8 tips to upgrade your eating habits to healthier ones
Making small changes in your daily diet can translate into big benefits for your physical, mental and emotional health.
Most people know that healthy and balanced nutrition is the basis for living a full life at any age. But a lack of time or ignorance often means that people eat certain foods that don’t lead to an optimal state of health and wellbeing. However, what many people fail to realise is that making small changes to their diet brings enormous benefits at all levels.
However, like all changes, they can also be overwhelming and do not happen overnight. As Melanie Waxman, Nutrition and Natural Therapies expert at SHA Wellness Clinic, explains, “incorporating healthy eating habits into your lifestyle is a basic part of ongoing self-care. But don’t try to change everything at once – pick one or two things and work on them until they become second nature in your daily life. Consistency and patience make all the difference”. Melanie shares eight tips to achieve this goal.
- Pay attention to what you eat and drink. Read food labels carefully and familiarise yourself with ingredient lists. It’s also helpful to start a food diary where you write down everything you eat throughout the day.
- The quality of food affects our energy, weight and how we feel. Food that is grown in an environmentally friendly way and cooked with love makes a big difference to your health. Go for organic, local and seasonal options and avoid ultra-processed foods.
- Be conscious of what you drink. Opt for quality water, herbal teas and vegetable juices. And make sure you drink enough water because when we get dehydrated, we tend to eat more food to compensate.
- Gradually add healthy foods to your diet instead of focusing on eliminating unhealthy foods because this can be counterproductive. Instead, adding new, healthy foods to your diet creates a rewarding feeling of having achieved a goal. Include more vegetables in your diet and try to eat a whole grain every day. For snacks, opt for berries or nuts. Substituting one food for another also helps: replace sugary soft drinks with lemon water and white rice with quinoa.
- Practice mindful eating. Forty percent of appetite regulation, calorie burning and metabolic stimulation begins before you take your first bite. Therefore, it is essential to eat without rushing, chew slowly, avoid distractions such as the telephone, television or computer, and try to identify the different aromas, textures and flavours of each food on the plate. Eating at a leisurely pace improves both digestion and metabolism.
- When you feel like snacking between meals, don’t resist because this can lead to cravings. Instead, choose a healthy option and create your own ritual. Grab a nice bowl, fill it with healthy foods, sit down, take a deep breath and enjoy the snack slowly, savouring each bite.
- When we eat is as important as what we eat. Synchronising mealtimes with the natural day/night cycle is very beneficial for health. Our metabolism is active in the morning, is in full swing in the middle of the day and slows down as the sun goes down. Try to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner at the same time each day.
- Finally, there is no need to fret if you are ever tempted to eat an unhealthy food. We all make mistakes, and a slip-up doesn’t have to ruin the end result, it just slows it down a bit. There is no such thing as a perfect body or diet and changing your eating habits is a journey of discovery. The best thing you can do is get back to a healthy routine the next day and continue your journey without looking back.