Ten ways to build better eating habits
If you are looking to build better eating habits, try our 10 tips to help you make small changes to your diet and overcome cravings. Some may be easy to adopt, while others may require a little more effort.
Remember, you don’t have to try to change all your eating habits at once. Start slow and give yourself a chance to really make some progress.
- Measure your food to get an idea of portion size. Get an inexpensive food scale and measure your servings. This can be a huge eye-opener, especially when you start measuring things like pasta, rice and breakfast cereal. You don’t have to measure every meal, but it can be really useful if you are carb counting, or want to keep an eye on the amount of carbs you eat.
- Use the 10-minute rule. If you crave a between-meal snack, wait for 10 minutes to see if you are really hungry. You may forget all about it.
- Arrange your plate. Devote approximately 1/4 of your plate to protein and dairy foods, and then split the rest of the plate between carbs and fruit/vegetables1. This will help make sure you are eating a balanced meal, making you less likely to snack.
- Concentrate when you are eating. Make an effort not to regularly eat at your desk, in front of the television or on the go. Sit down and eat slowly, savouring every bite.
- Make a list and stick to it. If it’s not on your grocery list, it doesn’t go in your shopping trolley. After all, keeping temptation out of the house is half the battle!
- There’s nothing wrong with leaving some on the plate. If you are feeling full it’s OK to leave food on your plate at mealtimes. You can always save it for later or take it for lunch the next day. Same goes for restaurant leftovers- take them home for another meal.
- Choose high-fibre. Many bakery items, including breads and cereals, are available in a wholewheat, bran or high-fibre version. These are often more flavourful and can keep you feeling fuller for longer.
- Carry water everywhere. Drinking more water will help reduce hunger pangs2, as well as being great for your overall health.
- Reach for filling foods. Bulk out your meals with vegetables to fill you up. Porridge, eggs and soup are also three foods that can help you feel full3.
- Keep a log of your daily diet. Start a food journal and keep track of everything that you eat, even just for a few days. This will help you get a better understanding of the variety of foods you eat, see if you are eating enough vegetables and the right balance of the different food groups.
1. NHS (2019). The Eatwell Guide. [Online]. Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/the-eatwell-guide/ (Accessed 14th March 2022)
2. Healthline (2022). 7 Science-Based Health Benefits of Drinking Enough Water. [Online]. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/7-health-benefits-of-water#1.-Helps... (Accessed 8th Feb. 2022)
3. Holt, S.H.A. & Brand-Miller, Jennie & Petocz, Peter & Farmakalidis, E. (1995). A Satiety Index of common foods. European journal of clinical nutrition. 49. 675-90
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