Easy Ways to Create Healthy Eating Habits
Eating a healthy diet has been proven to help prevent many chronic diseases and to also help improve and reduce symptoms for those living with a chronic illness. But I totally understand that creating new healthy eating habits can seem overwhelming - which is why I hope to help with that in this months Wellness Round Up.
Progress Not Perfection
By choosing to implement any of the healthy eating habits listed intoday's newsletter, you are helping to improve your health. The goal today is not to ask you to try all of them, but to help you choose a couple that can be carried out on a regular basis. Progress is the name of the healthy eating game, not perfection!
In fact, BJ Fogg - founder and director of the Behaviour Design Lab at Standford University - states that you can create any habit you want in your life by creating tiny habits. When it comes to healthy eating, this means working on one or two tiny healthy eating habits at first, before adding in more new ones so you know they have truly become a 'habit'.
Feel Good to Make Habits Stick
BJ Fogg states that getting new healthy habits to stick has nothing to do with motivation levels but actually making things easy and feel good. Every one of us is hard-wired to choose both of these, thankfully!
To make new habits (including healthy eating) long-lasting, we need to break them down firstly into specific behaviours that are easy - then find ways to trigger and reward them (this part is key!).
In his research, Fogg discovered that emotions create long-lasting habits - not repetition or motivation levels like we have all been taught to believe.
The best way to use emotions to help healthy eating habits stick he discovered, is by celebrating. Celebration uses emotions to create a positive feeling that wires in a new pattern.
Easy Healthy Eating Habits
Here is a list of easy to action eating habits. Remember to celebrate at the end of completing a healthy habit for the habit to truly stick!
1) Slow down your eating- Eating slowly has been proven to help people not gain weight as it allows the hormone that helps a person feel full, known as ghrelin. This can take 20 minutes to be activated and reduces the chances of overeating, especially on unhealthy processed food.
2) Choose wholegrain bread over refined - Refined bread is much lower in nutrients and fibre. In contrast, wholegrain bread is not only more nutritious but it contains fibre that helps you feel fuller sooner helping to reduce overeating and helps to keep your bowel movements regular.
3) Eat eggs for breakfast - Many people skip breakfast, but by adding in eggs, you ensure you have fuel to perform your daily tasks and reduce the chances of eating unhealthy food whilst keeping your bloodsugar healthy compared to eating cereal for breakfast as an example. Eggs also give you a good dose of choline needed for brain health that is often lacking in our diets.
4) Bake or roast food - Grilling, broiling, frying and deep frying may taste good when cooking meat or fish - however, these styles of cooking release several potentially toxic compounds linked to heart disease and cancer. Healthier methods include baking and roasting food.
5) Eat out at healthy restaurants - Eating healthy food does not mean you have to stop eating out. Just try to upgrade where you eat out and opt for healthy places. Many list their complete menu online which can help you make an informed choice.
6) Move the biscuit jar on the kitchen countertop - and in its place, fill a container (preferably transparent) with healthy snacks. It is important firstly, to make healthy food easy toaccess (this is also an example of a healthy eating trigger according to BJ Fogg).
7) Fill your fridge with healthy food, and again keepthe healthiest food at the front - within easy reach (notice a trend here?!). This is another healthy eating trigger. Keep the unhealthy foods in a harder-to-reach place, and the same goes for foods and snacks in your cupboards - keep those occasional sugary snacks way out of reach. (Better yet, do not buy them in the first place!).
8) Plan your meals for the week - by preparing a shopping list before stepping foot in the supermarket. That way, you know what fits your budget and will consciously create healthy meals when you get home with the ingredients you have bought, whilst reducing the chances of eatingunhealthy food as there won't be much of it in the house.
Unpacking What a Healthy Diet Is
A healthy diet can mean somethingdifferent depending on who you are asking. But in general it means a healthy relationship with food first and foremost; eating enough and not too little.
Eating food of all kinds from all the food groups, only excluding foods ifthere is an allergy or intolerance. In a healthy diet, healthy food is eaten most of the time, but no judgement is made on yourself if you cannot maintain this all the time.
Variety is also paramount to a healthy diet; plenty ofcolourful, fresh foods, paired with a little animal protein and healthy fats each day. This is where most of the nutrients needed to thrive can be found. Keeping salt, heavily processed foods, added sugar and trans-fat to an absolute minimum is vital too.
In its simplest form healthy food is fresh, unprocessed foods resembling as close to how they are found in nature as possible. Healthy food is minimally processed and has no added preservatives to extend its shelf life.
A Concise Reminder of Why a Healthy Diet is So Important
- A healthy diet is a diet that maintains or improves overall health.
- A healthy diet is essential for good physical AND mental health.
- A healthy diet can play a role in protecting you against many chronic non-communicable diseasessuch as heart disease, diabetes and cancer.
Are you looking to improve your healthy eating habits? I help people become independently healthy and achieve improved health by using naturopathic nutrition, herbal medicine and other complementary modalities. Please drop me an email to discuss your health concern or queryto: email@example.com.