Making a change to a healthier lifestyle can be overwhelming if we think of all of the habits that we want to introduce to our daily routines. Here is a list of twelve healthy eating tips that you can slowly implement to improve your health, your mood, and your energy levels.
The first recommendation in this list of healthy eating tips is about the speed we usually ingest our food.
We are often in a hurry or distracted when we eat. We might be distracted while watching TV, or maybe working, or maybe just talking with someone.
All these might be reasons why we tend to eat too quickly, barely chewing our food.
There are a few studies that suggest that faster eating might be associated with excess body weight. (1) (2) (3)
In other studies, it has been shown that eating slowly can maximize satiation and reduce the amount of calories taken in. (4) (5)
Finally, more studies suggest that chewing more helps to reduce food intake. (6) (7)
This means that, just by taking our time when eating and chew more times, it helps to reduce our risk to eat too much.
Choose wisely when eating out
If you are trying to eat healthily, it doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a meal out. At the same time, eating out doesn’t mean that you have to eat unhealthy food.
When choosing a restaurant, make sure to choose one that has healthy options that you enjoy and you would like to order.
Avoid arriving hungry at the restaurant; then it will be easier to take the wise, AKA healthier, choice and also avoid ordering too big a quantity.
Always read the ingredient list
I think this is one of the most important recommendation in this list of healthy eating tips.
I’m not talking about the nutritional values; the percentage of sugar, carbs, proteins, etc. I’m talking about the list of ingredients because what you need to know is exactly what you are going to eat.
You’ll be surprised by the amount of foods that hide sugars in them, even savory ones. Also, keep in mind that sugars can be masqueraded with many different names: sweetener, agave, malt, maple, syrup, concentrate and any word with the suffix “-ose” (maltose, trehalose, fructose).
When reading the ingredient list, also keep in mind that the first one in the list is the one contained in the biggest quantity and the last one is presented in the smallest quantity.
Make every meal a balanced one
Try to always keep in mind the image of the balanced plate and make every meal a balanced one:
18% whole grain
7% healthy fat
Keep variety in your diet and eat the rainbow
Always avoid eating the same foods or constantly buying the same ingredients.
We all have our favorite foods, but it’s best practice to keep a variety in our diet and eat different types of fruits, veggies, proteins, whole grains and fats.
You have probably already heard about the expression “eat the rainbow”, which means that having a colorful plate full of natural ingredients, it helps to make sure that you are ingesting a variety of foods.
Plan your meals ahead
Depending on your schedule, plan what you are going to eat in advance, so that whenever you are hungry, you make sure to have food ready to be eaten.
This will avoid ending up eating the first thing we find and it will save us money by avoiding getting take-out food.
Batch Cooking and Meal Planning are two helpful strategies for planning meals and making sure to always have healthy and delicious food available.
Never get too hungry
Stay connected with your body and with your sense of hunger.
Learn the signs that your body sends you when you start to get hungry and as soon as you detect them, have some healthy food.
Waiting too long to eat, after our body needs food, it might make us lose control and makes it easy to end up eating the first thing we can get hold of, like a bag of chips or some ready-to-eat snacks.
Also, getting too hungry makes us crave junk food, believing that healthy food is not satisfying enough.
Choosing whole-grain bread, whole-grain pasta, and even whole-grain desserts is a wiser choice than eating foods made with refined-grain.
The findings in this study support the recommendation to increase the consumption of whole-grain to reduce the risk of chronic diseases and premature mortality.
The whole-grain flours provide fiber and nutrients that are not present in refined flour, which has a beneficial effect on biomarkers of systemic inflammation in obese children, as shown in this study. (8)
When choosing whole-grain, make sure to read the labels.
Food companies are required by law to add only a certain amount of whole-grain to be able to label their product as such. This means that many products are still produced with refined-grain as the main ingredient and with the addition of some whole-grain.
Drink enough water
There are studies that suggest that drinking enough water helps to reduce weight in people that are dieting for weight loss or for maintaining weight.
Have you ever felt that you are starving and the only way to satiate your hunger is only with junk food? Very often, we get that feeling because we are actually dehydrated.
Moreover, according to this study, drinking more water also helps to decrease the consumption of caloric beverages.
So, make sure to drink enough water and stay hydrated, and if you are not a huge fan of water try flavored waters like this ginger water.
Don’t go grocery shopping hungry and/or without a list
If you go to the supermarket hungry, there is a high chance that you will buy groceries according to your impulse and your hunger. As we have already stated above, when we are hungry, we tend to eat junk food.
Not having a list ready will probably cause us to buy prepared and convenient foods.
However, if you meal plan, or batch cook, you can make a list of the ingredients you need and, if you already know your grocery store by heart, you will just go straight to get only what you need.
By the way, this will make you save time and money while it will ensure that you have healthy food at home.
Chew your fruits instead of drinking them.
In my post “Unhealthy Foods: Know Them And Learn How To Substitute Them”, we have already talked about the importance of chewing our fruits instead of having it in a juice or smoothie form.
On one side, there are studies suggesting that solid foods produce more satiety than liquid foods.
On the other side, we are aware that juicing or processing food eliminates its fiber. In the case of fruits that contain natural sugar, the fiber helps our body to absorb the sugar slowly, avoiding a spike of sugar levels in our blood.
Finally, our digestion starts with the enzymes produced by our saliva when we chew our food. So, let’s make sure not to skip any step of this complex process.
Replace sugary beverages with healthy options
The last but not least of this list of healthy eating tips is about sugary beverages and drinks.
Huge coffees with added sugars, or bottled juices and beverages that usually contain added sugars, can be easily substituted by easy homemade drinks like golden milk, sugar-free chai latte, tea or ginger water.
If you like to drink different beverages other than water, take your time to prepare something yourself, or at least, make sure that what you are drinking has no added sugars. Again, read the labels!
If after reading these healthy eating tips, you feel that there are too many things that you need to change, I understand that it can be overwhelming and you might feel lost because you don’t even know where to start.
Changing eating habits is a process and doesn’t need to be done all at once, but it will be enough to take one step at a time.
If you feel that you would prefer to work with someone that can help you with this change, don’t hesitate to reach out. We can schedule a free 15-minute call so that we can see how I could be of help.
As always, I appreciate you stopping by my blog, and if you think this post might help someone you know to make even a small step to a healthier lifestyle, please don’t hesitate to share it away!
Happy Healthy Life!
A big hug,
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Claudia Canu is a former junk food and sugar addict transformed into a Health Motivator with a master’s degree in Nutrition. She has created this website not only to share her “Journey to her Healthy Forties” but also to help other busy women with basic knowledge about nutrition and who don’t love cooking, to live a healthier life, and achieve big goals.
To get in contact with Claudia, visit the contact page. To read more about her, click here.