The new year has already started, but it’s never too late to start developing healthy eating habits. As you already know, healthy eating comes with a wealth of benefits beyond weight loss — such as reducing risks of cancer and heart-related problems. As noted in Better Health, it also lifts your mood and decreases symptoms of anxiety. Indeed, there are several reasons to start eating better — but of course, it isn’t always easy to choose apples over potato chips. If this happens to be one of your new year’s resolutions, here are some tips to help you develop healthier eating habits.
Get enough sleep
Sleep regulates hormone levels. As such, lack of sleep causes higher levels of the hormone ghrelin, which is tied to feeling hungry. Not getting enough sleep affects how we think about food; we perceive it as a reward, and we become more prone to choosing unhealthy, high-calorie foods. Our 5 Helpful Tips to Improve Sleep article suggests avoiding caffeine after midday, as it is a stimulant that can stay with you for 8-14 hours. Also, aim to not use your devices an hour before you sleep, since they give off blue light that will make it hard for you to get shut-eye.
Mindful eating is exactly what it sounds like: paying extra attention to the food and drinks that you consume. HelpGuide’s article on mindful eating explains how this can help you avoid overeating. After all, when you’re more focused on your meal, you can savour each bite even more and know exactly when you’re full. Often times, when we don’t eat mindfully, it becomes easy to get carried away. You might even be using eating as a coping mechanism when you’re stressed, instead of a way to nourish yourself when you’re hungry. Again, mindfulness is key.
Set healthy boundaries
Eating habits and health are personal, so you shouldn’t copy off anything you see on the internet without basis — whether it’s a new diet fad or trendy detox. Instead, consider consulting a nutritionist to determine what diet would be best for your lifestyle. Of course, you should be forgiving enough to allow yourself to be flexible; if you’re exhausted one day, let yourself eat more to help your body recover from the fatigue. There’s no need to deprive yourself of your favourite ice cream or cake completely — just know how to eat in moderation. This is better than avoiding them for a long time then ending up binge-eating because you can’t help yourself.
Enlist the help of vitamins and supplements
When your body lacks the necessary vitamins and minerals to function, this can lead to cravings and bad eating habits. Poor nutrition doesn’t automatically mean not eating a lot of food, it also stems from overeating the wrong kinds of food. While food is always the best source for vitamins, Pretty Me’s article on the Detoxi Slim Plus reveals that supplements are a convenient way to incorporate them into your lifestyle. Many of them contain nutrients like fibre, green tea extract, and psyllium husk, which you may not always easily find in food. However, take note that you still need to combine them with a healthy diet in order for them to work.
Fill up with fruits and vegetables
Fruits and vegetables are the safest bets for a healthy diet. For instance, leafy greens are low in calories, but they are very high in vitamins, minerals, and fibre. Spinach has high amounts of vitamin A, calcium, and an adult’s full daily requirement of vitamin K. Medical News Today also lists twelve “powerhouse” fruits that have low calories but high nutrient density. Lemons rank number one, as it’s loaded with vitamin C, potassium, and other antioxidants. You’ll never run out of healthy food options.
It might be difficult to start healthy eating habits. But once you manage to religiously follow them every day, they eventually become a natural part of your lifestyle — just remember to do it for yourself.
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Blog article written by Annie Robyn for thebodyrefinery.com.au