How To Stay On Track With Healthy Habits

By Melinda Maryniuk

Here are six strategies that may be helpful as we try to stay on track with healthy habits and prioritize good self-care.

1. Start each day on the right foot. Find a routine that works for you to help you start the day on a positive note. Set an intention. Write in a journal or just whisper to yourself what you are going to focus on for the day. Aim to do “two good things” each day – something you’ll do for yourself, and something extra you’ll do for a friend or neighbor. Keep your goals small and realistic – and then check in with yourself at the end of the day.

2. Make the best choice the easy choice. This may be the perfect time to reorganize your cupboards and freezer. Move items around so the best, healthiest choices are the first ones you’ll see when you open the door. Put the baby carrots in an easy to reach bowl for snacking. Keep grapes or blueberries at the front of the freezer for a quick cold-bite sweet snack. Put your sneakers at the front door so they are ready to go. This is also the time to try to avoid buying foods that you know are particularly tempting for you. Try to avoid using that willpower muscle if you can…

3. Try something new. Be flexible. It may be hard to find what you’re used to buying in the grocery store. If the supply of fresh fruits and veggies is limited, check the canned and frozen aisles for lower carb choices such as green beans, asparagus, tomatoes, cauliflower, and berries. Try some new protein options such as canned salmon, frozen tilapia, or vegetarian options such as tofu, and white beans. Make a new recipe. We’ve shared two great ones below that can be made with food that doesn’t perish easily. Share ideas with friends (and your Facebook community!)

4. Keep moving. Exercise is just as important as ever, if not more so! Too much screen time (Zoom meetings or binging on Netflix) is contributing to our moving less. Plan time to move in the morning and set your alarm to remind you to get up and go. This may be a great time to try something new in the privacy of your home such as yoga or Zumba – as many exercise videos are offered at no cost online. 

5. Acknowledge your feelings. Don’t brush feelings of worry or stress aside. Many experts agree that being able to acknowledge these things is the first step to managing it. Keep your focus on the present moment and what you can control. Notice the good things going on all around us – nature, acts of kindness, hardworking healthcare teams, sunshine, and more.

6. Practice strategies for dealing with cravings. During times of stress, cravings are often stronger than usual, but that doesn’t mean that the usual strategies for “riding a cravings wave” won’t be helpful. Here are ten tips for managing cravings that may be super-useful.

Some recipes from our dietitian for you:

Sauteed Savory Cabbage (Adapted from Ina Garten)

Serves: 6   Per serving: 90 calories;   12 grams carbs, 5 grams fiber, 4 grams fat

  • 1 small head white cabbage (about 2 pounds)
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp garlic powder

Cut the cabbage in quarters and remove the core. With the cut side-down, slice as thinly as possible. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pot over medium high heat. Add cabbage, salt, garlic, and pepper and sauté for 15-20 minutes, stirring frequently until cabbage is tender and begins to brown. Season, taste and serve warm.

Creamy Hummus

Makes about 1.5 cups.

Nutrition information: Per 2 Tbsp: About 50 calories, 4 grams carb.

  • 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (1 large lemon)
  • 1/4 cup well-stirred tahini
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/ 2 tsp salt (or to taste)
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons water

In a food processor, add the tahini & lemon juice, and process for a minute until the mixture turns into a thick, whipped paste. Then add the garlic, chickpeas and spices blending for several minutes until it is very smooth. Check the mixture for consistency and then add 2-3 Tbsp of cold water while the processor is running to make the hummus more light & creamy.

For more information on how to stay healthy, click here.

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