Simple Tweaks To Improve Your Eating Habits
Photo by Element5 Digital on Unsplash
If you want to eat healthier, there’s no need to make drastic changes with your way of eating. Small tweaks to your eating habits are what can help you live a healthier lifestyle. The great thing about these small adjustments is that you’ll barely notice them. Here are some simple hacks that you can do to improve your eating.
Have a Plan
Having a plan makes a huge difference and we write more in-depth about this in our articles here and here.
Having a plan works. It will help you to commit to your health goals. It can help you to stay organized so you can free more of your time for other things.
Restaurants - It’s very easy to get lost in the menu at your favorite restaurant. Before you go out to eat somewhere, look at the restaurant menu online to see what meals they have available to patrons. Checking out restaurant menus in advance will also help you to adhere to a way of eating and possibly avoid foods with allergens you may need to avoid.
Grocery Shopping - It’s also easy to go off track while you shop for groceries. First, planning out your meals for the week or for the month will help you to determine what you need to put on your list. Next, having a grocery list in the first place can help you to stick to your goals (having a grocery list and sticking to it might also help you to save money).
Meal Planning – the article talks about this briefly above, but when you meal plan, you can help you and your family to eat healthier meals. Meal planning encompasses planning meals like breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it can also help you to plan healthier snacks to eat and feed to your family throughout each day.
Track Your Food and Mood
A food journal consists of more than just writing down what you’ve eaten. In a food journal, you can write down what you eat as well as how you felt when eating. Journaling this way can help you deal with emotional eating. Food journaling can also help you identify triggers that cause you to dive into a half-gallon of chunky monkey ice cream.
Food journaling can be especially helpful if you think you might have food allergies and you’re trying to track which foods cause adverse symptoms and which foods make you feel better.
Reflect, Replace, Reinforce
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) suggests that you reflect, replace, and reinforce your eating habits. This strategy has you create a list of all your eating habits. You highlight the eating habits that may be causing you to eat unhealthy foods. Then you look for cues that are in your food diary that may have caused you to eat too many unhealthy and processed foods.
Finally, you replace the negative eating habits with healthy ones. This is a small tweak since you will already be food journaling. This step just encourages you to review your food journal with a critical thinking mind. Identify the things that keep you in an unhealthy eating pattern. Then eliminate them.
Focus on Food Variety
Sometimes, meals can become monotonous. When healthy eating gets boring, food boredom can make it harder to adhere to healthy eating.
Fortunately, there’s NO shortage of healthy food recipes on the internet. Otte Foods has tons of healthy recipes you can try, many of which are Paleo or Whole30 - You can click here to see some of our recipes.
Meal planning will also help you to incorporate more variety in your menu. While my family loves variety, we also follow a few themes on some days that help make planning easier. We incorporate variety into the dinner theme. On Tuesdays, we do “Taco Tuesday”, on which we eat anything “Taco-y”. Some ideas of meals we might have are nachos, burritos, taco salad, tacos, “potachos” (like nachos, but you replace the nachos with thinly sliced, fried potatoes), taco soup, burrito bowls, etc. If you want to make your meals Paleo or Whole30 compliant, you can adjust some ingredients accordingly. You can replace nachos with potatoes or sweet potatoes, replace rice with cauliflower rice, go without the dairy, etc. The options are endless.
Add in One Good Health Habit
It can extremely difficult to get rid of bad habits.
What if you add in good habits instead?
Adding in good habits, even one at a time, can be an effective way to change health habits. Adding good habits, instead of struggling to remove bad habits can keep things more positive and make it easier to reach your health goals.
Some examples of healthy habits to add IN might be to eat more fruits and vegetables each day, to start walking outside for 15 minutes each day, get more sleep at night, OR to eat a protein-rich breakfast each day (my favorite breakfast that keeps me energized and satiated are Whole30 compliant breakfast casseroles with hash browns, eggs, bacon or sausage, spinach, and mushrooms). Adding in good habits can get you in the habit of crowding out bad habits.
These small steps may hardly seem noticeable at first. Once you get into the habit of doing these five things, you will notice huge changes in your eating habits. The goal in utilizing these five behavior techniques is to get you to a happy, healthy eating place.