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Think Healthy Thursday: Swap It, Don't Stop It

Earlier last year, the Australian government started an initiative to promote healthy choices. The goal is for individuals to make "healthier lifestyle choices to reduce their risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and some cancers." It's called Swap It, Don't Stop It.

It reminds me a little of the USDA's newest MyPlate message, “enjoy your food, but eat less.” You don’t have to completely give up the things you love. It’s when those things become habits that we start to worry. This program encourages individuals to gradually swap those bad habits with healthy alternatives.

They’ve created an extremely thorough 12 week plan available for anyone to use. They’ve also gone as far to create resources for health professionals to utilize with their patients.

The first part of the plan allows you to establish a start date as well as short and long term goals for yourself.  You are encouraged to create a list of your current eating habits and what you plan to try to swap it out with.

I like the idea of swapping, because it seems more attainable. They don't ask you to give anything up completely. You’re simply encouraged to make small changes that can create big results. The 12 week plan includes a weekly activity planner and a meal diary to keep track of your eating habits for the week. It also contains a shopping list for every week categorized by the various food groups. Each category has great suggestions for items to swapping. The choices are endless. And in the unlikely case you run out of swapping ideas, they have an unlimited supply of recommendations from others users on their website.  (I told you it was thorough!)

The last weekly item is a healthy checklist. This is a series of questions to evaluate your week. The number of questions you answer yes to will determine your score. This is a great weekly item, because you can track your progress based on these numbers each week of the plan.

This YouTube video they used to kick off their campaign explains the program quite well.

The 12 week plan is available as a printable PDF, an iPad app, or you can track everything on Swap It’s online version of the plan.

So what do you say? Is this something we should start trending in the US?

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