Developing and maintaining healthy eating habits can result in big payoffs over a lifetime. Not only are the risks of heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other illnesses reduced, but also you look and feel better. By making a few changes in your diet and taking a positive approach toward wellness, you can make healthy eating habits a natural way of life for you and your family.
Getting into the habit of starting each day with a healthy breakfast lays the foundation for lifelong health benefits, according the MayoClinic.com. Eating a healthy breakfast helps you meet your daily nutritional requirements, allows you to concentrate better and aids in keeping your blood sugar levels stable, which results in longer-lasting energy. Yogurt topped with fresh berries and granola, low-fat cottage cheese with fresh fruit or peanut butter and banana slices on whole-grain toast are excellent choices.
Plant a Garden
Plant a garden in your back yard or fill decorative outdoor planters with fresh herbs and fruit- and vegetable-bearing plants, such as strawberries and cherry tomatoes. Colorful fruits and vegetables add to the visual appeal of your yard or deck, and vine-ripened produce tends to be more flavorful. Harvesting your own fresh, nutritious food encourages healthy eating habits.
Make mealtime a pleasant occasion. Designate a specific spot in your home where your family can sit, relax and visit while eating. Turn off the TV and avoid arguments or emotional stress that can result in digestive problems or overeating. Practice eating slowly, tasting your food and stopping eating when you’re satisfied, not stuffed. Learning to recognize and honor your body’s satisfaction signals is a healthful habit that promotes weight management.
Replace unhealthy snacks, such as sugary foods and beverages with nutrient-packed treats, such as fresh fruits, raw vegetables, low-fat yogurt, peanut butter and whole-grain crackers. Place fruit in a bowl on your kitchen counter or table where it’s easily seen and within reach. Keep sliced fruit and veggies in see-through bags in the refrigerator to grab as a quick snack. By making nutrient-rich foods easily available, you’re promoting a healthy way of eating.
Try New Foods
Trying new foods is a healthy habit to incorporate into your meal plan. Introduce your family to a new vegetable, fruit, grain or bean each week. This is a good way create awareness and to help eliminate boredom that often results from eating the same foods day after day. Discuss the food’s history, such as its cultural origin, and talk about the health benefits it provides.
Keep It Real
When grocery shopping, stick with real foods and avoid artificial, highly processed products. Buy a rainbow of fresh fruits and vegetables. Include whole-grain breads and cereals instead of refined flour products. Choose lean meats and fish and avoid processed meats like hot dogs and sausage. Buy low-fat dairy products and heart-healthy oils, such as olive and canola.