In our stressful and busy lives, it is easy to fall into habits of bad eating. However, it isn’t impossible to break free of old bad habits and develop healthier ones.
If you are serious about changing in changes in your health and diet, don’t get comfortable in unhealthy ways. With some determination, reasonable goals and a few simple rules, from the health and nutrition specialists we have here, you can find yourself on the road to achieving a healthier lifestyle.
“As a registered dietitian who specializes in teaching corporations and private clients about cooking at home and meal preparation, I find the easiest healthy changes come when a person learns how to make their own meals at home. That is not to say you can never enjoy a restaurant or packaged food again, but when you learn to cook more of your own meals, you are in control of what goes into these meals and how much of any given item.
“For example, I made a berry crisp this past weekend and I was able to modify the added sugar and use better quality ingredients like higher quality oils and flours. When you purchase those items from a store, you never really know exactly what you are getting! Not to mention the sense of accomplishment from doing it on your own.”
Carrie Gabriel MS, RDN, Steps2Nutrition
“If you don’t buy junk, you won’t eat junk. It’s just that simple. Start by purging your pantry of all highly processed foods and convenience foods. This includes things with ingredients that sound like a chemistry experiment: ascorbic acid, high-fructose corn syrup, potassium chloride, sodium caseinate, silicon dioxide, and xanthan gum. Another rule of thumb is to ditch food that your great-grandmother wouldn’t recognize. These foods have been engineered to get you to systematically overconsume- there’s a reason you can’t eat just one. When in doubt, apply this metric: If it comes from a plant, eat it, and if it was made in a plant, pitch it!”
Kim Lieb, Marketing Ninja at k101 Consulting
“Find food that you like to eat that are low calorie and are high density. This will make you feel full so you won't crave that have a lot of calories but don't make you feel full. Also, get rid of any trigger foods in your pantry and fridge that you know love to binge on. Replace these trigger foods with healthy alternatives. You can find tons of low-calorie food options for the foods you love.”
Justin Parker, Co-Owner Coolhomeliving.com
“Eating habits are often ingrained at a young age, and we might not be aware of them until many years (or decades!) later. For instance, many of my clients have realized that they have a tendency to clean their plates because their parents made them do so when they were younger before they could leave the table. While wasting food isn't ideal, eating food just to clean your plate, even if you're satisfied hunger-wise, definitely isn't ideal either.
“To help rid yourself of these tendencies to over-eat, I like to encourage the use of mindfulness, which involves checking in with yourself before and during eating. Ask yourself - am I truly hungry, or am I just bored/tired/emotional? If you are hungry, rate the hunger on a scale from 1-10 - if your hunger is only coming in at a 3 (ten being the hungriest you've ever been), then you may do well to wait until that number is closer to a 6 or 7. This can help bring awareness to why you eat, which often is for reasons other than true hunger.
“The same goes for while you're eating a meal. Check in while you're working on the food on your plate and ask yourself if you're satisfied. If the answer is yes, then it's fine (and healthy!) to push the plate away, even if there is food left on it.”
Diana Gariglio-Clelland is a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist at NextLuxury.com
“How to get rid of it: Engaging yourself in some physical activity is the best way to curb boredom eating. You can also get busy while pampering yourself with some skincare or hair care activities. These might include making and putting on a hair mask, giving yourself a manicure or trying new hairstyles.
“How to get rid of it: Mothers should serve food to their children in small portions and plates so that they don’t have to eat the remaining food. They can also wear rubber gloves while cleaning the table as it will restrict them to eat extra food.
“How to get of it: Limit the stocking of unhealthy snacks around you. The only way to avoid tempting food is to keep them out of your reach. As an alternative, keep healthy snacks around you, such as fruits, salad, nuts, etc.
“How to get rid of it: Eat in smaller portions while taking small bites and chew your food properly. Drinking a glass of water before your meal also helps you to maintain satiety.”
Amber O'Brien is a well-experienced Dietitian working at MangoClinic
“Make meal planning and cooking at home with mostly whole foods a priority. It’s nearly impossible to improve your overall wellness without consuming more vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and healthy fats. And the easiest way to make sure you’re getting quality nutrients is to cook for yourself with worthy ingredients. Preparing simple foods in advance so you have more nutritious options awaiting you when you open those refrigerator doors can also help you keep healthier options more readily available. Because what’s closest to you is likely what’s going to get eaten.” (Lisa Kiersky Schreiber)
“Consider adding foods instead of subtracting them. This can keep you from feeling deprived and make you more motivated to practice adding the good stuff. It can almost be a fun challenge to think about how you could add a tasty vegetable or lean protein to most meals. And adding these healthier choices can fill you up faster so you don’t even feel like reaching for less healthier options as often.” (Lisa Kiersky Schreiber)
“Taking super small action steps to begin developing skills can also lead to big habit changes. For example practicing mindful eating methods, like putting your fork down after every bit or eating to 80 percent full, and other techniques that can be used anywhere can make a substantial impact on your healthier eating goals.” (Lisa Kiersky Schreiber)
“Thinking of foods as being on a continuum can also help you make better choices. By considering what you’re eating as having “little nutrition,” “more nutrition,” and “most nutrition,” you can focus on eating more foods that fit the “more” and “most nutrition” categories more often, without beating yourself up for eating some foods that offer less nutrition.”
Lisa Kiersky Schreiber is a certified wellness coach and author and recently published “The Meal Deal – Blaze Your Own Trail to a Healthier Eating Lifestyle.