Healthy eating habits

An Overview

Making healthy changes doesn’t require you to completely overhaul your diet. Start at your own pace by practicing these key healthy-eating habits. When it comes to eating, we have strong habits. Some are good (“I always eat breakfast”), and some are not so good (“I always clean my plate”). Although many of our eating habits were established during childhood, it doesn’t mean it’s too late to change them.

Permanently improving your eating habits requires a thoughtful approach in which you Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce.
REFLECT on all of your specific eating habits, both bad and good; and, your common triggers for unhealthy eating.
• REPLACE your unhealthy eating habits with healthier ones.
• REINFORCE your new, healthier eating habits.

Forming healthy eating habits will actually make it easier for you to eat healthily and go back to enjoying eating, rather than getting anxious about every meal. Whether you’re trying to lose weight or just eat a healthier, balanced diet, forming these habits will help you achieve your goals and feel more confident about your eating habits:

1. Eat breakfast:

Research indicates that eating breakfast every day helps with weight loss and weight maintenance by reducing hunger later in the day. When you break the overnight fast with a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to resist unhealthy choices during the day.
Include at least two food groups such as whole grains, lean protein, dairy, or fruits and vegetables — at breakfast to put you on track for a day of healthy eating.
Eat in moderation. Moderation really is the key to success. Giving yourself the freedom to eat what you want in healthy quantities is important for your nutrition and overall wellness.

2. Treats are treats:

When you do splurge on an ice cream cone, enjoy the experience rather than beating yourself up for it. There is nothing wrong with treating yourself every once in a while–that’s part of what makes eating in moderation successful.

3. Out of sight out of mind:

Buy less of the food you want to limit. Having your pantry and fridge stocked with junk foods and desserts will make temptation too hard to resist. Stock up on healthy snacks instead.

4. Highlight the habits on your list that may be leading you to overeat:

Common eating habits that can lead to weight gain are:
o Eating too fast
o Always cleaning your plate
o Eating when not hungry
o Eating while standing up (may lead to eating mindlessly or too quickly)
o Always eating dessert
o Skipping meals (or maybe just breakfast)

5. Listen to your body:

You may not feel full right away, but that doesn’t mean that you should keep eating until you feel uncomfortable.
• Eat when you feel hungry, not when you’re bored. Mindless eating when you’re not even hungry leads to an excessive calorie intake of less nutritious foods.
• Eat slowly. Focus on the tastes and textures of your food. Enjoy your food rather than inhaling it! Be sure to slow down so that you can feel the hunger go away and feel a comfortable, full feeling take over.
Don’t skip meals. Skipping meals slows your metabolism and might even make you gain weight. It also causes your blood sugar levels to drop.

6. Keep healthy snacks available at work:

Hunger pains at work make it easy to grab a bag of greasy chips from the vending machine. A habit that is widely considered unhealthy but with portion control and healthy choices, snacking as a habit can be further developed into something that is part of a healthy daily routine. An unfed person is prone to hunger pangs, snacking helps curb that, thus allowing you to focus on the task at hand.
Here’s how you can add snacks to your diet
• Snacking on assorted nuts and seeds all-day
• Stocking your pantry with fruits and vegetables that need zero cooking time like carrots, apples, celery etc they can also be added to various healthy dips

7. Dine before Nine:

After a day full of healthy eating and drinking, there are times where we end up eating way past our bedtime and eventually hit the sack. This further leads to a restless night’s sleep and indigestion, which causes harmful effects on your overall mood and a messed up sleep schedule the following day. Hectic work hours are difficult to manage and this is a pretty common thing we all experience. To avoid all the unpleasantries listed above, try and work your way to a stable eating routine and dine before nine.

8. Drink water:

Water is a crucial nutrient that often gets overlooked. Sixty percent of your body weight is made up of water and every system in your body requires it to function properly. Fluid needs depend on several factors: your health, your environment, how active you are, and if you are pregnant or breast-feeding. The Institute of Medicine recommends that men need about 13 8-ounce cups of water a day and women need nine 8-ounce cups of water a day.v

9. Look at the unhealthy eating habits you’ve highlighted:

Be sure you’ve identified all the triggers that cause you to engage in those habits. Identify a few you’d like to work on improving first. Don’t forget to pat yourself on the back for the things you’re doing right. Maybe you usually eat fruit for dessert, or you drink low-fat or fat-free milk. These are good habits! Recognizing your successes will help encourage you to make more changes.

How to improve my eating habits

Improving your eating habits is about more than just nutrition, but how feel around food. Starting with a food journal that explores not just what you eat, but how you eat and your thoughts around food is a great place to start! Here are some tips to get started.

Do I need to count calories or macros to be healthy

Absolutely not! Counting calories and macronutrients can actually disconnect you from your body’s natural hunger and fullness cues and innate ability to eat intuitively. Here’s something to try instead.

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