Five Ways to Improve Your Eating Habits
Developing Healthy Eating Habits
Nutrition plays an important role when it comes to maintaining your overall health. Though many of our eating habits were developed in our younger years, you can still take several steps to change your diet for the better. Here's how:
1 - Eat Smaller Meals
How much you eat is just as important as what you eat when it comes to maintaining a healthy body weight. While it is not necessary to measure everything you consume, you should try to develop a habit of knowing the approximate serving size for the foods you eat. These habits can help you eat more mindfully and control how much you’re actually consuming:
- Use smaller dishes, bowls, and cups so you are consuming less at a given time.
- Measure out one serving and put it on a separate plate rather than eating directly from the serving plate.
- Avoid eating while you’re doing other activities such as watching television or doing work.
- Try to eat at the same times every day. Skipping meals or going longer without a meal can cause you to overeat later on.
- Buy pre-packaged/pre-portioned foods. You can even divide larger packaged foods into single-serving sized containers at home.
- Be mindful while you’re eating, chewing thoroughly.
2 - Eat a Variety of Vegetables
Adding a variety of fruits and vegetables to your diet can help you get a broad range of essential vitamins and nutrients into your diet. When we eat plants, we ingest their phytonutrients, which help to boost our immune systems and protects us from developing chronic diseases.
You can introduce more color to your diet by incorporating various fruits and vegetables into your meals and snacks. Try to eat a total of 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables each day.
3 - Plan Your Meals
When you don’t have your meals planned ahead of time, you’re more likely to make poor food choices because they are fast and convenient. To help curb this behavior, try to plan your meals and snacks ahead of time with the following tips:
- Plan out the meals you want to prepare for dinner at the beginning of each week.
- Pack home-cooked lunches to bring to work or school.
- Keep healthy snacks like fruits and vegetables in your fridge that are easy to grab.
4 - Eat Slower
When you eat too quickly, you are more prone to overeating. This is because there is not enough time for your body to register that it’s getting full. When you take your time to eat, wait at least 15 minutes in between servings, you will be less likely to eat more than you need to. To help you slow down while you eat, be sure to chew your food slowly and thoroughly.
5 - Know Your Triggers
Many people develop habits where they are triggered to eat at times other than when they’re hungry. Pay attention to the moments you find yourself mindlessly snacking and take note of how you’re feeling at that moment. Some common triggers and behaviors include:
- Preparing for a stressful test or presentation at work or at school.
- Opening the fridge or cabinets when you’re bored.
- Watching television.
- Using food to make yourself “feel better.”
- Walking past a tempting vending machine, store, or candy dish.