If you’re like Jack Aponte, you might not consider yourself a healthy eater. Jack says he has “an extremely large appetite” and grew up on Italian American staples like pizza, pasta, and bread. But when Jack’s wife encouraged him to sign up for CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program (National DPP) lifestyle change program, his lifestyle coach worked with him to make a few smart swaps to start eating healthier and reduce his risk for developing type 2 diabetes.

“Through the program, I learned I didn’t have to give up all of that. If you don’t bread it and you don’t fry it, you can still have it,” Jack states.

You can be like Jack too – this March for National Nutrition Month, here are a few things you can do to eat healthier:

  • Try making one small swap at a time, like focusing on choosing whole foods, such as an apple instead of applesauce or getting a side salad with your meal instead of French fries.
  • Talk to the person in your family who does most of the cooking and let them know you’d like to start eating healthier. Make some suggestions for things you already know you like to eat and offer to do the dishes to show your appreciation.
  • Try asking your friends and family members to join you. You can make it a competition to see who eats the most servings of fruits and vegetables in a day.

By making small swaps throughout your day, you don’t have to completely give up eating the things you love. If you need some encouragement, lifestyle coaches from CDC’s National DPP lifestyle change program are there to help you. Change Your Lifestyle. Change Your Life. (CYL2), part of CDC-led National DPP lifestyle change program, is proven to reduce participants’ risk of developing type 2 diabetes by more than 50%. Through the class, participants work with a trained lifestyle coach and a team of fellow participants who can encourage and challenge each other along the way.

If you’re ready to take the next step, learn more about joining CYL2 by taking our 1-minute risk test or by calling (205) 758-6647.

“With this program, it’s not like you’re on a diet,” concludes Jack. “You just make adjustments to your life that will last a lifetime. And it doesn’t mean you have to end your life – once a week you can still go out and have some ice cream.”