Eating habits, particularly bad eating habits, can easily become the thing that hinders your weight loss or fitness goals if you’re not careful. Whether you’re dieting or not, healthy eating habits are paramount for your overall health and well-being. But why does it seem so hard to change eating habit issues?
If you’re looking to change your eating habits, you may find it much easier with a few of these helpful tips and tricks. They may help make day by day food choices a little easier.
Do You Need To Change Your Eating Habits?
This question may be tough to answer. If you’re eating a fair amount of fruits and veggies throughout your daily meals, you may be thinking that you’re on the right track when it comes to your eating habits. But if you find yourself feeling sluggish or just not feeling your best, changing your eating habits could prove helpful.1
Here are some common bad habits when it comes to eating:
- Eating too fast
- Always cleaning your plate
- Eating when you’re not hungry
- Emotional eating
- Frequently eating dessert
- Meal skipping2
If you find yourself identifying with some of the unhealthy eating habits on this list, it may be time to consider changing your eating habits.
In fact, research suggests that healthy eating and regular exercise might help improve your overall mood.3 If you’re unsure if you’ve formed a bad eating habit, or if you want to make some changes in your current food habits, keep reading.
Common Diet Mistakes That Lead To Unhealthy Eating Habits
If you’re dieting, you might think that your eating habits are already healthy. But there are some potential pitfalls to keep in mind and avoid to be sure you’re getting the most out of your diet regimen.
- Not keeping track of your food intake: Research has shown that those who keep track of their food intake while dieting are more successful than those who don’t.4 A great, simple way to start adjusting your eating habits is by keeping a food diary and detailing what you eat. It can be helpful to see just what you’re eating throughout the day so you can make healthier choices moving forward.
- Night eating: It’s easy to not think anything of grabbing an evening snack, especially if it’s considered “healthy.” Although it’s true that it’s not always about when you eat but what you eat, try to cut back on the night snacking if you can.5
- The snack trap: Feeling peckish? You may find it harder to choose healthier snack options when your pantry is stocked full of chips and cookies and nutrition is seemingly thrown out of the window. The next time you’re at the grocery store, try stocking up on healthier foods, like fruit, veggie trays, and whole grains. When you have healthier options in your fridge, you may find yourself reaching for an apple rather than devouring a bowl of sugary cereal.6
Enacting Healthier Eating Habits: Meal Prep And Healthy Snack Ideas
One simple way to start creating better eating habits is to consider meal prep, especially when it comes to snacks. Not only can meal prep help you budget your groceries and save you some time, it may also help with portion control and a more balanced diet.7
Meal prep can be particularly beneficial when it comes to packing your lunch, ensuring that you have a healthy meal to eat at work throughout the week. However, if you’re looking for healthier snack options to incorporate into your daily diet rather than your typical junk food, here are some ideas to consider:
- Mixed nuts: Nuts offer a great range of potential health benefits.8 Plus, they’re delicious. They’re also a great option to keep you full when the afternoon munchies hit and you won’t be able to eat dinner for a while. Grab a few of your favorite nuts, mix together in a baggie, and even add some spices for a little something extra.
- Greek yogurt: Plain Greek yogurt packs its own nutrient-rich punch, but sprinkle in some berries or mixed nuts and you’ve got a delicious, satisfying snack that can’t be beat. The yogurt provides some protein, the berries are loaded with antioxidants, and the best part is that it doesn’t break 200 calories.9
- Apple slices and peanut butter: If you’re looking for something a little sweet and salty, this is the snack for you. Apples are a great fruit and source of fiber, and there’s plenty of protein to be found in peanut butter.10
- Avocado: Avocados are a healthy, nutritious fat to incorporate into your diet.11 Top it with some spice, graba favorite vegetable (or, better yet, multiple veggies) to scoop some guacamole, or use avocado to top off some whole grain toast for a tasty, mid-afternoon pick up.
Next time you find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack or unhealthy food, perhaps reconsider. Even some processed foods or meat may seem healthy but are not the best thing for your overall nutrition. Some research may be in order if you’re curious about the nutritional benefits of some veggies or healthy snacks.
Can Physical Activity Affect Unhealthy Habits?
While healthy eating habits are important, staying active while trying to make healthier choices might actually boost your ability to make better food choices. One study published in the International Journal of Obesity found that in a group of over 2,500 young adults, their desire to choose healthier foods increased as they exercised over a 15-week period.12
When you start to exercise more, you might become more aware of the diet choices you’re making. So, if you’re looking to change your habits, but you’re not quite sure where to start, try increasing the amount of physical activity you’re getting each week alongside your healthy food choices. You may find that you start craving veggies as time passes.
Healthy Choices For Healthy Change
Ultimately, healthier choices may lead to a healthier lifestyle. The food you eat matters, and good nutrition can go a long way, no matter where you’re at on your fitness or wellness journey. Swapping the junk food, like ice cream and sugary drinks, for a plate of fresh fruit or other whole foods not only helps reframe your unhealthy eating habits, it might help lay the groundwork to help you make healthy choices beyond just snacks.
Regardless of how you decide to incorporate healthier food into your diet, good habits will always be a great way to ensure you’re feeling and achieving your best self, whether that’s maintaining a healthy weight or combating weight gain.
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