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Changing Eating Habits One Bite At A Time

01/28/2013 09:34 am ET | Updated Mar 30, 2013
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Small changes in the way you eat will result in big differences over time. Slow and steady not only wins the race, but it is the best way to assure success.

Change is a process, so why would anyone expect overnight success?

Tara Parker-Pope wrote in the NYT Science Times about her decision to go vegan, inspired by former President Clinton's vegan diet. "..if a man with a penchant for fast-food burgers and Southern cooking could go vegan, surely I could too." She bought vegan food and tried to change overnight.

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Tara couldn't, and neither did Bill Clinton. He didn't go from eating greasy hamburgers to vegan meals in one bite. It is too scary and disruptive to our lives to make a huge change at once. What we eat is a reflection of who we are and our family history.

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My parents brought their family food traditions with them from Europe. As a young child I ate lots of fatty foods and canned vegetables. We lived across the street from New York City's Henry Street Settlement House where there were nutrition classes for immigrant families. My mother learned about nutrition and changed how she cooked. Her children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren eat fresh salads and snack on fresh fruits and raw vegetables.

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If good eating habits are important to you, pick a snack or a meal to begin making changes. You are more likely to actualize it if you share your commitment with others or write it down. Then make a plan to be sure you do serve the healthy snack or meal. There are lots of delicious examples in our book, Funny Food.

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It may help to select the day you'll shop for the food. Maybe share your healthy food goal with the family so everyone is onboard. If you have children you may want them to shop with you. Pick a snack or meal that they can help prepare. In the process your family will be developing new nutritious habits. Make new family meal rituals and your children will develop traditions that encourage a healthy lifestyle or generations to come.

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Start easy and gradually increase the number of meals that are healthy. Weight Watchers reports that if you keep track of what you eat 70% of the time, you will lose weight. Improving eating habits doesn't require 100% perfection. To change, just bite off what you can chew.

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