Assessing and Changing Your Diet

Assessing and Changing Your Diet


Based on your particular nutrition and health status, there probably is an ideal diet for you, but no single type of diet provides optimal health for everyone. Many cultural dietary patterns can meet people’s nutritional requirements (see the box “Ethnic Foods”). Customize your food plan based on your age, gender, weight, activity level, medical risk factors, and personal tastes.

The first step in planning a healthy diet is to examine what you currently eat. Labs 8.1 and 8.2 help you analyze your current diet and compare it with optimal dietary goals. (This analysis can be completed using a nutritional analysis software program or one of several websites.)

To put your plan into action, use the behavioral selfmanagement techniques and tips described in Post 1. If you identify several changes you want to make, focus on one at a time. You might start, for example, by substituting water for sugar-sweetened beverages. When you become used to that, you can try substituting whole-wheat bread for white bread. The information on eating behavior in Lab 8.1 will help you identify and change unhealthy patterns of eating.

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