They say it takes 21 days to form a habit and 90 days to adopt a completely new lifestyle. When it comes to healthy eating, you need to start slow. It’s difficult for most people to drastically change their eating habits over night. And it’s no surprise since food can be as addicting as drugs. Certain foods high in fat and sugar actually stimulate the pleasure sensors in the brain, creating unhealthy eating habits that are hard to kick. But if you’re ready to take control of your diet and your life, this article is for you! Keep reading to discover 10 tips to help you get on the right track to healthy eating.
1. Meal Plan and Prep
Cravings and convenience — two of the main reasons people struggle to stay on the right track with eating. If you’re busy and constantly on the run, it can be difficult to find a healthy food alternative. Fast food is convenient and cheap. But it’s also disastrous if you’re trying to lose weight and eat healthy.
Take time for yourself and plan your meals for the week. Make a grocery list and stock up on your favorite healthy foods or take advantage of healthy food delivery. Then spend a few hours prepping and packaging your favorite meals. Label them and store them in your fridge for easy grab-and-go options. Get thrifty and use the same ingredients in several different recipes.
2. Drink Your Coffee and Tea Black
One of the biggest downfalls to any healthy eating plan is drinking more calories than you realize. While soda and sports drinks are some of the biggest offenders, what you put in your coffee and tea could be costing you countless unnecessary calories. Skip the fattening milk, creamers, and sugar packets. Honey and cinnamon are nice alternatives that allow you to taste the full flavor of the coffee or tea.
3. Pay Attention to Portion Size
Portion sizes in America are one of the leading causes of obesity. Restaurants across the country are serving double and sometimes triple the recommended amount of protein and carbohydrates. The good news is, the answer to portion control is right in the palm of your hand. Literally! Look at your hand. Your protein portion should be the size of your palm. One cup is the size of a closed fist and the tip of our thumb (from the knuckle up) is approximately one tablespoon. If you’re in a pinch, let this guide you when choosing the right portions for each meal.
4. Swap out Some of Your Favorites
There are countless ingredient swaps you can make that cut down on calories and fat without compromising taste. Try using whole wheat flour when baking. Swap your whole eggs for egg whites. Plain Greek yogurt makes a great alternative to sour cream both by itself and in recipes. If you love your mayonnaise, try using avocado instead. Not only will it add color to your meal but also a dose of omega-3 fatty acids, magnesium, riboflavin, and several other vitamins.
5. Alternate Alcohol with Water
There’s nothing wrong with indulging in an alcoholic beverage from time to time. But alcohol is another source of empty calories. Too much and you’ll find yourself with an unwanted beer belly in no time! Not only that. Moreover, alcohol dehydrates your body, causing all sorts of medical complications. Try alternating a glass of water with every alcohol drink you have. You’ll be surprised at how much less you drink and how much better you feel.
6. Eat Your Vegetables First
When staring down your plate of protein, carbohydrates, and vegetables, try tackling the green stuff first. Filling up on vegetables first is the perfect way to get essential vitamins and nutrients and help curb your appetite. Eating your vegetables first may also keep you from eating other things on your plate. Instead of going for a second helping of carbs, take another scoop of broccoli or more spaghetti squash (another great substitute for pasta).
7. Choose Savory over Sweet
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Start your day off right and reach for a savory and satisfying meal in the morning instead of a sweet treat. Muffins, danish, and even donuts are popular breakfast foods. But the truth is, these sugary snacks aren’t the best way to start your day and will likely cause you to crash halfway through the morning. Instead, treat yourself to some oatmeal sweetened with fruit, cinnamon, or honey. Eggs are the perfect breakfast food. Paired with whole wheat toast or turkey bacon and you’ll feel fuller longer, reducing your chances of snacking later on.
8. Use a Smaller Plate
It’s all about perception when it comes to portion size. Try filling a smaller plate with vegetables, lean meats, and a healthy carb. Once you finish, take a break. If you’re still hungry, serve yourself another small portion. You’ll feel as if you had two servings when really, what you ate is equivalent (or less) than what would fill a normal sized dinner plate. This keeps you from feeling deprived and keeps your caloric intake in check.
9. Eat From Across the Rainbow
No, we don’t mean the Lucky Charms rainbow or Skittles. There are so many beautiful, colorful foods that are packed with vitamins and nutrients just waiting for you to enjoy. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be boring. Buy produce when it’s in season. Juicy oranges, bright red strawberries, and beautiful cucumbers make for great additions to any meal. When your plate is more attractive, you’re more apt to enjoy eating it! See how many colors you can eat in a day.
10. Bring Lunch to Work
Adopting healthy eating habits means understanding that you’re in control of what you eat and how much. Take control by bringing your lunch (or dinner) and snacks along to work with you. This helps you curb cravings and resist temptation. When everyone is running to the break room for donuts and bagels or indulging in pizza, you’ll have your prepackaged, healthy meal waiting for you at your desk.
Moderation is the key when it comes to successful weight loss. While you shouldn’t deprive yourself, try making healthy choices more often than not. Put yourself on the path to success by bringing healthy alternatives with you when possible.
Eating healthy not only benefits your waist line but your overall health and well-being. But it’s not a change that happens over night. It takes effort, forethought, planning, and willpower. Start with these small changes and before you know it, your old eating habits will be a distant memory.
Article Submitted By Community Writer