Three Habits That Lead to Better Dietary Choices

Healthy eating is a process that involves addressing your current lifestyle. To eat healthy, you must practice healthy eating habits that affect how and when you eat, and you must maintain those habits.

By establishing these habits, you can improve your overall health and completely change your lifestyle. Because eating healthy is a choice, you must consciously choose to eat better and be willing to alter your daily routine.

The following sections detail three habits that contribute to eating a healthier diet and creating more  . Although these eating habits may seem insignificant, they allow you to take control of your nutritional health. By incorporating these habits into your life, you can reach your nutritional goals and combat poor food choices. These healthy eating habits will not always come easily, but you are encouraged to continue pursuing them to lead a healthier life.

Stock Your House with Healthy Foods

If you maintain a constant supply of healthy foods in your home, then healthy eating will become simple and worry-free. Following healthy eating tips, recipes and other advice will be easier if you already have the base ingredients in your fridge and pantry. Additionally, you will be less tempted to indulge in unhealthy foods if they are less accessible to you. Whenever you open the fridge, pack your lunch or shop for groceries, you can make the decision to select healthier foods. You are encouraged to purchase the following types of healthy foods for your home:

  • Fresh, canned or frozen fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain bread and other grain products (e.g., cereal)
  • Lean meats (i.e., red meat, turkey and chicken)
  • Low-fat dairy products
  • Legumes or beans

These healthy food choices consist of the five major food groups and enable you to make countless meals. You should ensure you properly store and prepare all food items before consuming them and eat them in moderation. A healthy diet requires you to vary the types of food products you eat.

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Note: You can exchange a food or ingredient for a healthier option to make any meal nutritious. For instance, you can use low-fat milk in your cereal, replace your beverages with water or add vegetables to a carb-heavy dinner.

Limit the Number of Times You Eat Out

Although eating out at restaurants can be great opportunities for you to avoid the inconvenience of cooking, restaurants rarely allow you to eat healthy due to their limited menus and high prices. Therefore, healthy eating guidelines advise you to limit your visits to restaurants and other eating establishments in favor of cooking your own meals at home. The process of limiting the frequency of eating out is outlined below:

  1. Define what “eating out” means to you. You may find that eating out may only pertain to restaurants, or it could refer to all types of take-out, including buying pre-made food from grocery stores, eating at community events and the occasional visit to a coffee shop.
  2. Determine how often you would like to eat out. This may depend on how often you used to eat at restaurants, how much you enjoy cooking and how often you can afford to eat at restaurants.
  3. Commit to your eating plan for at least one month. This is the time it takes to develop a habit, which would eventually make eating at home an easier decision.
  4. Make a meal plan. Since the main problem with eating out less is the work required to prepare meals, you should make a meal plan that explains how you can make enough meals for each week. Your meal plan should incorporate the use of leftovers and healthy foods to make the most efficient and delicious meals possible on a busy schedule.

However, eating healthy is still a possibility at restaurants, if you know how and what to order. In fact, you should avoid eliminating eating out altogether because it is such an important part of eating culture in the country. The following healthy eating tips can help you maintain your diet when you are not at home:

  • Learn to order better. Instead of ordering a huge entrée for yourself, consider splitting meals and ordering a side salad or soup. You can also ask to substitute side dishes for healthier alternatives such as vegetables or fruit.
  • Choose the restaurant carefully. While you can find healthy food choices at most restaurants, some may have more options than others. You should find a restaurant with a good variety of menu items and a friendly staff who is willing to cater to your dietary needs.
  • Ask about the details of dishes. Portion sizes and preparation methods are important factors that can affect the quality of dishes in restaurants. You should ask your waitperson about a dish you are wanting to order.
  • Pay attention to food safety. Some restaurants may not be as sanitary as they need to be, and some foods are at a higher risk of harming you than others. Limit your intake of raw meat and avoid eating any foods that do not seem safe to eat.

Let Yourself Eat Your Favorite Foods

While this may seem contradictory, healthy eating cannot be a successful endeavor if you remove all foods that you like from your diet. Consequently, you should indulge in your favorite foods on occasion and continue to eat healthy by making most of your meals healthy. You should limit the following types of foods:

  • Cakes, desserts and pastries
  • Ice cream and other confections
  • Chocolate
  • Fried foods
  • Salty and fatty foods
  • Cream, butter and spreads
  • Sugary drinks
  • Alcoholic beverages

To develop a healthy diet, you must contact your doctor. Additionally, a nutritionist or dietician may be able to provide enough information on nutritional health.

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