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 Natalie Bules, RD, LD
Many people set goals that include ways to become a healthier version of one’s self. Healthier is a broad term that can incorporate the physical body, mental health, social interaction and spiritual growth. Whichever one of these best meets your personal goal, the most important building block to a healthier lifestyle is nutrition.

To make a fresh start towards a healthier lifestyle, we must set achievable goals. Goals that are SMART-Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, with a Time frame. A nutritionally focused SMART goal is one that creates a dietary pattern that leads to a healthy lifestyle, thereby avoiding the diet trends that send you into unrealistic expectations.

A common denominator in most chronic disease states is inflammation. If you focus on improving inflammation in your body, you can improve your overall health from many perspectives. The Anti-inflammatory (AI) dietary pattern is a great guide to help you create this healthy lifestyle. An AI focused diet is a combination of traditional Mediterranean and Asian dietary patterns. With emphasis on incorporating a variety of colorful veggies and fruits, healthy fats, lean protein and high fiber carbohydrates, the AI diet pattern is achievable and sustainable for a lifetime.

To begin goal setting for AI eating, start with sensible goals that fit your lifestyle. Enlist help if you need it! Alert a physician, a dietitian or a personal trainer that you need assistance and get it. You are more likely to follow through with a plan if it is SMART and you have help staying accountable. YOU ARE WORTH investing in YOU! Set daily, weekly and monthly goals to use as the base of your plan. Examples of SMART goals: 1) I will have 3 servings of veggies 7 days a week. 2) I will eat fish 2 times per week. As you meet your goals, you will build on and adjust to further your progress toward healthier eating and ultimately happier living.

Diet culture is everywhere – social media, TV, grocery shopping and even at work, where we spend a large part of our time. If something sounds too good to be true, it is. We all must take charge of our health by creating sustainable dietary principles to set the building blocks to a SMARTer way to feed our bodies and live our best life!