Four habits that can lead to a healthier you

If you’re looking to make small changes that will lead to a healthier you, we'll get you started with four tips you can incorporate into your routine today. Continue reading to learn more from Kara Maloney, MS, RD, CDE, and Lisa-Beth Doyle, MS, RD, LDN at Mass General Brigham Health Plan.

Ideally, a healthy diet prioritizes whole foods while limiting processed foods. Another tip is to ensure there isn’t a lot of added salt or sugar in the food you're buying, especially with frozen fruits or vegetables. Beyond grocery shopping, here are four small changes to bring into your diet that can lead to a healthier you:

  1. Eat more plants: Research continues to find that people who eat more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains have better health. Instead of worrying about what you shouldn’t eat, focus on what you can add to your diet! Work up to filling at least half your plate with vegetables and enjoy some fruit with your breakfast or for dessert. Try this black bean salad recipe or learn more about adding flavor by roasting vegetables if you need inspiration.
  2. Include healthy fat in your diet: People often think they need to avoid fats for good health, but that is a misconception. We need some healthy fats in our diet for optimal health; specifically, monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. These can be found in olive oil, avocado oil, sunflower seed oil—and can help reduce inflammation and lower LDL (bad) cholesterol. Cook with olive oil for low-medium heat cooking, or try avocado or sunflower seed oil for higher heat cooking. Add nuts and seeds to salads or simply have a small handful for a satisfying snack.
  3. Cook more meals at home: People who prepare and eat most meals at home tend to consume fewer calories and less sodium than those who eat most meals from restaurants. Try increasing your home-cooked meals by once a week. Set yourself up for success by selecting a recipe and purchasing what you’ll need to prepare it ahead of time. For more helpful information on meal planning and preparation, check out this guide from the Harvard School of Public Health.  
  4. Practice mindful eating: Many of us multitask, but eating is a time to put other things aside. Focusing your attention only on your meal and others at the table will help you enjoy your food more. A bonus is that you’ll be more in tune with your body’s natural fullness cues which means you’ll likely eat less. Sit down at the table to eat and leave distractions such as television, books, and work aside.

For members, we also offer Healthier You, a 1-year program that offers personalized health coaching via phone and text. We designed this program to support individuals that are looking to lose weight, eat more healthfully, increase physical activity, and reduce the risk of conditions such as diabetes and heart disease. 

To register, members can email or contact Health Coach Lisa Perea by phone at 617-282-3149.

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