Following a healthy diet is among the most frequently broken New Year’s resolutions that people make. On the surface, eating healthy seems like a simple thing, but putting it into practice every day can be much more difficult. Here’s how you can turn proper nutrition into a personal habit.
Be mindful with the groceries
The food you eat the most tends to be whatever you have in stock at home. In this way, proper nutrition often begins with a smartly prepared grocery shopping list. After all, following the perfect keto diet will be a lot more difficult if you haven’t stocked your pantry with the right ingredients and low-carb snacks. And make sure you don’t let your supplies run out, as that leads to the easy temptation of ordering fast food.
Planning your grocery list ahead of time will help you to create healthy recipes for each day of the week, and you can maintain a running inventory of staple foods so that you always know when your supplies are running low. This approach will help you stay disciplined, saving time and money as you navigate the shopping aisles, taking only what you need and avoiding impulse purchases.
Vary your meals
There are several different approaches to a healthy diet, but a common theme you’ll find among them is restriction – which is something many people struggle to deal with in the long term. It takes a lot of will power to resist the many kinds of unhealthy foods and snacks, but when you also have to face eating the same types of food every week, the lack of variety can further weaken anyone’s resolve.
Meal variety is crucial to avoid becoming dissatisfied with a healthy diet. Fortunately, restrictions breed creativity; you can mix things up and learn new recipes so that you can cook different versions of essentially the same staple ingredients each week, keeping things fresh and interesting.
Change your mealtime habits
Apart from planning the components and recipes for your healthy meals, there are some small changes to your mealtime habits, which can help you control the amount of food you eat. Eating your vegetables first will ensure that you always consume the recommended portions from this nutrient group while you’re hungry, for instance. Drinking water before a meal will help you feel satiated sooner.
Research has shown that eating more slowly is linked to having a lower body mass index. This may be due to a delay in the brain’s recognition of signals that you’ve had your fill of food; eating quickly can lead to consuming more food than you need. The practice of mindful eating helps you slow down, notice when you’re full and enjoy your food throughout the meal.
Choose healthy when dining out
There may be occasions where you have to eat out – date night or work-related functions, for instance. While you may not have much control over what’s on the menu, you do have a say over what ends up on your plate and the amount you eat. Ask the staff at any restaurant about nutritional details, and practice assessing the nutrient content of various dishes. This way, you can always choose the healthiest option when you need to dine out (and make sure that such occasions are an exception, not the rule).
As you take greater control over your nutrition, you’ll find that just like any good habit, it becomes less work as you fully integrate healthy eating into your routine.