The word “healthy” can mean something different to each person. So, how do you develop healthy eating habits for you?
In this article, you’ll find five expert-approved good eating habits that anyone can tailor to their own wellness routine. Read on to find the top eating healthy habits to implement into your personal routine today!
Why Healthy Eating Habits Are Important
Good health is inseparably linked to good nutrition. A healthy diet is key to protecting against many chronic diseases, including:
• Metabolic syndrome
• Heart disease
What makes good nutrition difficult for some people is that a healthy diet isn’t just made up of one healthy food. A balanced diet consists of variety, in other words, a combination of different healthy foods.
This is great news, as it means that healthy eating is anything but boring as some may picture it to be. Tailor your diet to meet needs and when in doubt, meet with a dietitian to help customize your healthy meal plan.
How to Develop Healthier Eating Habits
There are many tools at your disposal today to help with your healthy eating journey. Use the following tips for implementing a wellness routine that works for you.
1. Use Your Time Wisely
Some people have 2 hours a day for wellness and others have 2 minutes. Whatever your timetable looks like, make time for healthier living. This may mean scheduling it out on your calendar or setting reminders on your phone.
As mentioned above, a dietitian or other health professional can help you to stay on track. Many people find signing up for a class or professional help a way to more easily invest time in an activity that promotes wellness. Others prefer self-guided courses or self-taught skills.
Whatever it looks like, find a time and routine that works well for you and allows you to make time for your wellness.
2. Have an Accountability Partner
Healthy habits are often easier to keep when you aren’t trying to keep them alone. Ask a friend, spouse, or family member to join you in your journey to better eating.
At the very least, ask them to hold you accountable for your goals.
3. Utilize Technology and Tools
Thank goodness for technology! Many phones, smartwatches, and more devices have built-in measures to help you track your daily steps towards success. Remember, these tools are perfect and shouldn’t promote an obsessive attitude toward health.
They can, however, be helpful in sending reminders and offering check-ins. Some even encourage you to join communities that can help you feel less alone in your path towards health.
Consider enlisting in an online class, exercise session, or virtual support system if you haven’t before. These can be enriching ways to elevate your wellness routine.
Healthy Eating Habits to Start Today
Ready to get started? Here are five healthy eating habits to start today.
1. Switch From Processed Meat to Lean or Plant-Based Options
Processed meat is the culprit for many health-degrading compounds, including nitrates (linked to cancer). Highly processed meat can also contain unnecessary amounts of salt that can increase the risk of heart-related diseases.
Instead, look to low-sodium leaner cuts of meat (i.e. turkey, chicken, ground beef) or even consider plant-based options (i.e. bean-based burgers with low to no amounts of additives).
2. Add a Serving of Fruit or Vegetables to Your Day
Fruit and vegetables add much-needed antioxidants to your day. However, studies show just 1 in 10 Americans are getting the recommended fruit and vegetable intake daily!
It can be tempting to reach for coffee or candy with added sugar when you need energy. However, try your favorite fruit or vegetable with a healthy homemade dip to keep the energy at bay and cravings away! Other healthy snack ideas include apple slices and peanut butter, hummus and carrot sticks, and Greek yogurt topped with berries.
3. Be Mindful of Mindless Eating
It’s so easy to eat too much or too little when you allow yourself to get distracted. Instead of getting sidetracked, try eating intentionally, which has been shown to support healthier eating habits.
Turn off nearby screens (i.e. TVs or phones) and pay attention to hunger and satiety (fullness) cues that your body is sending you. It might sound silly, but act like you are on a date with your meal and give it your undivided attention!
4. Eat Breakfast
Did you know that the simple practice of eating breakfast can promote more healthy choices throughout the day? Particularly in children, it’s linked to maintaining a healthy weight, better performance in school, and even more benefits.
Start teaching this practice young, and don’t forget that it is never too late to start a healthy eating habit.
5. Explore Herbs and Spices
Many people are heavy-handed with the salt shaker. While it is an excellent and versatile seasoning, salt can worsen certain health problems.
Instead, explore other herb and spice combinations that can enhance your food while also elevating the health of your meal.
A Final Word On Effortless Eating Habits
As you can see, healthy eating habits are simply a series of simple swaps. It can be as easy as replacing a less healthy habit with a healthier one.
Start today to improve your eating by picking one of these five healthy habits to begin.
Ellis E. Power Up with Breakfast. EatRight. Reviewed March 2021. https://www.eatright.org/food/planning-and-prep/snack-and-meal-ideas/power-up-with-breakfast.
Healthy diet. World Health Organization (WHO). https://www.who.int/initiatives/behealthy/healthy-diet.
Johnson A. Sticking with It! Maintaining Healthy Lifestyle Changes. EatRight. Published February 10, 2022. https://www.eatright.org/health/wellness/healthy-habits/sticking-with-it-maintaining-healthy-lifestyle-changes.
Manaker L. 20 Top Healthy Eating Habits, According to a Dietitian. EatingWell. Published January 2022. https://www.eatingwell.com/article/7938737/top-healthy-eating-habits-according-to-a-dietitian/.