6 Steps to Fix Bad Eating Habits
Here are 6 steps to help you get rid of your old, unhealthy habits and create healthier ones:
1. Take Baby Steps. Making small changes in your diet and lifestyle can improve your health as well as trim your waistline. Some suggestions from the experts:
- Start each day with a nutritious breakfast.
- Get 8 hours of sleep each night, as fatigue can lead to overeating.
- Eat your meals seated at a table, without distractions.
- Eat more meals with your partner or family.
- Teach yourself to eat when you're really hungry and stop when you're comfortably full.
- Reduce your portion sizes by 20%, or give up second helpings.
- Try lower-fat dairy products.
- Make sandwiches with whole-grain bread and spread them with mustard instead of mayo.
- Switch to cafe au lait, using strong coffee and hot skim milk instead of cream.
- Eat a nutritious meal or snack every few hours.
- Use nonstick pans and cooking spray instead of oil to reduce the fat in recipes.
- Try different cooking methods, such as grilling, roasting, baking, or poaching.
- Drink more water and fewer sugary drinks.
- Eat smaller portions of calorie-dense foods (like casseroles and pizza) and larger portions of water-rich foods (like broth-based soups, salads, and veggies).
- Flavor your foods with herbs, vinegars, mustards, or lemon instead of fatty sauces.
- Limit alcohol to 1-2 drinks per day.
2. Become More Mindful. One of the first steps toward conquering bad eating habits is paying more attention to what you're eating and drinking. "Read food labels, become familiar with lists of ingredients, and start to take notice of everything you put into your mouth," says Gans. Once you become more aware of what you're eating, you'll start to realize how you need to improve your diet. Some people benefit by keeping food diaries.
3. Make a Plan; Be Specific. How are you going to start eating more fruit, having breakfast every day, or getting to the gym more often? Spell out your options. For example: Plan to take a piece of fruit to work every day for snacks, stock up on cereal and fruit for quick breakfasts, and go to the gym on the way to work three times a week. "To say 'I am going to work out more,' won't help you," says Gans. "What will help is thinking about when and how you can fit it into your lifestyle."