9 Ways To Develop Healthy Eating
Developing healthy eating habits basically involves making small changes over a long period of time.
Consistently eating a variety of well balanced foods should be the focus, if a healthy eating habit is to be developed, because it will provide all available nutrients needed by our bodies for our daily activities.
Note: if you have any health issue, please consult with your doctor first before starting any dietary changes.
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1. Write down your eating habits for the past one month: This is a very good way to start as it makes you aware of how and what you’ve been eating all these while. Every detail should be recorded; from how much you drank water (this is a very essential part of healthy habit) to the little insignificant things, (like snacks), that you ate.
2. Set your goals: After going through your record of the past month, begin to write down areas of your eating habits you need to correct. For example, if you didn’t drink enough water in the past one month, make plans to change that. You could set the volume of water you must consume each day.
First of all, write down your eating goals for the next one month. Then break it into weekly goals, then daily goals, and even hourly goals, if possible. If you need to stop snacking between meals, you could discipline yourself enough to stop, or if it’s too difficult, you could replace those snacks with healthy fruits.
Remember, your goals must be SMART.
Telling your plans to loved ones or friends could be of great benefit, as they’ll support you in achieving your goals.
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3. Have a time table: eating regularly at specific times each day is highly recommended. Depending on your preference, you may eat 3 large meals 3 times a day, or decide to break it into 4 or 5 small meals a day. Whichever way you want it, try to stick to it. Remember that eating too much and too little is not the best for our health, so you should eat when you’re hungry and not when you feel like. Also stop eating when you’re satisfied and not when you feel full.
4. Eat foods rich in protein and fibre: Foods rich in fibre and protein helps reduce cravings, as they give you a sense of fullness. This is especially true for breakfast, as this would prevent you from unnecessary eating throughout the rest of the day. Fibres take a longer time to digest than non/low-fibre foods, hence helping to manage hunger. Examples of foods rich in protein include chicken, eggs, turkey, beef, dairy products like yoghurt, milk. Foods containing high fibre include vegetables, fruits like carrots and orange, beans, avocados.
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5. Eat your meals for at least 20 minutes:
Eating for at least 20 minutes helps to prevent overeating. While eating, chew your food slowly, as this helps for easy digestion. Eating slowly also helps you to be aware of your satisfaction status, and helps you to realize when you’re beginning to get full.
6. Avoid distractions while eating: Watching TV, using cell phones, checking mails while eating can cause you to overeat and make you lose track of your satisfaction status. This is because the brain is more focused on whatever else it is that you’re doing. While eating, do away with every form of distraction and focus on finishing the food first so that you can make the most during the time of eating.
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7. Avoid eating at night:
It is said that nothing should be eaten after 7pm. This is because the body takes about 4 – 6 hours for food to be digested. Eating at night would cause your body to be in an active state, and this would lead to poor sleep and health problems.
8. Limit junk and processed foods: These foods are actually very high in sugar and unwanted fat and calories. Regularly consuming them leads to weight gain and health problems. They should be very limited and if possible completely cut out from your eating schedule. Although they are pleasant to the tongue and eyes, they are usually harmful to the body, and so be be avoided at all costs. They include candies, fried foods, chips, pastries.
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9. Drink more water: Water remains the best ‘food’ that the body needs. It is said that to know if you’re drinking enough water, check your urine colour. If it’s dark than usual (probably dark yellow) it means you’re not drinking enough water, because it would be concentrated. But if it’s of a lighter colour, or almost the colour of water, it means you’re drinking enough water. Also, drink less of or completely cut out sweetened and flavoured fluids as most of them are not hundred percent safe.
In conclusion, eat more of fruits and vegetables, drink more water. This will go a long way in helping you achieve and maintain your desired weight, and make you stay healthy.