Rome was not built in a day and the same applies to a healthy eating lifestyle. You can start implementing one healthy eating habit at a time and observing what really works for you, but it’s all about listening to your body as well because no one knows your body better than you do. You will soon start to feel the positive results, like more energy, a better metabolism, better sleep, healthy weight loss, better moods and concentration. Below are some sure-fire ways to kickstart your healthy eating lifestyle, but remember to take it just one step at a time.
Listen to your gut
The gut acts like our second brain and can really indicate which foods are not compatible with our body. For example, if you observe that a certain food can make you bloated then you know that you should either reduce your intake of that certain food or cut it out altogether.
Prepare your food with care
Regardless of how busy you are, try and find the time to prepare at least one of your main meals of the day. Cooking a healthy dish or even preparing a simple salad for dinner is, indeed, a very creative activity, which gives you the ability to control the quantity and quality of the food that you eat. Cooking also provides a great way to interact with your guests and a nice way to catch up with family members or friends who might want to offer a helping hand!
Become a smart food shopper!
Think about the meals you want to cook over the week and make a shopping list based on the ingredients for each meal. That way you’re more likely to stick to it in the supermarket and avoid filling your trolley with things you don’t need, like chocolates and ice cream!
Indulge on life not in food!
Food deserves all of our attention as it is directly related to giving and preserving life. We shouldn’t forget that every single cell in our body requires nutrients to function and we need food to survive and nourish our body and mind. Food is not simply about the calories you take in or burn, but more about our connection to life. After all, we are what eat. So, our food shouldn’t be cheap, fake or fast. Be conscious around food and choose food that will nourish your body and mind.
Many of us demonize certain foods and even punish ourselves for indulging. Instead, positive messages like, “I’m proud that I ate responsibly today,” can reframe our relationship with food. Research shows that positive expectations are also associated with healthy eating habits and potentially, weight loss.
Use smaller plates
Plate sizes have increased over the past millennium. When it’s time to sit down for dinner, choose a size-appropriate plate or bowl. Using a smaller plate instead of a tray can make us feel fuller, even though we’ve eaten the same amount of food. This is because the brain may associate any white space on your plate with less food. Of course, smaller plates generally lead to smaller portions, which mean fewer calories too.
Eating slowly might not be achievable during a busy workday but you need to remember that the quicker you eat, the less time your body has to register fullness. So, why not slow down, and take a second to enjoy the experience?
Turn off the telly
Eating while watching television is linked to poor food choices and overeating. Getting absorbed in an episode can lead to mindless eating and make it easier to lose track of the amount of food you ate. But, not only that, TV ads for unhealthy foods and drinks have the ability to increase our desire for low-nutrient junk, fast food, and sugary beverages. So, turn that TV off and actually engage in some light conversation at a dinner table with your family, friends – or even yourself!
Eat at least five fruits and vegetables a day
Most of us still aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables. They should make up over a third of the food we eat each day as they are a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Aim to eat at least five portions of a variety of fruit and veg each day. Choose from fresh, frozen, tinned, dried or juiced. However, remember that fruit juice and/or smoothies should be limited to no more than a combined total of 150ml per day.
Beware of sugar
Adding sugar to food may increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and obesity. Stick to sugar that comes in its natural form (think fruits, veggies, and whole grains) and scrap that spoonful of sugar on your cereal or in your coffee.
Hydrate—and then rehydrate!
The UK government recommends drinking between six and eight cups/glasses of liquid a day.
Water, low-fat milk, and low-sugar or sugar-free drinks, including tea and coffee all count. Fruit juice and smoothies also count towards your fluid consumption, but they contain free sugars that can damage teeth, so limit these drinks to a combined total of 150ml per day.