diettweaksEven the best diets can use a little bit of improvement. But the more improvement your diet needs, the more intimidating it can be to think of making changes. Don’t let yourself become so overwhelmed by the thought of overhauling your eating plan that it delays you from making positive changes. The reality is that even small tweaks can have a big impact.

Eat Breakfast

Many people skip breakfast, especially women. Busy mornings make it tempting to save a few extra minutes, and women may choose to skip breakfast in an effort to save calories, especially if they don’t usually feel hungry in the morning. However, this is one instance where a small change makes a big difference in your overall health. Researchers discovered that skipping breakfast increases the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly for women. Worried breakfast will wreck your calorie goals? Options that are high in protein and low in calories and fat, like egg whites or Greek yogurt, are a great choice.

Prevent Bad Snack Choices

We all know that feeling of being “hangry” – both hungry and angry – when we’ve let our blood sugar get too low. Unfortunately, these are exactly the moments when it’s most likely to make a destructive diet choice, like hitting the vending machine or a drive-through window. Predict that you’re going to need emergency snacks sometimes and keep some good choices in your purse or desk at work. Things like 100-calorie packs of almonds will give you some protein, while apples keep for a long time and will provide some natural sugar along with fiber to keep your insulin levels from going on a rollercoaster ride.

Add Instead of Subtract

Most diet changes focus on all the bad foods you need to remove from your diet. One reason that many diets fail, though, is that it’s hard to maintain willpower indefinitely, and eventually you’re likely to miss certain foods that you’ve sworn off forever. Instead of vowing to never eat potato chips again, try making a healthy choice like vowing to increase your vegetable intake by two servings every day. Small steps like that are much more likely to stick.

Drink More Water

One of the most important changes you can make to improve your diet and overall health is to drink more water. Drinking more water improves your skin, appearance, immune system and can even lead to some weight loss in itself. Many people find it difficult to drink more water, but one relatively simple way to achieve this is to give up the sugary beverages you’re currently drinking, which the American Diabetes Association has linked with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Just Say No

Most societies use food as a way to bond. Whether it’s the special dessert a colleague at work made just for you or a piece of birthday cake you really don’t want, there are many occasions where social cues make you feel pressured to eat. But it really is okay to say no. Passing up these extra little treats can save you several hundred calories a day. When your birthday rolls around, ask your office mates to bring a fruit or veggie tray instead of cake. Having lunch with friends? Order water with lemon in it rather than soda, and choose a small salad instead of the bacon cheeseburger.

Making positive changes to your diet doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Small little tweaks can add up to big results, and the best news is that those changes are easier to maintain.