How can I eat healthier? Has that question been on your mind lately? It is a goal that tops the list for many people. Especially after holidays, birthday, anniversaries, etc, – any time when we tend to splurge a bit extra. Don’t worry, eating healthier should be overwhelming. It is an achievable goal to strive toward even if just a little bit at a time.
Healthy People – Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em
One of the main habits of healthy people is that they eat healthier. They start the day with a healthy breakfast and make healthy food choices throughout the day. You know, the people some of us love to hate. That’s OK, it’s only natural to feel a bit negative toward people we think are doing everything right. I’m sure they have some food “skeletons” in the closet too. I’m especially bad around Halloween and Christmas. I can’t get enough of the sweets.
So, how can start a new healthy habit? Often, it’s an unhealthy habit that needs to be replaced by a healthy one. Eating healthier is a perfect example. Creating a new habit doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, studies have shown that it takes 28 days to create a new habit.
Bad Eating Habits
Before looking at tips for eating healthier, let’s look at some poor eating habits that are pretty typical for many of us. Believe me, I’ve had to work hard to break a few of these bad habits. Don’t let thing list overwhelm you. You don’t need to fix everything. Take on one at a time and go from there.
- Skipping breakfast
- Drinking your calories
- Endless snacking
- Late night eating
- Emotional Eating
- TV/Screentime Eating
- Eating too much
- Eating too fast
8 Habits That Will Help You Eat Healthier
OK, now let’s look at how we can turn the above bad habits into habits that will help you eat healthier.
I’m sure you’ve heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” It really does set the stage for having a healthy morning. When you don’t eat breakfast, your body is missing the energy and blood sugar boost it needs to make your muscles and brain work. Without breakfast, you’re more likely to make poor food choices like grabbing a bag of chips or candy bar to satisfy your hunger pangs. Here are a few ideas for a healthy breakfast:
Don’t Drink Your Calories
The days some designer coffee drinks take up a huge percentage of the recommended daily calories for an average person. Sugary sodas and sweetened teas are bad as well. Stick with water. If plain water is not your thing, add a squeeze of fresh fruit or drink flavored seltzer. A smoothie can make for a good meal replacement or snack, but not as a beverage.
Stop endlessly snacking
We’ve become a society of snackers. Junk food is far to easy to find for both kids and adults. Try to keep healthy snacks within reach. Don’t stock up your desk or pantry with cookies and chips. Have healthy options like carrot sticks, hummus, greek yogurt, air-popped popcorn, on hand. Here are a few more of our favorite healthy snacks:
Avoid late night snacking
The snacks we choose after 8 pm or so tend to be the ones that are the least healthy. It’s often a time for temptation, especially if you feel that you’ve deprived yourself during the day. Try your best to have a healthy dinner, and if you have a small treat, try to keep it before 8 pm. Eating too close to bedtime can cause heartburn and other digestive issues as well.
Acknowledge emotional triggers
Do you find yourself eating when you are not hungry? Perhaps you are just bored or maybe stressed. Try to identify triggers that send you snacking and find other ways to satisfy yourself. If you are feeling stressed, take a brisk walk, call a friend or write our your feelings in a journal. Bored? Have a doodle pad, play an app on your phone. Anything to keep you from heading into the kitchen.
Eating in front of the TV
With more and more families staying home to watch sports and movies, the TV area has become a place for lots of snacks. It’s fine for a special event, but the problem is when this habit spills into everyday TV watching. Before you know it, your body craves food whenever you sit in front of the TV. If you must eat while watching TV, grab something healthy like a piece of fruit or some veggie sticks.
Healthy people not only eat better, but they typically eat less. Overeating is an epidemic in America. So many people go far beyond the 2000 calories recommended daily allowance. I am not big on counting calories, but you can be more mindful of portion sizes. An easy trick is eating from smaller plates and bowls. Never eat straight from a package or container.
It takes about 15-20 minutes for your brain to get the signal that you’re full. If you wolf down your food 10 minutes, you could end up eating much more than you need. According to EverydayHealth.com, a study in Japan found that people who ate too quickly were more likely to be overweight.
Creating a new habit is not easy. It takes time and effort. Give one or two of these a try and see how it goes. Master one, try another. You’ll be eating healthier in no time.