Health goals are usually linked to our eating habits. The food we eat everyday can influence our health, setting small goals and changing your eating habits bit by bit daily would help you accomplish a change over time.
Here are 8 simple eating methods for you to try out, one week at a time.
1. Eat slowly
When you eat fast, you may be urged to “clean your plate” rather than be concerned about whether you are full or not. You are also more likely to be overeating and after a period of time, excess calorie intake can cause weight gain. This is because our brain needs to take up to 20 minutes to perceive that your hunger is satisfied.
Conversely, when you slow down, you are giving your brain the time to realize that you are full and this may help you feel full faster, reduce your calorie intake and improve digestion. Eating slowly also promotes chewing your food thoroughly before swallowing, this has also been associated with improved weight management.
2. Eat only when you are hungry
Eating only when you are hungry means you are not eating under stress or with any emotional feeling besides hunger. If you realize that you are more likely to eat emotionally besides hunger, you may try some stress management techniques, like yoga, meditation or deep breathing. Go for a walk or make a phone call to a friend to temporarily distract your attention on the emotions.
3. Plan at least one new healthy recipe per week.
Planning simple meals to cook at home for the week could help to save time, cost and stress. It also gives many health benefits, helps you keep an eye on your calorie and nutrients intake, and ensure you are eating a well-balanced diet.
Try to make a new healthier version of your favorite recipe at least once per week with some new ingredients and overtime you may be able to incorporate it into your daily routine.
4. Replace your refined carbs to unrefined carbs.
Carbs or carbohydrates are the daily primary source of energy to our bodies. Compared to unrefined carbs, refined carbs are lacking essential nutrients and do not offer enduring energy. Studies also show that excessive intake of refined carbs is associated with obesity and type 2 diabetes. Including unrefined carbs into your diet may provide you with a more lasting source of energy and important nutrients and fibers which helps to improve metabolic health and reduced risk of chronic disease. Unrefined carbs include vegetables, fruits, legumes and whole grains.
5. Fill “half your plate” with fruits and vegetables at each meal.
Make half your plate with fresh fruits and vegetables at every single meal, and try to eat a variety of different colors of fruits and vegetables everyday which provides phytonutrients. Phytonutrients can help to reduce risk of chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease and certain types of cancers. Every color offers numerous health benefits and there is no single color that is better than another, hence a balance of all colors is very important. The more plant-based color you include into your plate, the more likely you get the vitamins, minerals, and fibers you need and these nutrients could make you healthier. .
6. Eat your greens first.
To ensure that you are eating enough greens, eat your green first before you eat staple food and protein food on your plate. Try to finish all of your greens when you are hungry to fill your stomach first. This may help you to reduce eating unhealthy foods and control your calories better, and better control your blood sugar level. Furthermore, taking vegetables first before high carb meals could stabilize blood sugar levels better. This is because it will slow down the absorption of carbs into the bloodstream and may help both short- and long-term blood sugar control in diabetics.
7. Serve your snack on a small plate to avoid overindulging.
Most of the snacks are packed in a container or a packaging which may encourage people to eat a lot and be unconscious of the portion size. Studies have shown that larger packages are more likely to increase the intake of food than smaller packages. Try to serve your snack on a small plate or bowl rather than eating it straight away from the package, this is to avoid eating more than our bodies need.
8. Avoid skipping or delaying meals.
Avoid skipping or delaying meals as ignoring the feeling of hunger may cause you to overeat or opt for unhealthy snacks like cookies, cakes, fast food, and chips from your cabinets or convenience stores.
Going for smaller, regular meals throughout the day can help to avoid skipping or delaying meals. Always bring some healthy snacks with you like fruits, yogurt or a granola bar, so that you could consume between meals to reduce the feeling of hunger and avoid extra calories intake. Also try to gradually reduce the unhealthy snacks in your house, as this may help you make healthier alternatives.