Knowing how to improve eating habits and inculcate them in our daily lives is often easier said than done. Eating healthy requires us to have a balanced diet and be aware of how much nutrition we’re getting from our meals — we all know this, but few can follow it consistently.
Eating habits are behaviors that are acquired over time, so making changes to them requires time, patience, and persistence.
However, making these small changes to improve eating habits can completely transform your health, both mentally and physically. If you’re looking to understand how to start eating healthy, we’ve got you covered!
How To Improve Eating Habits: 7 Changes For A Healthier Life
Here are some sustainable and simple ways to change your eating habits for a healthier future.
Start With Small Changes
When you’re on a quest toward a healthy lifestyle and are wondering how to develop healthy eating habits, it’s a good idea to start small.
Small changes slowly add up to create a massive impact. Making drastic changes overnight concerning how and what you eat can be difficult, and it may not be sustainable in the long run. Instead, start small, and slowly build on your eating habits to make them healthier.
For example, if you have soda all the time, switch it out with water once a day until you’re ready to give up soda altogether. Then, try cutting back on the sugar in other beverages such as tea and coffee.
Set Realistic Goals
Setting realistic goals is important to ensure that you don’t set yourself up for failure with unrealistically high expectations. This can be discouraging and may put you off if you cannot achieve them.
Instead, set achievable goals with specific, realistic, and measurable milestones. For example, aim to eat at least one fruit or vegetable with every meal, or cook a healthy meal at home twice a week instead of relying on takeout all the time.
Plan Your Meals
Healthy meal planning can completely transform your eating habits by making your health journey much easier. When you plan your meals in advance, you are less likely to opt for unhealthy takeaways out of laziness or not being able to decide what to cook.
It’ll allow you to plan and prepare your meals well in advance. Just remember to include a variety of foods in your meals to ensure that you get all the necessary nutrition. Plan your meals to include a healthy combination of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, healthy fats, and whole grains.
Eat A Balanced Diet
A balanced diet is essential to ensure you get the required amount of nutrition to keep you energized, strong, and functioning. A balanced diet includes a variety of foods from different food groups.
The main components of a healthy, balanced diet are:
- Carbohydrates — Found in whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables, they provide energy to the body and should contribute towards 60% of your calorie intake.
- Proteins — Nuts, soy, meats, poultry, and dairy products are great sources of protein that promote growth and assist with tissue repair.
- Fats — Healthy, unsaturated fats such as seeds, nuts, avocado, and olive oil help the body to absorb vitamins and also provide energy.
- Fiber — Whole grains, legumes, fruits, and vegetables ensure that the body has enough fiber to regulate digestion, promote satiation, and maintain a healthy gut.
- Vitamins and minerals — Obtained from dairy products, fortified cereals, whole grains, vegetables, and fruits, these are necessary for overall health and well-being.
In case you are unable to meet your requirements for essential vitamins and minerals, supplements such as green pastures and liver oil can be a great alternative to ensure optimum health.
Practice Mindful Eating
Being mindful and present during any aspect of your life is a healthy and grounding habit, and it’s especially true for your food. Mindful eating involves paying close attention and using all your senses to experience and enjoy the food you are consuming.
Cut out distractions or background entertainment and focus on the food on your plate. It not only enhances your overall eating experience but can also help prevent binge eating and promote satiation. Furthermore, mindful eating helps you develop a better relationship with your food as you will be better equipped to understand and be aware of your hunger and fullness cues.
Reduce Processed Foods
Processed foods contain high amounts of sugar and unhealthy fats. They are also high in calories and have low nutrition levels, making them unsuitable for maintaining one’s overall physical health and wellness.
Cutting back on processed foods and replacing them with whole foods can drastically improve your health and eating habits as well as your physical and mental well-being. Choose foods that are minimally processed and free from fats, added sugars, and harmful chemical preservatives. This includes quick bites and fast foods, including instant noodles and other similar go-to snacks.
Instead, opt for fresh foods that aren’t fried or processed.
Water is as important as food for your health. Adequate hydration is not only important for good health in general but can also help boost your eating habits. Water aids digestion and keeps you energized throughout the day. It also helps you feel more full, which can prevent overeating and aid with portion control.
It is important to drink at least eight glasses of water throughout the day and avoid sugary drinks such as soda. Avoid drinking water during meals, but you can drink it an hour before or after eating. However, if you find it difficult to eat without a glass of water, it’s perfectly fine to sip on some while you eat.
You can also include fruits and vegetables that have a high water content in your diet, such as cucumber, watermelon, and celery. They will help you hydrate while also offering other nutrition.
Trying to understand how to improve eating habits can be overwhelming due to the amount of information out there. Making drastic changes all at once is nearly impossible, but a little goes a long way. These 7 healthy eating habits are a great place to get started to build a healthier life and a healthier you.