Want to develop better food habits? If you’re looking for ways to eat healthier or lose weight, the truth is there is no quick fix. The key to a healthier lifestyle involves developing better habits that you can stick to for life, changing your approach to food and healthy living. Changing your ways can also help you waste less, helping you develop a more sustainable approach to food too!
It’s never too late to change your habits, so if you’re ready to make a start, here are 12 ways to develop better food habits to help you live a healthy lifestyle.
1. Stop skipping meals
There are a lot of reasons why people skip meals, especially breakfast. From thinking it will help with weight loss to not ‘having time’, it’s easy to make excuses for missing a meal. But skipping a meal will only make you feel hungrier in the long run, while also affecting your energy levels.
Start making an effort to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner – or eat five smaller meals if you’d prefer. Arm yourself with some quick and easy breakfast recipes to help you enjoy a good breakfast even when you’re short of time.
2. Learn about balance
Eating healthily doesn’t have to mean restricting yourself from your favorite foods. Eating a balanced diet is more about ensuring your body gets the nutrients it needs, with a balance of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Some people find it helpful to track their food intake to make sure they’re getting enough of what they need.
3. Get to know your portions
Unless you’re familiar with portion sizes, you could be eating much more or less than you should be. You could be surprised when you see what a balanced portion of food really looks like! Instead of filling up your plate, consider measuring it out instead. Keep kitchen scales and measuring cups nearby to make sure you’re eating the right amount of food. You could also try swapping to a smaller plate size to help you avoid filling your plate too much.
4. Plan your meals
Meal planning has several benefits. Not only can it help you avoid food waste, but it can stop you reaching for the takeout menus when you don’t know what to eat. Having a meal plan will give you motivation, and a shopping list to help you stay on track. It’s a great money saver too! If you take your time to prepare your food at the beginning of the week, you’ll also save yourself a lot of time cooking.
Take a look at a meal planning guide for beginners to help you get started.
5. Waste less
Food waste has a significant impact on the environment, but it can be avoided by changing some of your habits. Planning your meals (as detailed above), is one way you can save on food waste, but there are other things you can do too, including:
- Buy frozen fruit and vegetables that are pre-prepared so you can cook with them as and when you need them.
- Batch-cook your meals and freeze portions to have at a later date.
- Stick to your grocery list and avoid impulse buys or special deals that can encourage you to buy more than you will need or use.
6. Fake your takeout
It’s hard to resist a takeout, but a takeout meal is rarely healthy and can get expensive when you have one regularly. Why not fake a takeout by recreating your favorites at home? There are all kinds of takeout dishes you can make at home, helping you satisfy your cravings while also saving money.
Learn how to make some of your favorite dishes and put the menus away!
7. Eat more fruit and vegetables
Are you eating enough fruit and vegetables? They are one of the easiest ways to get the vitamins and minerals you need. From enjoying a morning smoothie to adding some fruit to your breakfast, there are a lot of ways you can add some fruit to your day.
Adding more vegetables to your dishes is simple too. You could make your own soup, which is hearty and warming through the winter months – this enchilada soup recipe makes a welcome change from your average soup! You can also make sauce from different vegetables instead of cream-based sauces. It will help fill you up and make sure you get some essential nutrients too.
Why not try growing fruit and vegetables yourself? It can be a very satisfying way of feeding yourself, and it will taste so much better knowing you grew it yourself!
8. Try some new recipes
It’s easy to lose your way when it comes to cooking for yourself. Making the same meals again and again can get dull over time, even when they’re your favorites. Trying new recipes is a great way to help you find the motivation to cook more at home. Why not task yourself with cooking at least one new recipe a week? You’ll expand your range very quickly and will discover some new favorites too!
Meal kits are another effective way of getting new meal ideas. They send you exactly what you need to cook delicious meals, and the instructions to help you try some new things. With plenty of recipe choices, you’ll be sure to find something that everyone will enjoy.
9. Drink more water
Drinking water can have a significant impact on your eating habits. It can help keep you feeling full, as well as making sure you stay hydrated. When you’re dehydrated, your energy levels can dip, which can make you lean towards sugar-filled drinks and snacks.
If you find it hard to drink enough water each day, keep a refillable bottle by your desk or nearby and sip regularly. You could add a fruit infusion for added flavor and sweetness, and use an app to remind you to drink water.
10. Eat energy-boosting foods
If you ever find yourself feeling a mid-afternoon slump or feeling tired for no reason, it could be your diet that’s to blame. Focusing on eating energy-boosting foods can help keep your energy levels up, helping you feel fuller throughout the day too. Start your day off with a high-energy breakfast to help get your day off to the best start.
Some great ideas for energy-boosting snacks to eat throughout the day include:
- Trail mix
- Hard boiled eggs
Keep these nearby to help you resist the temptation of chips or chocolate-based snacks.
11. Don’t be too hard on yourself
One of the many reasons why diets fail is because they’re unsustainable – leading to an endless cycle of temporary diets and food plans. Eating a balanced, healthy diet should be a lifelong aim, with a gradual change in habits to help you get there. It’s easy to punish yourself for having a bad day, but that will only demotivate you. Instead of being hard on yourself, regroup and try again the next day. Tomorrow is a new day after all!
12. Don’t go it alone
Making a lifestyle change can be tough, and whether you’ve decided to up your fitness game or change your food habits, it can help to have the support of someone else to keep you on track. You could make changes as a family, or get a friend to join you – anyone who will be supportive of your goals. You can also find a lot of motivation and support through online communities to help give you some inspiration.
By finding ways to develop better food habits, you can make many improvements to your diet and lifestyle. It will also save you money and help the environment too! Start making some gradual changes and see the difference it makes to you.