9 Smart Tips To Start Eating Healthy

9 Smart Tips To Start Eating Healthy August 20, 2018Leave a comment

 

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So you’ve decided you want to start eating healthy to lose weight, but the keto-paleo-cross fit diet is just too hard to commit to.  You’re not alone.

Unhealthy eating habits are hard to change. Over time, our brains have been wired to crave high-fat and sugary foods (meaning we’re actually addicted to them). Because of this, going from eating pizza and chocolate cake one day to all salads the next can be a shock to the system, making it difficult for healthy changes to stick.

Fortunately, we can actually change our tastes to enjoy the flavor of healthier foods, but this happens slowly as we eat them more and more. But it can be hard to find a place for healthy foods in our diets if we don’t also address our unhealthy habits.

Think of healthy eating as a car driving up a hill, and unhealthy eating habits as ice on the road. As you gain momentum by adding healthy foods to your diet, unhealthy eating habits will make you slip along the way, possibly derailing you from your path.

Identifying unhealthy eating habits and making changes to specifically address them will be key in creating a foundation for healthy eating. Do you struggle with overeating due to an out-of-control appetite? Are cravings often driving unhealthy food choices? Are you regularly consuming hidden calories that are secretly contributing to weight gain?

These are all good questions to ask yourself as you start your journey towards eating healthy to lose weight. But instead of biting off more than you can chew (pun intended), start by choosing to make just a few small changes that you’ll be able to stick with and build upon.

Here are 9 smart tips for how to start eating healthy to lose weight.

1. Replace sugary drinks with water.

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Goal: Reduce hidden calories

Drinking sugary beverages, like soda, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee, is a common way for extra calories to sneak into our daily diets. You may not even realize that your favorite drinks have anywhere from 250-400 calories (or more), which could be 20% of the calories your body needs in a day.

Regardless of how many sugary drinks you consume in a day, there’s positive news. Research has shown that eliminating just one serving per day can reduce body weight and improve overall health. So start by replacing just one sugary drink with a glass of water, and build from there as your cravings decrease.

2. Drink water 30 minutes before meals.

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Goal: Appetite control

It’s obvious that drinking plenty of water is a good healthy habit to adopt. But when it comes to managing your appetite, timing is also important. Drinking 16 oz (2 cups) of water 30 minutes before each meal can help you feel fuller faster, which results in fewer calories eaten per meal. This can reduce weight over time.

Keeping a water bottle at arms reach throughout the day makes integrating this change into your routine more seamless. Just make sure you don’t overdo it with the pre-meal water, for consuming too much too close to meal time can interfere with digestion.

3. Satisfy your sweet tooth with a healthy snack.

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Goal: Calm cravings

Even when you want to start eating healthier food, it’s unrealistic to think that you’d part with sweets forever.

When your sweet tooth strikes, try to tame your cravings by reaching for a healthy snack first. There are many healthier snack alternatives that taste great! And because they are generally sweetened with naturally-occurring sugars (think good carbs vs bad carbs), they are lower in calories compared to conventional desserts. Pick a few to try, and you may be surprised at how well a healthy snack can settle your sweet tooth.

4. And if that doesn’t work, have a small bite.

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Goal: Calm cravings

Eating sweets doesn’t have to be an all-or-none venture.

When it comes to our cravings, research has shown that indulging in a small bite of a sweet treat can satisfy cravings just as well as eating the full portion. In one study, people who ate a few bites (5-10 times smaller portion than the full amount) of chocolate, apple pie, or potato chips had the same reduction in cravings 15 minutes after eating as people who ate the full portion. Interestingly, both groups were equally satisfied.

So don’t feel like you have to completely miss out on your favorite desserts. Take a bite or two and wait for 15 minutes… it may be just enough to calm that craving.

5. Choose grilled over fried.

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Goal: Reduce hidden calories

When foods are fried in oil, they absorb a lot of fat, and the extra calories that result from the high fat content leads to weight gain. This is true even for foods that are naturally low in fat, like chicken and shrimp.

Grilled foods have lower fat content compared with fried foods because the natural fat is able to drip away as the food cooks. Thus, choosing a grilled food option means you’ll be able to eat larger portions and feel fuller all while consuming less overall calories. Here are 31 grilled meat recipes to consider.

6. Slow down at meal time.

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Goal: Appetite control

Appetite is complex. One of the trickiest aspects of controlling appetite relates to “satiation”, or the the end of desire to eat after a meal has begun. A stomach that is full of food is only part of what ends our desire to continue eating. To make us feel satisfied, the stomach must also send a signal to the brain that we’re full.

What makes this so tricky is that there is generally a delay between when your stomach starts to get full and when your brain receives signals that you’re satisfied. The consequence? When we eat fast, we are at greater risk of overeating.

Thus, it is important to slow down at meal time. Some strategies that may help include cutting up food to eat (instead of consuming whole), chewing food slowly, and avoiding distractions during meals (like watching TV) so that you don’t engage in “mindless eating”.

7. Go easy on high-calorie condiments.

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Goal: Reduce hidden calories

Higher-calorie condiments like mayonnaise and ranch don’t only add delicious flavor to our favorite dishes… they also add between 75 and 95 calories per tablespoon! Fortunately, not all condiments are created equally, and there are many low calorie options that can suit almost every taste, including ketchup, mustard,  soy sauce, pico de gallo, sriracha, and hot sauce.

No way around using mayonnaise or ranch? Consider a “light” or “fat free” alternative over the full-calorie versions.

8. Avoid late-night eating.

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Goal: Appetite control

At night time, our bodies prepare for rest and overnight fasting based on our specific sleep/wake cycle. Eating food late at night (after dinner and/or overnight) sets us up for weight gain in two ways.

  1. It increases our overall daily calorie intake during a period of low/no activity.
  2. Since our bodies process food differently overnight, calories are more likely to be stored as fat.

Thus, it’s best to end eating for the day with a well-balanced dinner at a reasonable time. Late-night eating is a tricky habit to break, but with the right tools, this challenging habit can also be curbed.

9. Hide veggies in smoothies.

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Goal: Add healthy options

And last but not least, don’t forget to add a few healthier food options to your daily diet. Vegetables are an excellent healthy food choice to start with.

Vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and high in many nutrients like vitamins A and C, folic acid, and potassium. Because of this, the health benefits of eating vegetables are numerous, including lowered blood pressure and reduced risk of type 2 diabetes and heart disease. But consuming the recommended total daily amounts of vegetables can be a challenge, especially if you don’t love the taste.

Vegetable-fruit smoothies are a great (and tasty) way to up your daily intake of veggies. Just make sure you avoid recipes that include ice cream, which can unnecessarily increase your calories.

Hopefully this guide on how to start eating healthy has given you tools that will set you up for success. Eating healthy to lose weight doesn’t have to be complicated. So do yourself a favor and ditch the all-or-none approach in exchange for more gradual incorporation of small, healthy changes… it’s the best way to start eating healthy and build lasting habits.

Start your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge! Sign up below to get your printable Healthy Habit e-Planner!  

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A few small changes can have a BIG impact on your health! Check out these 9 easy tips to healthier eating and don't forget to download your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge e-Planner! | how to eat healthy | start eating healthy in 21 days | healthy habits | healthy meal planning | how to lose weight | healthy recipes | healthy food | eating healthy to lose weight | weight loss | #starteatinghealthy #weightloss #howtoloseweight #21daychallenge

A few small changes can have a BIG impact on your health! Check out these 9 easy tips to healthier eating and don't forget to download your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge e-Planner! | how to eat healthy | start eating healthy in 21 days | healthy habits | healthy meal planning | how to lose weight | healthy recipes | healthy food | eating healthy to lose weight | weight loss | #starteatinghealthy #weightloss #howtoloseweight #21daychallenge

A few small changes can have a BIG impact on your health! Check out these 9 easy tips to healthier eating and don't forget to download your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge e-Planner! | how to eat healthy | start eating healthy in 21 days | healthy habits | healthy meal planning | how to lose weight | healthy recipes | healthy food | eating healthy to lose weight | weight loss | #starteatinghealthy #weightloss #howtoloseweight #21daychallenge

 

A few small changes can have a BIG impact on your health! Check out these 9 easy tips to healthier eating and don't forget to download your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge e-Planner! | how to eat healthy | start eating healthy in 21 days | healthy habits | healthy meal planning | how to lose weight | healthy recipes | healthy food | eating healthy to lose weight | weight loss | #starteatinghealthy #weightloss #howtoloseweight #21daychallenge

A few small changes can have a BIG impact on your health! Check out these 9 easy tips to healthier eating and don't forget to download your FREE 21-Day Healthy Habit Challenge e-Planner! | how to eat healthy | start eating healthy in 21 days | healthy habits | healthy meal planning | how to lose weight | healthy recipes | healthy food | eating healthy to lose weight | weight loss | #starteatinghealthy #weightloss #howtoloseweight #21daychallenge

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