A young boy rests his head on his hands as he tries to choose between healthy and not-healthy options.
We all have choices to make. Sometimes it’s deciding between a healthy or unhealthy lunch. Here are some practical tips for how to steel your resolve. (For Spectrum Health Beat)

Your skinny jeans don’t feel too skinny. Your meal plan too often involves a drive-thru. And you remember all those holiday treats whenever you button a waistband.

And so, you resolve to eat better.

The dilemma is: How to keep that resolve going strong all year?

Here are eight down-to-earth tips from Jessica Corwin, MPH, RDN, a dietitian and community nutrition educator with Spectrum Health Healthier Communities.

Ditch the kale

If you hate kale, who cares? Grab another leafy green instead. They all come packed with a host of antioxidants.

Supersize it

We are talking about your portion of veggies or your salad bowl, of course. “By adding an extra helping of non-starchy vegetables you will be adding filling fiber and nutrition without a lot of calories,” Corwin says. Hello, skinny jeans!

Stock your car

Add a few non-perishable snacks to your ride to prevent yourself from hitting the closest burger joint or gas station. Think protein-rich snack bars, apples, shelf-stable hummus, or individual baggies of BBQ or cocoa almonds, Corwin advises.

Drink up

Seek out your favorite water bottle and carry it everywhere. If you have a 20-ounce bottle, you will only need to refill it twice.

Treat yourself

Did you reach your goal of having oatmeal every morning instead of your usual sugary cereal? Treat yourself to a fancy new tea or box of rich coffee to continue to stoke your a.m. inspiration.

Add protein

As you plan your meals or sit down for a snack, be sure to include a serving of protein. Not only does protein help us to feel satisfied and help maintain our energy, it also helps to stabilize our blood sugar, keeping us full for longer. What foods contain protein? More than just meat. Think eggs, beans, nuts, seeds, soy foods and dairy.

Make a plan

Why all the excitement over meal planning? “It is key to encouraging a healthy balance of foods on your plate,” Corwin says. “And it also is the best way to prevent you from requiring a last-minute pail stuffed with sugar-laden sweet ‘n’ sour chicken.”

Consult an expert

Think about teaming with a registered dietitian or nutritionist. He or she can help you come up with a healthy living plan that is nutritionally sound and more importantly, one that works for you, your taste buds and your busy schedule.