7 Healthy Eating Habits to Try
Any health and wellness plan begins with healthy eating habits. Whether you cook your meals at home or eat on the go, the old adage that fitness begins in the kitchen is true. Food is life and every organ and body process relies on the foods you consume to function at their best. While many people find healthy eating challenging, there are some ways to create healthy eating habits beginning today. Check out these 7 tips to help you reach your health and wellness goals.
#1 Get Plenty of Protein
Some experts claim that overall, humans consume plenty of protein, yet more recent research shows that we are indeed in need of more. Many people consume adequate protein to ward off deficiencies, but increasing their protein intake would contribute to improved health. And at least one randomized controlled study found that participants who ate more protein burned more calories per day even during sleep. Even better, increased protein intake increased energy expenditure of fat instead of muscle.
To get more protein, make it a habit to include protein in at least three meals each day. While common nutritional guidelines recommend consuming 1.6-2.2 grams of protein per kilogram, consuming 2.2 to 3.4 grams of protein per kilogram can help with weight loss efforts. This translates to about 1 to 1.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Keeping track of protein intake will quickly help you become aware of how much you get each day so you can determine if it is enough.
#2 Eat More Veggies and a Variety of Fruits
Many people feel they eat enough produce, but in reality, many of us could do more. Nutritional guidelines now promote consuming 5-9 servings of a combination of vegetables and fruits each day, while many nutritional experts believe it should be closer to 10 servings per day. One serving is equivalent to about one cup, and a large salad can easily fulfill 3 servings while a breakfast of one apple and some berries can fulfill another 2 servings. Make up the rest with vegetables, snacks and side dishes around protein for the healthiest impact.
Consuming more produce is linked to a longer life free of chronic disease. In fact, the latest research indicates that consuming more than five servings of produce can reduce the risk of strokes, cancer and heart attacks, while the greatest benefit was for those who consumed 10 servings per day. Make a commitment to healthy eating habits with a daily salad of fresh produce along with fresh fruit snacks. Then add a few more vegetable side dishes throughout the day and consuming more produce will soon be your new normal.
#3 Think About Your Drink
Forget the sodas and sugar filled juice drinks, fresh water still packs the most benefits and assists your body’s natural detoxing and cleansing processes. Drinking enough water not only prevents dehydration, but can help your body maintain a normal temperature, lower your risk for constipation and kidney stones and even improve your energy levels. Start today to leave aside sodas and sugary drinks and drink more water. As drinking fresh water becomes your daily habit, sodas and other sugary drinks will naturally fall off your favorite drinks list.
#4 Plan and Prep
Eating healthy every day can be a challenge, especially when stress and life get in the way. Meal planning and prepping ahead of time makes nutritious eating easier. That’s because when healthy meals are planned and ready to eat, it reduces temptation to reach for junk foods or unhealthy snack foods.
Find healthy recipes online and create a weekly menu where you can see it each week. Do all your shopping and prep your meals for an entire week. Meals can be made easy by portioning proteins like chicken breast or lean protein and freezing them ahead of time. When you are ready, cook one portion, add a salad and a couple servings of steamed veggies and you are all set!
#5 Make a Habit of Mindful Eating
Mindful eating means to pay attention to your food. Thanks to our busy lifestyles, eating while reading, watching television or driving are the common eating habits of many people. Instead, only eat when you can focus on your meal and enjoy it. Mindful eating teaches us to pay attention to what we eat and to slow down and enjoy it. This is beneficial for portion control and choosing healthy foods, but also aids digestion. That’s because eating while under stress or in a hurry can interfere with digestive enzymes and interrupt the digestive process. Mindful eating is a healthy habit that will improve digestion and thus improve metabolism. And your mind will benefit because your mealtime will become a time to enjoy as you lower stress levels.
#6 Enjoy Healthy Fun Foods
We all need a break sometimes and mealtime has always been associated as a time for enjoyment and even celebration. But fun foods do not always have to be unhealthy. To add interest to your healthy eating plan, choose some of your favorite foods or recipes and recreate them at home with healthier ingredients. For example, skip the fast food hamburger and opt for grass fed, organic beef with plenty of fresh or sauteed vegetables to top it off. Substitute foods with heavy cream sauces by recreating the sauce with vegan ingredients. Check online for delicious ingredient swaps to make your favorite recipes healthier and you will soon find that healthy meals don’t have to leave you feeling deprived.
#7 Exercise Regularly
Exercise has always been a part of a healthy lifestyle, but it can also help contribute to healthier eating habits, too. Maintaining an active lifestyle naturally boosts energy and can improve your confidence, which will motivate you to eat healthier. Regular exercise can help reduce stress levels, which eliminates the desire for stress eating, and it can help you better manage your weight loss or fitness goals. Make exercise a habit by committing to at least 10 minutes each day and build from there. As you realize the benefits of exercise, it will be easy to make it a habit. Joining a virtual race with Yes.Fit will keep you motivated and hold you accountable in order to keep up with the healthy habit.
Healthy eating and a healthy lifestyle are within reach for all of us. But you have to commit to begin somewhere, and getting a handle on nutrition is one of the best places to start. Whether you eat at home or on the go, practice and plan your healthy eating habits and you will soon enjoy improved health and wellness.