Developing healthy eating habits is something that can be easier said then done. I know that most of us want to eat healthier so that we can feel better and enjoy life more but actually putting that into practice can be a challenge.
The thing is that eating healthier doesn’t have to be that difficult if you come up with a good healthy eating plan and put it into practice a little bit at a time. I think a lot of times people try to do too much at once and end up getting overwhelmed and then abandon their plans for eating healthier.
But it really does pay to try to change your eating habits because the benefits of eating healthy are so wonderful. Looking better, feeling better, having a better chance of avoiding disease, losing weight and even living longer are the wonderful rewards you can get for simply changing the way you eat.
How To Start Eating Healthier - 7 Tips For Developing Healthy Eating Habits
1. Make Small Changes
When people adopt a new healthy eating plan, they often try to change everything about their eating habits all at once. This can be problematic because it gets overwhelming and you can feel like you’re depriving yourself at every meal which is why I think it is better to make small changes one at a time.
Start by trying to make one little change towards eating healthier, such as eating a more balanced breakfast. If you usually grab a donut and coffee on the way to work, you might try getting up a little earlier and making some egg whites on whole-wheat toast and fruit cup. It doesn’t have to be breakfast, pick any meal or snack and just make it a little healthier. Keep up this healthy eating habit for 2 weeks and don’t make any other changes during that time.
Then, once this change becomes a regular habit, take another meal or snack and switch to a healthier version of it.
By learning how to start eating healthier, one small change at a time, you will be able to develop that change into a habit and once the new change becomes a habit, then you can make another change which will eventually develop into a habit. Over time you’ll find that you have adopted a total healthy eating plan in a painless way.
2. Don’t Deprive Yourself Of All Your Favorite Foods
One big mistake a lot of people make is that they try to go whole hog and deprive themselves of all their favorite foods that they’ve been used eating for years. Well if you do this, of course you’re going to feel deprived and miserable!
In keeping with step 1, I suggest that you still eat some of those foods while incorporating your new healthy eating habits into your daily routine. You be surprised at how good you feel and how easily you can adapt to eating those healthier meals when you know you can still have some of your unhealthy comfort foods later in the day.
The cool thing about this is that you will find that once you start experiencing the benefits of eating healthy, you naturally start to gravitate towards eating healthier foods and you may not even want so many of those unhealthy treats that you used to crave so much.
3. Make A Healthier Substitution
One way to develop healthy eating habits is to still eat the same types of foods that make them a little bit healthier. For example, if you love brownies and you crave chocolate you don’t have to cut them out of your diet altogether you can make healthier brownies like these chocolate pumpkin brownies that will satisfy your craving but in a healthier way.
You can make these healthier substitutions by cooking your own food and using healthy ingredients such as making your own breads with oat flour or other healthy flours or you can make healthier choices like eat quinoa instead of pasta or have oven baked sweet potato fries instead french fries.
Everyone has about 6 or 7 main meals that they eat most of the time. Take a look at your main “go-to” meals and see where you can make some healthier substitutions. This is an easy way to start learning how to start eating healthier and to develop life long healthy eating habits without really changing the things that you eat.
4. Add In Smoothies
We all know that eating fruits and vegetables is important for good health but I bet that you probably don’t eat as many as you should. The truth is you should be getting at least 7 cups of fruits and vegetables a day but the more you can get the more you will experience the benefits of eating healthy so you might as well get as much and as you can!
I‘ll be the first to admit that it’s hard to eat that many fruits and veggies in a day but one way you can make it easier is to incorporate smoothies into your daily eating plan.
Smoothies are a great way to get some of those vegetables that you don’t really like to eat into your body and are probably one of the best healthy eating habits that you can adopt. I like to use the Vita mix which is a really high-powered blender but probably any good quality blender would do. What I do is I put things like kale and other leafy greens into the blender along with fruit such as watermelon, grapes ad bananas to cut through the bitter green taste.
The blender pulverizes 4 cups of fruit down to about 2 cups and it keeps all the healthy fiber, vitamins and minerals just the same as if you ate them from a plate. You’d be amazed at how much of the stuff you can fit into a glass and it usually tastes pretty good!
Smoothies can be made out of any fruit or vegetable you want and you can add juices or even something like coconut milk if you want to be sweeter. Adding some ice cubes and will help make it thicker as well as cold. Try incorporating 2 smoothies day into your healthy eating plan and you be adding a ton of fruits and vegetables and also a lot of fiber because chopping them up in the Vitamix or blender retains the fiber as well.
5. Avoid Unhealthy Situations
We all have certain situations that throw our healthy eating plans out the window. Maybe you can’t resist getting a cannoli from the bakery on the corner or those fried mozzarella sticks at the bar you go to after work, or your aunt Mae’s pound cake. One way to develop healthy eating habits is to avoid these unhealthy situations until you can get your cravings under control.
I am not saying you have to avoid this stuff forever because it may be an important part of your life that you enjoy, but being able to eat in moderation and control your cravings is part of eating healthier and you find that the more healthy stuff you eat the easier it is to control those cravings so avoiding situations that you know will make you splurge might be wise for the first few months of learning how to start eating healthier.
6. Portion Control
If you are looking to adopt a healthy eating plan so that you can lose weight then portion control is probably something you need to address. Here in the U.S. we’ve become accustomed to gigantic portions because we have the notion that more is better. But the truth is those giant restaurant plates that you get could really be made into 3 or 4 meals.
When you sit down any meal, you should make sure that at least half your plate is filled with vegetables. And you should have a lean protein that is about the size of your palm. Maybe a little starch to go with it if you are so inclined. All in all, your whole meal should be able to fit comfortably on one of those small 6 inch salad plates so the next time you dish out the big helping for yourself, try to keep the portion in mind.
One interesting trick that I learned from a friend who had lost a lot of weight was to simply eat half of what you normally would eat. So if you would normally have 2 pieces of pizza, just have one. If you would normally eat a whole bowl of pasta, only eat half. Of course, you want to also be making healthy substitutions in what you eat at the same time!
7. Try To Convert Your Family
Enjoying the benefits of eating healthy isn’t something you just want for yourself, you wanted for your family to, right? And it’s a heck of a lot easier to come up with a healthy eating plan if you can include their meals in it as well.
The problem is that your family might not be on the same page as you are when it comes to eating some of these newer healthier foods so what you need to do is introduce some to these types of meals slowly. Just like I talked about in step 1 of making little changes for yourself you want to do this for your family to. You may even be able to integrate these healthy eating habits into their regimen without them even knowing!
Developing healthy eating habits can be a long process but one that is well worth the effort. When you start to experience the benefits of eating healthy such as more energy better looking skin and even a happier mood you will see that you want to eat more and more healthy foods. Learning how to start eating healthier really isn’t that difficult, so why not start with some of these suggestions today? You’ve got nothing to lose and everything to gain!
P.S. Don’t forget to pick up my book on healthy herbs and spices – it has over 70 recipes that you can use to make healthier versions of your favorite foods for only $3.99! (You can even read on your PC, iPhone or tablet even if you don’t have a kindle using the free kindle readers!)