6 Steps to Build Healthier-Eating Habits

Healthy Eating Habit

Eat healthier. Chances are pretty good you’ve heard the advice before.

Maybe you’ve even given a few things a try to improve your diet. Then went back to your old ways. You know…ice cream, soda, pizza, treats. That ever happen?

If you want to improve your eating habits, it’s usually not a cold-turkey, overnight success. It takes a little work, a little patience and practice.

But the more you do it, the easier it gets to make better food choices. Ready to build better eating habits you’ll actually stick with?

Here are some things you can do:

1. Read nutrition labels

 It’s pretty simple. Pick up a package, and check the label. You don’t have to be a food scientist to understand it.

Just two pieces of information on the label can help you make better food choices:

  • Calories
  • Serving size

Other nutrition label data to check out:

  • Sugar
  • Sodium
  • Fat
  • Cholesterol
  • Ingredients

Research shows that people who read food labels have better success with weight loss and weight management.1

Can’t find a food label? You can find nutrition data for most foods online, including restaurant meals..

2. Keep a food journal

Write down everything you eat. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and drinks.

Sounds like a lot of work, right?

Here’s the thing…research shows that keeping a food journal helps you be more aware of what you’re eating. And it helps you make better food choices.

In fact, one study found that people who kept track of their food choices, even without following a particular diet, lost 6 pounds in three months.2

You can write down what you eat. Or use a smartphone app to make it even easier to keep track of what you eat, count calories, and even record your weight.

3. Eat fresh

Does your diet look a little SAD? If it does, you’re not alone.

The Standard American Diet menu looks like this: Pizza, burgers, fries, sugary drinks, fried food, processed meals, treats and snacks.

And if you want to develop healthy eating habits, you need to work on replacing SAD foods with more fresh foods like:

  • Fruits
  • Vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Fish
  • Poultry
  • Nuts & seeds
  • Legumes

Take a closer look at the DASH Diet (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) or the Mediterranean Diet, and you’ll find they’re a lot in common.

Eating more fresh and unprocessed foods can also help prevent chronic health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, obesity, and hypertension.

4. Drink more water

Here’s another great way to improve your diet by making a simple switch.

Drink more water.3 Aim for about 8 glasses or 64 ounces per day. More if you’re really active or live in a hot climate.

If that sounds hard, just start small. Drink a glass of water when you wake up. Have a glass of water with meals. And carry a water bottle with you during the day.

Drinking water helps you stay hydrated, improve digestion, control calories, and feel better.

5. Plan meals & cook at home more often

It’s just about dinner time, and you realize you don’t have anything prepared…again.

Next stop…the drive-thru. That ever happen?

There’s a couple problems with going out to eat frequently.

  • It can get expensive.
  • But more importantly, most restaurant meals are high in fat, sugar, and empty calories.

So try this…plan meals a week in advance, go grocery shopping, and cook at home more often. You can even prepare meals ahead of time for your busy days, and store in the fridge or freezer.

Research shows that people who cook at home more than five times a week tend to:4

  • Eat more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat fewer calories
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Have a normal Body Mass Index

6. Eat healthier snacks

Pass the potato chips, cheese dip, soda and cookies. That sound like a typical watch-the-game or binge-watch activity?

Here’s another way to develop healthy eating habits. Take a good look at your go-to snacks. What’s healthy? What’s not? And what can you do to improve?

  • Try fresh-cut veggies instead of chips.
  • Have a cheese stick instead of a candybar.
  • Drink a glass of water, or even a fruit smoothie, instead of a soda.
  • Have a piece of fruit instead of a bowl of ice cream
  • Look for simple swaps you can make to eat healthier snacks.

You’ll cut calories, improve your health, and develop healthy habits for life.