Eating a balanced diet is easier said than done! With convenient fast food drive-thrus and grab-and-go foods with little nutritional value, it’s difficult to know how to eat healthier. No matter where you are in your health and wellness journey, you can apply these simple healthy eating habits to your daily routine!
1. Plan your meals ahead of time.
A great way to reduce grabbing the most convenient thing rather than a healthier alternative is to plan ahead. Never go to the grocery store without a list and try to stick to it as much as possible. This way, you can eat at home more often and even try new recipes! Meal planning can also include simple meal prep tasks like chopping vegetables and washing and cutting up fruit, making overnight oats, or cooking batches of rice to have on hand.
2. Look for sneaky sugars and salt on food labels.
When you’re at the grocery store, don’t forget to read the food labels! Many items, such as canned fruit and dried fruit, canned vegetables, sauces, soda, energy drinks, juice, coffee drinks, and condiments, contain added sugars or salt. Fresh is always best for produce, but frozen and canned make for healthy eating habits too. Look for cans that say “packed in water or 100% juice” rather than heavy syrups.
3. Swap breaded/fried for grilled/roasted.
A simple swap to make both at home and at a restaurant is to choose grilled or roasted items over breaded and fried. It’s certainly okay to enjoy fried chicken or fried fish on occasion, but choosing the healthier grilled option is better for your health in the long run.
4. Don’t give up your comfort foods completely.
One mistake many people make when it comes to healthy eating habits is that they eliminate all of their favorite “unhealthy” foods from their diet. This can be too restrictive and result in a diet that can’t be maintained; plus, you should enjoy what you eat! These comfort foods can still have a place but try to have them less frequently as a special treat. The key to eating well is balance.
5. Eat fish more often.
Fish, especially salmon, is high in essential fatty acids called Omega-3s. These nutrients are beneficial for your brain, heart, and immune system! Additionally, fish is a much leaner source of protein and should be consumed regularly. Fish is also a major component of the Mediterranean diet, a lifestyle that promotes weight control and overall health benefits.
6. Add fermented foods to your diet.
Fermented foods such as kimchi, yogurt, miso, tempeh, and sauerkraut provide live bacteria called probiotics. These active ingredients support a healthy gut and don’t allow room for harmful bacteria to grow and thrive. You can also drink kombucha for extra probiotics, but be aware of added sugar content!
7. Use this formula for snacks: fruit/veg + protein + healthy fat
Instead of grabbing a handful (or just the whole bag) of chips, use this formula for arranging your snack plate. Go ahead and add that handful of chips to your plate, but supplement that with berries or mini cucumber slices, cheese or yogurt, and some nuts. You’ll satisfy your cravings for your favorite snack while giving your body protein and healthy fats, keeping you fuller longer!
8. Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast.
Healthy eating habits should never include skipping meals. Every person’s dietary needs look a bit different, but everyone should eat 3 meals a day as well as snacks. A breakfast with plenty of protein and healthy fats is crucial fueling your body for the day ahead.
9. Swap the salt for fresh herbs and spices.
Rather than immediately reaching for the salt to season your food, consider using fresh herbs and spice blends! Things like sage, rosemary, ginger, garlic, and thyme add depths of flavor and a spark to otherwise bland dishes without the negative effects of salt!
10. Eat slowly and mindfully.
It’s easy to sit and eat in front of the TV, look down, and notice that you’ve cleaned your plate in 5 minutes. This can trick your brain into thinking you haven’t eaten enough. Missing cues of feeling full can result in late-night snacking and binging. Instead, eat slowly and take the time to enjoy the food you’re putting into your body. Check in with yourself throughout your meal and see if you’re still hungry or just feel compelled to finish your plate.
We hope you’ll try some of these 10 healthy eating habits! Are you interested in more health and wellness information from our local pharmacy? Check out these home weight loss tips that anyone can do!