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10 Tips To Make Healthy Eating A Habit

10 Tips To Make Healthy Eating A Habit

The weight-loss landscape is changing. No longer are fad diets as attractive as a healthy lifestyle of balance through eating healthy, moderate exercise and mental wellbeing. Eating healthy contributes to weight loss, bolsters your body’s immunity against disease, and even enhances your mood and overall wellbeing.

While that sounds great, eating healthy works best if it can be worked into our busy schedules and habits. Here are 10 simple ways to weave healthy eating habits into your life.

1. Swap processed food for fresh food

When you’re tired, it’s easy to reach for that can of soup for a quick fix. However, processed foods include unnecessary ingredients like sugars, “unhealthy” fats , high sodium content and preservatives making them high energy, high calorie meals that pack on the pounds. Whole, fresh foods give your body nutrients without the high caloric baggage.

Start with 2-3 cooked meals a week to get in the groove and always keep a few veggies and fresh meats around for healthy alternatives to canned foods.

  • Grocery Tip: Replace processed foods with healthier substitutes when you’re grocery shopping. Shop around the perimeter of the grocery store (where all the fresh foods are) and avoid the aisles (with processed foods) as much as possible.
  • Cooking Tip: Bookmark some quick-and-easy recipes for inspiration so you’re not struggling to figure it out when you’re famished after a long day.

“My two rules of cooking: keep it fresh and keep it simple” – chef Mike Isabella

2. Eat a high-protein breakfast

Starting the day with carbs (like bread, potatoes, pancakes) may give you an instant energy boost but beware of that inevitable sugar crash that makes you want to eat more as the day wears on. A breakfast that’s rich in proteins (like eggs) on the other hand maintains your insulin level so you burn sugar slowly for a stable energy output throughout your day. You’ll feel satiated and won’t be reaching for unhealthy snacks as much.

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eggs for breakfast

    Baked, scrambled, boiled, poached or so many other interesting ways, eggs are a great way to get your protein for the day. If you’re in a rush, you can always consider a quick Greek yogurt parfait or low fat cheeses.

    Quick Parfait Recipe

    • In a to-go container (or cup), mix 1/2 cup Greek yogurt with a couple of drops of vanilla essence
    • Layer with berries (strawberries, blueberries and any other you might have)
    • Add a layer of granola with a couple of nuts or raisins and you have a delicious parfait-to-go

    3. Eat smaller portions more often

    “I believe in eating smaller meals more often throughout the day to keep the metabolism going.”  – chef Todd English

    This one is all about energy management. When you eat a large meal, your digestive system is overburdened leading to bloating. Your body is further conditioned to store energy as fat. Plus you’ll be craving more sugar.

    So eat smaller portions more often.

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    Lunch tip: Break your lunch into two parts. Perhaps eat a piece of the sandwich and finish it 2 hours later.

    Dinner tip: Break it up. Eat a small dinner early and snack on yogurt or fruit with cereal a couple of hours later.

    4. Eat smart – Make healthy substitutions

    Heating healthy should never mean having to give up eating what you like. If that were the case, it would be a difficult habit to cultivate. Make healthy substitutions where you can instead.

    healthy-substitutions

      Healthy substitution tips

      • Swap mayo out for mustard
      • Swap a side of fries out for a side of veggies. Spice them up with a bit of lemon, salt and pepper.
      • Move from frying your food to broiling, grilling or baking
      • Swap white bread out for whole grain bread
      • Swap ground meats out for leaner options , better yet – fish or white meats

      5. Get your vitamin D

      Whether it’s our collective lifestyle or the choice of foods, the number of people with vitamin D deficiency has been growing. Vitamin D balances your hunger hormones (insulin and gherlin) and boosts your happy hormone (seratonin) with the combined effect of reducing those sugar cravings and keeping you from reaching out for unhealthy snacks. So get more vitamin D in your body.

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      Vitamin D sources

      • Even 30 minutes of time in the sun everyday can help boost vitamin D levels
      • Fatty fish (salmon, trout, tuna, mackerel) is high in vitamin D so include fish in your food weekly
      • Vegan? Then make mushrooms a staple at home especially Portobello, or try fortified juices or suppliments

      6. Snack healthy too

      It’s unreasonable to stop snacking entirely. So snack healthy. Instead of reaching out for fried or processed sugary snacks, make yourself a delicious snack treat with tasty fruit and nuts and maybe even a little granola. Make this the night before and pre-pack it so you don’t forget it in your morning rush.

      Healthy snack pack recipe

      • Nuts: 1/4 cup almonds, 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
      • Fruit: 1/4 cup dried raisins, 1/4 cup berries (cranberries, blue berries strawberries)
      • Toss mix and put away. Amp it up with 1/2 a fresh cut banana when you’re snacking

      7. Make healthy taste good!

      We often associate healthy with tasteless and boring. And we couldn’t be more wrong. There are so many ways to flavour healthy foods so they leave you wanting more. Think spices, peppers and garnishes. Keep a few spices around and you can make any healthy meal taste good.

      spice-up-your-food

        Flavor tips

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        • Toss in some cumin, paprika and turmeric when sautéing a couple of veggies to add flavour
        • Consider basting fish with garlic, lemon juice and hot pepper like Habanero
        • Garnish your stews with chopped cilantro
        • Amp up those vegetable soups with a touch of lemon or orange zest
        • Not adventurous enough? Try one of these yummy curries and you will be looking forward to eating healthy every day!

        8. Eat all the colours of the rainbow – Veggies

        Vegetables are good but getting a full palette of veggies of all colours is even better. Aside from vitamins, minerals and fiber veggies also give your body phytonutrients to naturally reduce those cravings for unhealthy foods. If veggies are not part of your regular diet, then make small changes slowly. Start be including a veggies in a side or salad. Or make one meal a veggie meal. Try a different veggie every day or even every other day.

        Cooking tip: Salads are the easiest way to get your veggies and cost very little prep time. Toss your veggies and try healthy salad dressing options to keep the taste without the calories. If salads are not for you, then try these delicious alternatives.

        9. Drink lots of water during your meal

        Drinking water with your meal will help with weight loss because it replaces sugary high-caloric drinks like soda or juice. Secondly, drinking a couple of glasses of water during your meals will help you from over eating. It’s an appetite suppressant. Water fills you up faster and keeps you from reaching for a second or third serving. So drink up and see the difference.

        10. Get some sleep

        Yes, you heard that right. How does sleep help you eat healthy? Actually, sleeping keeps you from eating unhealthy foods. Getting less that 7-8 hours of sleep a day can increase your sugar cravings. You’ll snack more and snack unhealthy. Sleep deprivation also slows down your body’s metabolism and causes you to burn less energy and store more fat. Sleeping is a healthy habit. Never feel guilty and get that much needed sleep for good health!

        sleep-is-good

          Conclusion

          The main takeaway here is that there are many ways in which you can tweak your habits to start eating healthy. Start slow and change one thing at a time. You won’t see changes overnight but keep it up and you will start to notice that these healthy habits lead to a healthier body and a happier you.

          Featured photo credit: pixabay via pixabay.com

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          Last Updated on September 16, 2019

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

          You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

          We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

          The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

          Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

          1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

          Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

          For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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          • (1) Research
          • (2) Deciding the topic
          • (3) Creating the outline
          • (4) Drafting the content
          • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
          • (6) Revision
          • (7) etc.

          Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

          2. Change Your Environment

          Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

          One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

          3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

          Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

          Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

          My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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          Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

          4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

          If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

          Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

          I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

          5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

          I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

          Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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          As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

          6. Get a Buddy

          Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

          I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

          7. Tell Others About Your Goals

          This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

          For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

          8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

          What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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          9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

          If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

          Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

          10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

          Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

          Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

          11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

          At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

          Reality check:

          I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

          More About Procrastination

          Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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