Eating Habits for a Healthy Lifestyle
How do you define healthy eating? Everyone knows they should do it but, in reality, how many people actually implement healthy eating habits? No matter how we try, it’s rare that we refrain from overeating or reaching out for some junk food. The inevitable result, however, is that your body, especially your digestive system, has to face the consequences.
But what if you decide enough is enough? You want to get on track, rid yourself of poor habits, and take up a healthy lifestyle. As you search, it turns out the way to a healthy lifestyle is tougher than it seems; there’s no shortcut to success. But don’t feel low yet. You’ll be amazed to find how some tiny changes in your eating habits can take you huge steps closer towards the goal of obtaining a healthy lifestyle.
This article explores some unconventional scientific tips and tiny adjustments in your everyday food habits which can change the scenario; tips you should follow for a better, healthier lifestyle.
Small Changes with Big Impact
The smallest of changes in your regular habits can result in a considerable improvement in your health. Before jumping in, let’s acknowledge Brian Wansink, Ph.D. He is a professor at Cornell University who works in the fields of consumer behavior and nutrition psychology. But most importantly to us, he is the man behind many of these ideas.
Let water take the place of other worthless drinks
The carbonated, sweetened beverages we consume have detrimental effects on our health. Many of us make a habit of sipping on coffee or sugary drinks while we work, and taking a sip or two of these kinds of drinks likely wouldn’t hurt us. But, if we happen to quench our thirst with these drinks, we’re avoiding water and we create an enormous problem. So, making a habit of drinking water instead of other drinks is a great start.
Here’s some free advice; buy a big, good-looking jar or other containers for your water and keep it wherever you spend most of your time, e.g. your desk at work. This way, whenever you feel thirsty, you can just reach out for the water and inadvertently break the habit of seeking potentially harmful drinks.
Intelligently place and package healthy foods
It’s likely that you can already distinguish between healthy and unhealthy foods. The problem is restraining yourself when it comes to the choice between the two. To help yourself out, create an environment within your home where the healthy foods are easily reachable while the unhealthy ones take some extra effort. How can you do this? Just by putting the food in different places and packing them intelligently.
Big containers tend to catch your attention more than smaller ones, so you should store the better foods inside larger containers. This way you’ll come across better foods more easily.
Similarly, you often have to wrap up your food, don’t you? Apply a trick here too. Wrap the healthy food with a clear wrapper. On the other hand, choose something darker, like aluminum foil, for the unhealthy foods. As the old saying goes “out of sight, out of mind.”
Trick your brain with the use of plates
Controlling your cravings is mostly about tricking your brain. It’s astonishing how something as simple as choosing your plate can affect your dietary plan. Research conducted by Wansink and his team showed that a decrease in your plate or serving bowl size would result in 16% less food consumption.
It’s not as simple as putting less food on your plate. Eating a small portion from a bigger plate is never as satisfying to your mind. Eventually, you’ll end up eating even more. So, try to use the power of optical illusion, use a smaller plate to satisfy your hunger efficiently. Read this article from Cornell University about how an optical illusion can result in more consumption if you’re interested to know more.
Another study from the same author indicates that the color of your plate matters too! If the color of the plate matches with the color of your food, you’ll end up eating more. You’re more likely to serve yourself less when there is a contrast between your food and its background.
It’s scientifically proven that the size, shape, and color of a plate plays a vital role in how much you eat. Avid readers might want to check out the research paper by Koert Van Ittersum & Brian Wansink, which delves deeper into plate size and color concerns.
The “Half plate” rule and “Outer Ring” strategy
The half plate rule is simple. When serving yourself, make sure to fill half of your plate with fruits and vegetables. Then, fill the rest with other foods, such as meat or carb sources. Following this technique will have a significant effect on your diet.
The outer ring strategy is a more interesting one. It suggests you shop only on the outer perimeters of the supermarket. The reason being that healthier foods like fresh vegetables, fruits, eggs, meat and nuts are usually available here. Conversely, processed foods tend to stay in the center aisles. When you shop from the healthier sections, you’re more likely to return home with better food!
Create healthy dietary habits
To create better dietary habits, here are some things to consider. Limiting saturated fat (i.e. Cheese, butter, processed meat) and alcohol (in any form) is a good start. A small portion of the population is gluten intolerant but, even for those who aren’t, gluten puts a lot of pressure on the digestive system. Limiting gluten intake, or choosing gluten-free foods, is also an excellent idea. You can check out what gluten is and why you should consider avoiding it along with the benefits of going gluten-free if you wish to know more.
These days, food is readily available in large quantities, yet we do less physical activities and eat a lot more than we have in the past. Even though we all know overeating is harmful, we want to eat more and more. But, being a little cautious about your health and making some slight adjustments will result in a better, balanced and healthier life.
About the Author
Emma Sneddon is a freelance writer and an independent blogger. She mostly writes about sustainable and alternative living solutions. As a follower of healthy and spiritual living, she’s big on special dietary requirements and a fan of delicious gluten-free plum puddings from Pud For All Seasons. You can check her out on Twitter.