When it comes to healthy diet goals, have you ever told yourself that you can’t eat certain things, such as sugar, or that you “shouldn’t be eating that much”? Are you trying to “save” calories, or are you aiming to lose weight? If neither of those is working, it could be that you are setting yourself up for failure from the very beginning.
Failing at healthy diet goals does not mean there is anything wrong with you or that you are incapable. It simply means you haven’t learned the smart way to set healthy diet goals for yourself. Keep reading to learn more about how the SMART system can help you change your poor diet choices into healthier ones.
The SMART Way to Good Diet Goals
If you have done any amount of research on goal setting, you’ve likely come across a goal setting system known as SMART, which stands for:
- Specific – Be clear about what you are trying to achieve.
- Measurable: Every goal should be measurable.
- Attainable – Reaching the goal is up to you rather than someone else.
- Realistic: You want to lose weight, but you can’t really lose 20 pounds in two weeks.
- Time Bound – Goals should have an end date.
SMART goals are huge in the corporate world, but you may be wondering how you can apply the system to your eating habits. Let’s dig in.
Adding More Vegetables to Your Diet
Eating more vegetables is an excellent place to start with your diet goals. Make your goal to eat more vegetables “SMARTer” by telling yourself “I will try one new recipe that includes a leafy green vegetable this week.” This goal has all the hallmarks of a smart goal. It’s specific, measurable, and you can do it without anybody’s help. It’s also realistic and set over a week.
Another SMART goal you could start with is “every day this month I will eat a balanced breakfast of whole grains, proteins, fruits, and nuts, (try oatmeal garnished with fruits and nuts).”
Eat Healthier Lunches at Work
We’re all in a rush, with family life and work often getting in the way of good eating habits. It’s super convenient to head to the bakery or donut cart for your morning coffee break, but these are terrible dietary choices you can easily reduce using the SMART principle.
You could write down a goal that says, “I will pack healthy lunches and snacks for three days this week, instead of buying takeaway.” Not only will you ramp up your nutritional intake, you will also save some money.
Add More Seafood to Your Diet Goals
Seafood is rich in minerals, omega-3 fatty acids for healthy hearts, and proteins. Barring the issues with mercury intake, most of us could do with a little more seafood in our diets. The recommended intake for a variety of seafood for an adult is about 8 ounces a week. So, your SMART goal for seafood could be “Every week for a month, I will include at least one meal with seafood.”
Reduce Your Sugar Intake
The traditional soda or energy drink will explode your calorie count for the day and is one of the first places to start reducing your daily sugar intake. Use SMART to quickly reduce your sugar intake by a significant amount by telling yourself: “For five days this week, I will replace my soda drink with water.” Adding some lime or lemon slices to your water will add some flavor if plain water is too much of a shock.
While SMART diet goals may seem like temporary, short-lived changes, it’s all about developing new habits. When you set SMART goals every week for a month, your new habits slowly become ingrained in your routine and become a natural part of your day. The more you practice them, the easier it will be to stay on the path to good health.
Set aside one day of the week when you decide on your SMART goals for the week. Write them down and put them somewhere they will be a constant reminder. The above tips are just a few ideas to get you started with setting healthy diet goals. However, you can use SMART goals to change any of your unhealthy eating habits, such as reducing your unhealthy fat intake, choosing healthy snacks instead of chocolate and chips, and eating more fruit.