Your body needs food every day, but the wrong kind of meals can lead to health problems. On the other hand, the risk for certain diseases such as cholesterol, diabetes and coronary issues reduces significantly if you’re mindful of what you’re eating and feeding your body. However, a tiny percentage of people have good eating habits from the beginning.
Whereas most of us have lived on junk food for a good portion of our lives and are now looking for ways to change those behaviors, there are a few who know what they should do. The truth is, changing the way you eat and the things you eat can be challenging, but the effort is totally worth it.
One of the main reasons why people can’t continue with a healthy eating lifestyle is because they think that bringing drastic changes to their habits is the only way to go. This can’t be further from the truth because according to experts, bringing small changes can make a big difference as well.
So, instead of starving yourself and swearing off every chocolate cake and ice cream, change your eating habits with the following seven things, and you’ll be able to notice changes in your health.
Know Your Portion Sizes
The suggested portion size for an adult is 1/3 protein, 1/3 complex carbohydrates, and one-half vegetables per meal. Ideally, these should be included with each of your three meals but can also be separated if you don’t feel like eating vegetables at lunch or dinner.
If you aren’t fond of veggies, then eat those first, so you don’t end up skipping them at the end of the meal. Complex carbs such as brown rice, whole wheat pasta, and quinoa should also be a part of your daily intake as these are full of fiber and help slow down the release of sugar into the bloodstream.
You should even eat in a smaller plate or bowl because according to research, reducing the size from 12 inches to 10 inches can decrease calorie intake by a whopping 22%! Along with the plate, try using a bigger fork as well because taking bigger bites can lead to eating less.
Use a Bowl or Plate for Snacks
One of the most vital problems we face today is junk food. When you sit down to watch a movie with a bag of chips in front of you, you’re bound to have it all. Research tells us that when you’re eating from a bag, your brain doesn’t signal you to stop. This is why you’re likely to eat a lot more than when you dish out the snack on a plate or bowl. Also, try to buy smaller bags of chips as opposed to the big ones, so you feel guilty about opening another. Look for recipes online that combine snacks and other healthy foods such as nuts to boost the energy and health of the meal. Also, remember that corn chips are a healthier alternative to potato chips so you can give those a try as well.
Engage in Smart Swaps
Smart swapping your ingredients as well as the food you eat is going to be rough at first but is going to change your life forever. Ditching the ‘packaged’ juice and eating half an orange in the morning can bring drastic changes to your lifestyle. Though these may look like minuscule things at first, the truth is that they will not only help in staying on track but won’t take away the flavor and nutrients.
Practice Mindful Eating
Mindful eating is where you’re aware of the taste, aroma, texture, and size of what you’re consuming. Most of us have devoted our lives to eating just because we want to without giving a second thought to the taste. Mindful eating not only helps you in controlling what you eat but also brings in a new experience that you were missing out on earlier.
If you want to have that chocolate cookie, then indulge in it entirely by enjoying it with a cup of tea or milk. The purpose of mindful eating is to know what you’re eating and enjoying every last bite, so you don’t end up having more than what you want. If you’re tempted to eat the bag of chips, make sure that it counts.
Steam Instead of Frying
Consuming fried foods such as French fries and nuggets is the main reason why we spend most of our lives eating unhealthy foods. So, instead of frying, try steaming the ingredients and invest in a good double-decker streamer, so the food is still crispy and fresh.
If you don’t like steamed meals, you can also try air frying. The point is, anything that saves you from oil intake is best.
Avoid Getting Distracted
According to a study, people tend to eat more when they are doing something else during meal times. While it’s almost impossible to eat without checking your phone or laptop after every minute, experts recommend that you avoid this practice. This is also why mindful eating is so rewarding and endorsed. Though it’s okay to enjoy a few snacks while you’re watching a movie, you should always make it a point to eat your breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the table and keep the distractions away.
Give Yourself a Treat
Finally, don’t stop yourself from having a treat once in a while. Though you may think that you’re engaging in a healthy lifestyle, studies suggest otherwise.
According to researchers, you should eat that chocolate cake, so you’re satisfied and kill the food craving but keep the calories under 150 so you don’t feel guilty about it later. Instead of eating that cheesecake combined with ice cream that has more than 500 calories in it, have a small slice of cake with one or two scoops of ice cream. Remember, depriving your body of these treats can stimulate cortisol levels, which can increase blood glucose production in your body and lead to fat storage.
Before you make any major lifestyle changes, make sure that you consult a registered dietitian or nutritionist. The good news is that most dieticians like medical practitioners are now integrating telemedicine into their practice which means you can contact them using your smartphone or laptop.
Remember, dieting and changing your eating habits are very different from each other and you should never miss out on essential food groups like carbs, fats, and protein. A nutritionist will be able to tell you what changes you can and cannot make.
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