Change Your Diet with Micro Habits

To change your diet may seem intimidating. Perhaps you know you need to eat better, but you don’t have time to cook. Or maybe you have food sensitivities and crave the foods you react to. It’s possible you believe that the whole idea of planning, shopping, and controlling intake is utterly overwhelming.

No problem! Micro habits are attainable because they are easy, usually something you can do in the next 30 seconds. Not only that, but micro-habits help you change your diet because your motivation to accomplish them is going to be much higher than it would be for something that’s causing you stress. Micro habits fit into your schedule seamlessly. You can remember to accomplish them because you attach them to something you are already doing.

Start with hydration

You probably read that heading and had a nagging feeling of guilt. You know you are supposed to drink more water. It doesn’t taste good, or you forget, or you’re simply addicted to your caffeine. That’s okay! Keep your routine for now and add some micro habits.  Here are six suggestions you can implement immediately to galvanize your ability to change your diet.

  • Drink a glass of lemon water first thing in the morning while your coffee brews. You can even set it out on your nightstand or your kitchen counter the night before, so you don’t forget.
  • Fill several water bottles to carry with you throughout your day. Do this when you feed the dogs/cats/kids in the morning. You can even drop in an herbal tea bag to cold infuse so that your water has some flavor.
  • Supercharge your water glass or water bottle with a sugar-free powdered electrolyte mix, such as Ultima Replenisher or LMNT.
  • Sip from your water bottle every time you enter or exit a building.
  • Grab a drink every time you use the restroom.
  • Request herbal tea or water instead of soda or coffee at restaurant and convenience stores.

Change your beverages before your change your diet

I believe that before the industrial age, people mostly drank water, except for a morning coffee or an afternoon tea. To the detriment of our health, many of us now only drink soda, or rely on multiple cups – or even pots – of coffee to keep going throughout the day. Then we need a nightcap in order to calm down at night. Micro-habits to the rescue! You can frontload your diet changes by taking tiny steps that keep the ritual but change the nutrition of your beverages.

Downregulate your coffee intake with any of these swaps:

  • Swiss water process de-caffeinated coffee. Also called the Water-Only process, this method uses water no chemicals to remove the caffeine from coffee beans. As a result, you don’t get harmful chemical residues for your body to detoxify, and the product tastes better.
  • Organic matcha. Much less caffeinated that straight coffee, a matcha latte with milk, stevia, vanilla & cinnamon might be satisfying to you in the morning.
  • Green tea. Served with honey, this serves as an afternoon pick-me-up that contains a small amount of caffeine along with l-theanine to increase focus and calm your nervous system.
  • Sip a coffee alternative. Many brands have been developed to support the coffee habit without the caffeine. A few of these are Dandy Blend, MUD/WTR, Rasa, Four Sigmatic, and Harmonic Arts Elixirs.

You can wean yourself from soda by switching to Zevia first. Later, you can try kombucha or mineral water before graduating to plain water.

To reduce your alcohol intake, search the internet for mocktail recipes to enjoy, or try virgin Wilderton, distilled from botanicals and 100% alcohol free.

Change your dietary habits with substitutions

Unfortunately, many of us want results yesterday. So, we try to make big changes all at once. When we don’t implement them perfectly, we get frustrated, lose our motivation and give up.

The beauty of a micro habit is that it allows you to make a small movement that doesn’t disrupt your rhythm. Soon, you are able to take on even more healthy changes to your diet. Like the tortoise who beat the hare, you reach your goal by slow and steady progress rather than intermittent spurts.

Below are some trades you can make to increase the nutrient density of your food.

  • Olive oil or coconut oil for vegetable oil (canola, corn, soy, safflower, cottonseed).
  • Rutabaga for potato (try it mashed or air-fried).
  • Cassava crackers for potato chips
  • Organ-based seaasoning for table salt
  • Zoodles (zucchini spirals) or Miracle Noodles for pasta
  • Grilled chicken for fried chicken

Additionally, you can boost your meals by slipping in extra protein, natural fat, or vegetables. Sneak in some of these:

  • Avocado, coconut milk, or flax seeds in your smoothie
  • Collagen in your yogurt, juice, oatmeal, salad dressing, or tea
  • Bits of frozen spinach or kale in your soup, marinara, pizza, scrambled egg, or rice
  • Simple sauces on your vegetables to make them taste better.

If you like the idea of micro habits, check out my post on Tiny Steps to Decrease Your Stress. To learn more about small changes guaranteed to improve your lifestyle, read Tiny Habits by BJ Fogg.