When we think of eating healthy, most of us only focus on what types of foods we are consuming. We often forget that a major part of eating healthy starts with forming healthy eating habits. To eat more nutritious food, you may need to change some of your daily habits. But don’t worry, it’s not as hard as it sounds!
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:
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Plan. Eating in moderation involves making sure a healthy snack or meal is within reach. Meal prepping will be your savior for this!
Portion control. Portion size helps you eat in moderation and keeps you from overeating. Large portions trick you into eating more and consuming extra calories that can really set you back.
- Use smaller plates. Plating helps you tremendously with portion control. Research has shown that eating off of a smaller plate can trick your brain into thinking that you’re eating more, and it can help prevent you from overeating.
- Measure and use accurate portion sizes. That way, you know exactly how many nutrients and calories you are eating. Try to follow portion-size guidelines.
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.
- Learn to be mindful while eating. Mindful eating will teach you how to eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re satisfied. You’ll also learn to genuinely taste your food and enjoy the tastes of healthier foods.
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.
- Always eat breakfast. Eating a healthy breakfast at a reasonable hour is great for your metabolism and keeps your hunger in check throughout the day.
- Keep healthy snacks available at work. Hunger pains at work make it easy to grab a bag of greasy chips from the vending machine. Always stay prepared for hunger at work by keeping nuts, rice cakes, veggie chips or other healthy snacks at your desk.
Know your facts. Understand what you’re really eating. Eating well means knowing how many nutrients you are getting from your meals.
- Learn to decode nutrition labels. Always check sugar, sodium, saturated fat, and trans fat amounts.
- Check the ingredient label. Learn sneaky terms for hidden sugar and other additives. If a food product contains too many ingredients that you can’t pronounce, put it back on the shelf!
Drink water. Make staying hydrated a habit. Water has amazing benefits for your body and nutrition.
- Replace soda and sweetened drinks with water. Soda and sweetened beverages add loads of empty calories to your diet.
- Keep clean, cold water with you at all times. Make sure that refreshing water is always readily available so that you can easily drink your recommended intake of water every day.
Don’t beat yourself up! This is so important. Remember that there is no such thing as eating perfectly. It is okay to reward yourself with a dessert or have a pizza night with your family every once and a while.
- Always keep a positive attitude about eating well and developing healthy eating habits. Punishing yourself for having a slip-up or overindulging will only lower your motivation and confidence.
The truth is, crash diets have never been shown to produce long-term results. Focus on forming healthy habits that will change the way you think about eating. Over time, these small changes can make a big difference in your health and happiness.
What healthy eating habits help you maintain a nutritious diet?
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