10 Simple Steps to Healthier Eating Habits
Deep down, most people want to follow a healthier eating plan: the benefits of focusing on health and nutrition are obvious. Despite the evidence that a healthier lifestyle can make you live longer, improve your health and make you look younger, many people are still not making healthy choices for themselves. Some assume healthy eating is difficult, inconvenient, expensive, or less tasty – but these are giant myths.
Healthier eating shouldn’t be the big struggle that many perceive it to be. With the help of these 10 simple tips below, you’ll be ready to ditch your unhealthy habits and switch to a healthier diet.
1. Learn to cook
One of the biggest culprits of unhealthy eating is dining out. Getting in the habit of preparing your own meals (yes, that means packing a lunch for work!) will not only save you from ordering out, you’ll also save tons of cash by bringing your lunch and cooking for yourself.
When it comes to daily cooking, the easy option is often best. Recipes with too many ingredients can needlessly complicate things. Visit www.greatist.com/ to find some easy three-ingredient recipes that will leave you satisfied without the stress of stocking your pantry. With a few good recipes up your sleeve, there will be no excuse for ordering pizza…again.
2. Make Cooking FUN with kitchen gadgets
A common misconception of a healthy lifestyle is that it takes a lot of time and extra work. However, Crock Pots, Instapot, and Sous Vide all make healthy cooking super simple and hands-off. These devices can do the bulk of the hard work even while you’re working or running errands. Just prepare the ingredients in the morning or night before, and then leave it to cook slowly during the day. This is way easier than rushing around to cook frozen food, driving to a restaurant, or waiting for take out.
3. Shop Smarter
Using grocery delivery services and shopping for groceries online is a much healthier – and cheaper – option for many reasons. First, sites like www.citarella.com/ deliver fresh quality meats and seafood right to your door – often a wider variety (and fresher!) than you’d be able to find in your super market. When you are shopping online, you can see the Nutrition facts for each piece of meat you order – something you can’t see in the grocery store. Second, shopping online also saves you the time and headache of physically going to the store and battling the carts and checkout lines. Third, picking out your groceries online removes the temptation of throwing junk food, soda, sweets and other non-healthy temptations into your cart. You can make a conscious decision to replace unhealthy habits with healthy alternatives: Flavored Seltzer instead of Soda / Hummus instead of dip and apples and peanut butter instead of chips and crackers. Essentially, shopping online gives you a fatter wallet and a smaller waistline. Perfect!
4. Start gardening
Growing a garden is a fun hobby that can result in great tasting produce – that is completely pesticide-free! Better still, freshly grown produce tends to contain more nutrients than store-bought veggies. If you grow too much, you preserve the extras by quick pickling. When you spend time and energy growing the produce yourself, you’ll be more likely to eat well and appreciate what you’ve grown.
5. Only Stock your kitchen with healthy options
This is the easiest way to ensure you eat healthy. Most unhealthy foods are consumed impulsively when you are snacking. By only stocking your kitchen with healthy options, you eliminate the possibility that you’ll reach for junk food. Keep apples, nuts, dark chocolate, carrot sticks, hummus, avocados, bananas and peanut butter available when the mood to snack strikes. Not only will you have lots of snacking options, after about a month of “forcing” healthy choices, you wont crave the unhealthy options as much.
6. Drink water …and ditch the juice and soda
Healthy nutrition is as much about drinks as it is about food. The average person should be drinking at least eight cups of water per day, or more if you’re active. Conversely, sodas and fruit juices (even 100% organic, fresh-squeezed juice!) have loads of sugar that and can damage your insides and contribute to premature aging, inflammation, and free-radical damage. Check out www.medicaldaily.com to learn more about the effects of sugar consumption. Stick to water, unsweetened tea, and flavored seltzer. While going cold-turkey might cause intense sugar cravings, about four weeks without sugar the cravings will stop.
7. Curb cravings with vitamins
A healthy, balanced diet is crucial if you want to stay healthy. However, this isn’t the only way to gain the necessary vitamins and nutrients. In fact, vitamin deficiencies can cause intense cravings for not-so-healthy foods. Multi-vitamins, iron supplements and other dietary supplements can help you curb common cravings. If you’re unsure about which extras are right for you, consult a doctor or nutritionist.
8. If you can measure it, you can manage it
Creating a food diary may feel like an extra hassle, but it can be a crucial step toward being accountable for what you consume. Visit www.realsimple.com for tips on how to record your food intake. Once you have a record of your eating habits, you’ll be able to spot patterns and correct anything you don’t like about your diet. Moreover, knowing that you’ve got to write things down will encourage you to think twice before tucking into something you shouldn’t. Even if you just use this method for a few weeks, this is often the first step toward being accountable for your body and can have a huge impact on your journey to healthy eating.
9. Cook extra & eat leftovers
The next time you cook a healthy meal, make a double batch! If you cook extra portions and freeze some for work lunches or dinner later in the week, you’ll save loads of time, money, and hassle. You’ll have a healthy meal to eat for the next few days, and wont need to spend more time cooking, cleaning, or shopping.
10. Try Intermittent Fasting
This is a relatively newer method to keep your body functioning at its peak. Intermittent fasting works when you prolong your body’s daily fasting period. Normally you will fast for 10-12 hours while you’re sleeping: between dinner and the next day’s breakfast. You can actually harness your body’s fasting state to product some significant health and weight-loss outcomes. Here are five different type of intermittent fasting to try. By prolonging your normal “fast” by eating dinner a little earlier and breakfast a little later – for a total fast of 14-16 hours – you can kickstart your body’s fat-burning metabolism. You can learn more about metabolism at www.journal-advocate.com.
Embracing a better approach to healthy eating can feel daunting at first. In reality, though, it only takes a few weeks for those habits to become second nature. Once they do, the cravings for pizza or a trip to Dairy Queen will soon vanish. Healthy eating can be affordable, easy and time-saving with the right plan of action.
Do you have any other health eating tips? Share them in the comments below!
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