Part of having a healthy lifestyle is by implementing some healthy eating habits. Whether you like to cook or go out, it is important to focus on what you put into your body and how it makes you feel. It doesn’t have to be hard to do either. So, here are 7 healthy eating habits you can start today to get you on the right track to feeling your best!
These 7 healthy habits are some of the best ways to be healthier, live longer and enjoy a happier, more fulfilling life. Easier said then done, right? Actually it is fairly simple and easy if we don’t overcomplicate or overthink it.
You will need to put in some effort like planning your meals, doing some cooking and making healthy dinners for your family. As well as making some changes to how you think about food and what your habits around food are. At the end of the day, it does get easier and it is so worth it!
What are healthy eating habits?
As a Certified Nutrition Coach, I get this questions a lot. In simple terms, eating habits are the way in which people choose to eat as well as what they eat. For example, some people choose to eat on the go, giving little to no thought to what they are putting into their body and they consume mostly high sugar, high fat foods with little to no nutritional value. Leaving them feeling sluggish, heavy, unhappy and susceptible to joint pain, chronic diseases and a weakened immune system.
If you actually think about what you eat, plan your meals ahead, live an active lifestyle and eat lots of fruits and veggies you will completely change how you feel. You will be leaner, healthier, have lots of energy, minimal stomach issues and joint pain, will rarely be sick and enjoy your food.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, just smarter and more focused. Here are 7 healthy eating habits that you can start today that will work for almost anyone and are all pretty easy to start doing.
1. Change your mindset
This is the number one, first thing you can do. Changing your mindset about food will immediately alter the way the eat. So many diets make us feel like we have to eliminate important food groups, like carbohydrates, healthy fat, dessert and meat to be healthy but that is simply not true.
If you look at food as healthy fuel for your body, that is meant to nourish you and make you feel strong and healthy then it will be a completely different ball game.
You can still enjoy all types of foods but focus more on how those foods you eat make you feel rather than missing out on the good stuff. Also, healthy food can be delicious. I’m just putting that out there for food for thought, lol!
2. Eat more PLANTS!
Eating a wider variety of fruits and vegetables will have a very large impact on how you feel, TRUST ME! There are so many different plants out there for us to eat that are all different colors and all contain a variety of nutrients our bodies need. That is why eating all of the colors of the rainbow is so critical to our health. Fruits and veggies contain key nutrients that our bodies require to function properly.
Check out my recipe index for some healthy recipe inspiration!
3. Practice Mindful Eating
What is mindful eating? Mindful eating is eating only when you are truly hungry and stopping when you feel satisfied but not to the point of being full. Basically listening to your body for hunger cues as well as cues that you have had enough nourishment so you can stop eating. It is also one of the easiest healthy eating habits you can start doing right away.
Although this is fairly easy to do, it does require a slight change to your mindset to implement. It’s all about being present and focusing on why you need to to eat and being grateful that you have yummy food to eat rather then just scarfing down your food.
It is very much like the way that children eat. They really only eat when they are hungry, no matter what time of day it is and they stop eating when they have had enough. So we can actually learn from our own children with this one.
To learn more check out this article on Mindful Eating.
4. Eat slower
Eat slower and take the time to enjoy your food even if it is just an apple. This means no devouring your breakfast sandwich during your morning commute. Try to add in enough time in the morning to sit down and enjoy a good healthy breakfast. Starting your day with a sense of nourishment will fuel you up and help you make better choices throughout the rest of the day. This is one of my favorite healthy eating habits.
Here are a few other tips to help you eat slower
- Put your fork or spoon down in between bites and really try to enjoy your food.
- Put down your phone or tablet and don’t eat while watching TV. You will eat faster and consume more food if you are not paying attention. I know this one is tough for all of us Netflix binge watching folks but if you stick to this one, you will see a drastic change in your waistline.
- Siting down while you eat actually helps you digest food better which will help reduce bloating and stomach cramps later in the day.
5. Eat real foods and less processed foods
This one is so important. I know it is hard to resist the chips, crackers, cookies and all of the kids snacks but you can do it. Eating more whole foods with less processed ingredients will change how you look and feel immediately. Plus, whole foods are lower in sugar and high calorie oils that are likely causing you to gain rather than lose weight. Cutting back on packaged and frozen foods is widely effective.
Expert Tips for cutting back on processed foods
Here are some tips and tricks that you can start using today to help combat this along with some easy healthier swaps to help you avoid those more processed foods that are harming your weight loss progress.
- Give your kitchen and pantry a healthy overhaul. Take an inventory of your kitchen and pantry and get rid of the foods that are bad for you and are tempting to eat. Then get them out of the house. This is a play on the whole, “out of site, out of mind” thing and it works. If you know you crave a sweet treat after dinner then go for some fruit or a chocolate protein shake.
- Shop the outer perimeter of the grocery store. I love this one and it is something I have pretty much always done for years. Skipping the snack aisles, frozen food aisle (of course get some frozen veggies), the ice cream aisle, beverage aisle, all the aisles will provide less temptation. It will force you to focus on the healthy lean proteins, fresh fruits, veggies and healthy snacks you can fill your grocery cart with.
- Make a list of healthy snacks and meals and only shop from that list. More tips on this below but making a list and sticking to only purchasing and eating the foods on that list is something that will 100%. I am creating some sample lists to help guide you, so look out for those coming soon.
- Read nutrition labels. There are a lot of hidden ingredients in our food. That is why it is so important to read the nutrition labels so you know exactly what you are putting into your body. Here is a great article on how to properly read nutritional labels.
6. Drink more water
This is one of the easiest 7 healthy eating habits you can start immediatley. Yes I know we have all heard this one before but it is true. Sometimes when we think we are hungry, we are actually just thirsty. So when you are feeling hungry, drink a glass of water first and the hunger will likely go away. You may realize you need to eat but you will likely eat less. It will also help you digest your food better and give you more energy.
7. Plan and prep your food
This one is so simple but most of us don’t do it consistently. Even though it has proven to work over and over again. If you ask anyone that has been successful at losing weight and keeping it off, most of the time they will say they planned and prepped their meals.
Now, I am not talking about slaving in the kitchen every Sunday preparing every single thing you are going to eat all week.
What I am talking about is simply writing a list of what you would enjoy eating for the week and shopping only from that list. Then determine what you can prepare in advance so it is ready to go when you want to eat it. I do this and it is a time saver every time I need to prepare a meal.
Healthy meal prep tips
- Cook some protein like chicken or turkey to have it ready for bowls, salads, sandwiches, wraps , tacos or pizza.
- Prep your veggies. Especially if you buy kale. Wash it, chop it and store it, then it is ready to go! I like to chop up some carrot and celery sticks for quick snacking as well as bell peppers for stir frys and soups.
- Make a batch of soup. Soup has been known to fill you up on fewer calories so it is a great snack or side for any meal during the week. Make a big batch of your favorite soup on Sunday and keep it all week as a quick go to meal, side dish or snack. Soup is also a great way to get more veggies!
- Cook some starches and grains. Having roasted potatoes, squash, and cooked rice or quinoa ready to go in the fridge is a such a time saver. When you have these foods ready to go you can easily add them to omelettes or salads or just to enjoy as a quick snack. Rice and quinoa are great for grain bowls, in burgers as a replacement for breadcrumbs or inside a burrito for a super quick and hearty meal.
Expert Tips for healthy eating habits
- All of these amazing healthy eating habits are simple, straightforward things you can do with little effort or money that will drastically change the the way you look and feel everyday of your life!
- Pairing these healthy eating habits with a good exercise routine will also make it much easier to lose weight and keep it off, even if it is just light walking or running a few days per week. Remember, our bodies were made to move, not sit at a desk all day. So get up and get moving whenever you can!
- Don’t forget to treat yourself once in a while. This is important so you don’t end up bingeing sugar. I like to enjoy a glass of wine on the weekend or a brownie with my kids as a weekly treat.
- If it seems too hard or overwhelming to do all of these at once, then just start small with one or two new healthy eating habits and add on as you go. That is what healthy eating habits are all about.
The Bottom line on 7 healthy eating habits
Even one new change will have an impact and that will make you want to make other changes as well, trust me!
Reflect on your current eating habits, make some of these small but impactful changes and then regularly reinforce these new 7 healthy eating habits. Be patient and kind to yourself and if you get off track, know that it is okay as long as you get back on track quickly and keep going. Nobody is perfect!