It’s no secret that America is facing a health epidemic. The vast majority of our citizens, over 71 percent, are either overweight or obese. This can lead to severe health complications such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, and even some types of cancer.
However, while losing weight may seem simple on paper, it’s anything but. The solution lies in learning how to change eating habits. We have infinite amounts of high-calorie, highly-processed foods available to us at all times.
The worst part is that these foods are incredibly addictive, awfully convenient, and typically inexpensive.
If you’re struggling with your weight or other health issues, remember that you’re not alone. In fact, you have the experts here at Huetrition on your side. Check out some of our webinars to get expert advice on fad diets and healthy eating. Let’s talk about how we can change your eating habits for the better.
Top Bad Eating Habits
First, let’s discuss some of the most common poor eating habits people get sucked into. These habits can lead to a massive excess in calories and can lead to health complications.
Drinking Your Calories
One of the best things you can do to change eating habits is to become more conscious about where your calories are coming from. For example, many people consume hundreds, if not thousands, of calories a day through their beverages. Coffees, juices, sodas, and energy drinks can contain hundreds of calories, and this is usually better than eating a full-on meal.
Relying on Convenience Foods
Additionally, most people get wrapped up in their busy lives with work, family, hobbies, and other responsibilities. It’s all-too-easy to fall back on convenience foods. Fast food, restaurants, and pre-packaged meals are convenient but incredibly unhealthy.
Instead, prepare your healthy meals and snacks ahead of time so you can control what meals you have available to you throughout the day at work or at home.
Not Knowing the Difference Between Healthy and Unhealthy Foods
Another problem is that the majority of us don’t know the difference between healthy and unhealthy. For example, just because something says “low fat” or “low sugar,” it doesn’t actually mean it’s good for you. Many fall into the trap of buying these foods and wrongfully assuming they’re being healthy.
Not Using Portion Control
Lastly, one of the biggest issues concerning our diets is over-consumption. With so many high-calorie foods around us, it’s incredibly easy to overeat. Most people don’t worry about portion control, they simply eat whatever is on their plate, regardless of how much is there.
What to Avoid in Your Diet
To change eating habits for the better, we need to talk about the foods you should avoid in your diet. Remember, you don’t have to swear off indulgence foods forever, but you definitely need to limit them on a daily basis.
High-Sugar Drinks and Foods
Consuming food and drinks high in sugar is a major contributing factor to increased body fat and a precursor to diabetes. When a massive amount of sugar enters your body, your body doesn’t have anything to do with all that energy. Since it can’t immediately use it, your body stores that energy, turning it into fat.
Foods to avoid include:
- Soda, sugary coffees, juices (even whole juices), and energy drinks
- Cakes, pastries, donuts
- White flours, cereals, and grains (white bread, white rice, white pasta)
- Candy, candy bars
Foods High in Fat
You should also avoid fatty foods in your diet. While these things taste great, they’re terrible for our arteries and overconsumption can lead to heart disease and potential strokes.
This includes things like:
- Heavy creams
- Fatty meats (pork, hamburger, bacon, sausage, ham)
- Ice cream
What to Include in Your Diet
Now, let’s talk about the foods you want in your diet to change eating habits for the better. The more of these foods you can consume on a daily basis, the more your health will benefit.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are packed with vitamins and minerals our bodies need to flourish. A good rule of thumb for choosing vegetables for your daily consumption is to get as many colors of the rainbow as possible.These food groups are a big part of our healthy and colorful eating guide, which is currently available on Amazon.
Whole grains such as whole grain oats, brown rice, whole-wheat bread, and whole wheat pasta are better for you than their white counterparts. These foods have more fiber, which slows down the digestive process, distributing the breakdown of energy over a longer period of time. This prevents insulin spikes and excess fat storage.
Lean meats refer to meats with low-fat. This includes chicken, turkey, some game meats, and leaner cuts of beef. There are also some types of fish which are very low in fat. These sources provide plenty of protein while limiting your total caloric intake.
Finally, there is such a thing as healthy fats. Our bodies rely on healthy fats to give us energy, lubricate our joints, promote cell growth, and more. Some examples of healthy fats include avocados, salmon, nuts, seeds, coconut oil, and more.
How Often to Eat
One of the best ways to change eating habits for the better is to incorporate a manageable eating schedule. But how often should you eat?
We suggest people eat five to six times a day. While that may sound like a lot of food, the key is to manage your portion control, which we’ll cover below. Your day should look something like this:
- A mid-morning, healthy snack
- A mid-afternoon, healthy snack
- A light snack before bed (optional)
How to Portion Your Food
By following the formula above, you can avoid overeating at any given meal and distribute your calories more evenly throughout the day. Once again, the key is governing your portion control.
Calculate how many calories you need throughout the day and divide them up throughout your five or six meals.
Trusting Yourself With Food
Finally, one of the most important ways to change eating habits for the better is to establish a better relationship with food. Many of us who have struggled with weight control have begun to see food as the enemy.
However, food isn’t the enemy, poor eating habits are. Our goal should be to establish a solid eating program detailing what we should eat, how much, and at what times in the day.
However, to trust ourselves with food, we can’t look at this dietary plan as a restriction, as that will only lead to feeling oppressed and relapsing back into old habits. Instead, find ways to prepare healthier foods so you can truly enjoy them and look at these new eating habits as a choice instead of an obligation.
Practice positive affirmations such as “I am choosing to eat this because I care about my health,” rather than “I have to eat this because I need to lose weight.”
We Are Here to Help You Change Eating Habits for the Better
If you’re ready to change eating habits for the better but aren’t sure if you can do it on your own, we can help. Most people struggle, at least initially, to set themselves up with good eating habits. It’s okay, it’s totally natural.
We have a ton of options for people looking to improve their lives. If you need some one-on-one attention, consider a 90-day consultation with one of our amazing dietitians. Good luck, we’re rooting for you!
At HueTrition, we dedicate ourselves to helping you stay healthy, whether it’s from providing nutritious recipes, providing fun games, or giving expert advice. In fact, we even have a complete guide on how to make healthy and colorful eating fun for kids of all ages, available at Barnes & Noble now.