It is important to eat the right things, but it can be a challenge. Consequently, we have come up with a number of tips to help you change your eating habits to make following a healthy diet easier.
Before leaving to go shopping, try to eat something. This can be a meal, or a healthy snack, depending on the time of the day. This will help prevent you from making poor choices in the shop because of you being hungry at the time.
Come up with a detailed shopping list before leaving, and be strict with yourself. If unhealthy food isn’t purchased in the first place, it isn’t possible to eat it.
Although you should follow the shopping list, consider experimenting with certain items, such as trying a new fruit or vegetable each week.
Where possible, try to avoid going down the sweets, confectionaries and cakes aisles, unless it is necessary to buy something on the shopping list. This can help remove the temptation to pick an unhealthy, sugary snack up, which you did not intend to buy before you left for the shops.
The same applies for when you go through the checkouts. Try to avoid those which have sweets and chocolate on display right beside the till, to stop you making a last-minute purchase.
There are a number of simple changes you can make to reduce your portion sizes and avoid overeating, which can be a common cause of weight gain.
Switch to smaller plates for meals, which will help limit the amount of food put onto your plate. There are also reports that blue plates help prevent overeating, so you may want to consider using these.
Avoid having seconds, and steer clear of buffets as much as possible. If portion sizes are rather large, or if the food isn’t particularly healthy, such as chocolate and cheese, consider sharing the food between yourself and someone else. Just because the food is on your plate, doesn’t mean you have to finish all of it, even when you are full.
If people can also switch certain foods, such as replacing chocolate cake with fruit for dessert, to make your diet healthier. The occasional treat can still be enjoyed, but try not to go overboard and undo the good work.
It is easier to control portion sizes, and keep track of what you eat, when preparing food yourself. Again, there are a number of helpful actions people can take to improve their eating habits.
Look to steam, bake or grill food where possible, instead of frying it. Fried foods can be high in calories and fat, which can increase the risk of obesity, and you can usually consume more nutrients when preparing the food in those alternative ways.
For products such as oils, fats, creams, sauces and condiments, try and choose low-fat or fat-free versions, and consider adding herbs and spices to improve the flavour of your food instead of unhealthy seasonings.
Consider the types of food you are eating each day, and make a conscious decision to try and add whole grain foods in daily. You can also add fruit to more meals, such as including apple or banana slices with cereal.
It is recommended to prepare your own lunch each day, so you are less tempted by expensive, unhealthy food available in shops or canteens.
By following all the aforementioned tips, you should find it easier to eat right. But, there is still so much more that can be done to improve your eating habits.
As much as possible, eat together as a family at the dinner table. Avoid eating in front of the TV or other screens, because this can result in ‘mindless eating’, where people eat more than they realise as their concentration is focused on the screen.
Encourage the whole family to have a nutritious breakfast each day. If you don’t have time just wake up earlier, don’t skip it, because doing this can lead to lower energy levels later in the day, and you will be more likely to have an unhealthy snack when you inevitably get hungry.
Try to eat at regular times each day, ideally before you become too hungry. This helps your body become used to a specific schedule for eating, which may help prevent you from feeling hungry as much.
Simple things such as drinking a pint of water before your next meal, stopping eating when you are full, chewing food for longer, and not eating late at night, are all very beneficial actions to take to help you stick to healthy eating habits, and avoid overeating.
Cut out sugary drinks, sticking to water and low-fat milk instead. Having too much sugar can result in obesity, which is seen as a major risk factor in the development of type 2 diabetes.
You can also select for things such as salad dressing to be “on the side” with meals, and try to have salad with your meals instead of fries.