try this …|
|Check your email or texts||Before you start, watch a short video on how to cut, slice, dice or cook a healthful food.|
|Heat water for coffee or tea||Wash and prepare a vegetable or fruit for snacking later.|
|Get antsy stuck in line||Use your phone to look up a healthier recipe for one of your favorite dishes. Then, start shopping lists for bookmarked recipes.|
|Microwave a meal, side dish or snack||Prepare a pitcher of infused water to replace sugary beverages for you and your family.|
|Unload the dishwasher||Mentally divide a dinner plate in half and decide what fruits and veggies you have for your next lunch or dinner that could fill half the plate. Later, envision what healthy foods will fill other dishes.|
|Open a can, bottle, box or other food package||Read the nutrition label. Note how many servings the item contains, whether there are added sugars and how much of the day's recommended sodium is in one serving. Start a list tracking your sodium intake from packaged foods.|
|Finish using your phone or computer for the evening||Bookmark an online reference on healthy eating. A few ideas: Healthy substitutions, serving sizes or making your own condiments.|