We all know that we’re supposed to eat more fruits and vegetables, but when it comes to healthy eating habits, it’s often difficult to put this fairly general advice into action! Healthy eating provides so many benefits, such as increased energy, reduced body fat, and reduced risk of several chronic diseases. But making major changes to your diet can be overwhelming.
That’s why I’m sharing the 7 key healthy eating habits that are realistic and easy to implement.
#1 Plan your meals for the week
Planning your meals for the week doesn’t take long, and it has huge health benefits. Getting into the kitchen after a busy workday can be stressful, and if we have no idea of what we’re going to have for dinner, we’re more likely to make less healthy choices. Meal planning also ensures we’re getting a good variety of whole foods throughout the week, rather than the same meal on repeat. I pop my weekly meal plan on the fridge, it’s a super easy way of avoiding decision-fatigue after a long day!
#2 Have a list when you hit the grocery store
Have you ever gone to the grocery shop to get one thing, then left with everything BUT the thing you originally went there for? I’m sure I’m not the only one! Not only is it tricky to rely solely on memory, but not bringing a list means you’re more likely to grab the snack foods you don’t really need and did not intend to purchase.
#3 Eat your salad or vegetables first
Studies have also shown that vegetables can help with keeping your weight down as your insulin spikes are inhibited, and as many of us are aware, insulin is the fat-storage hormone. Also, vegetables are full of fibre, which makes you full quicker, which reduces the chances of overeating if you pay attention to your hunger cues.
#4 Start your day with a balanced breakfast
You don’t need to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, but when you do “break your fast”, make sure your meal includes a good balance of protein, carbs and fats. So many people say they feel much better throughout their whole day if they make a good breakfast choice, such as a smoothie, or oats with added protein powder. For me, I like to exercise before breakfast, which makes it extra important that I follow up with some protein and carbs for muscle growth and recovery. Fat is also important for a healthy brain and body – just remember that it contains more calories per gram than carbs and protein, so you don’t need a lot of it.
#5 Enjoy the foods you eat – even if you’re on a diet
Even if you’re on a diet, it’s important to enjoy your food. If what you’re eating is so bland that you’re unable to enjoy it, maybe consider that you’re being too restrictive, or that you might benefit from Googling some new healthy recipes. Sitting down at the table and really savouring our food actually triggers our body’s relaxation response, which in turn relaxes the muscles in your gastrointestinal tract and increases digestive juices!
#6 Drink more water
Our bodies are made of mostly water, so it makes sense that we need a lot of it for good health! There are heaps of studies showing that drinking more water is beneficial for weight loss. This is most likely due to several factors, including a reduction in high-calorie drinks such as fruit juice and fizzy drink, a reduction in mistaking your thirst for hunger (which is quite common), and some people also claim that drinking water before a meal reduces their appetite. It’s also worth noting that if you’re dehydrated, you won’t have optimal recovery from exercise. Just another reason to drink more water!
#7 Avoid Cheat Days
I’m not saying you shouldn’t enjoy yourself or have takeout occasionally, but it’s best to not overdo it. “Cheat days” can really throw you off your health goals, and they can encourage unhealthy eating habits. Instead, allow yourself to have takeaway just for one or two of your meals each week (e.g. you might have takeaway on Saturday night for dinner, and go out for lunch on Sunday). You want your normal eating routine to be “normal” even on weekends, but you may choose to relax a little. The trick is to not overdo it.
While you’re building new healthy eating habits, why not make planning your workouts easy, too? Sign up for my free monthly workout plans. If you’d like to do some follow-along workouts with me, make sure you subscribe to my YouTube channel and tick the notification bell, so you never miss a new workout.