7 Food Habits for a Healthy Life!

There are so many “healthy” eating diets, trends, tricks and new food miracles hyped in the media, that it can be quite stressful to follow. Some of them encourage complete opposite food groups like fat and sugar, some have emphasis on a specific food group and others offer one solution to fix all your problems. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to notice what they all have in common: eat foods that will promote health; cut out the junk. At the very least we can all agree that no one should be living on drive through fast-food, soda and candy. Start looking at food as more than just “belly fillers.” See food as your disease prevention and treatment tools which will ensure a long and happy life!

I have identified seven basic food habits that will help you maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. I have shared these my clients, friends and family for years.  Usually at the end of our discussion all come to an “ah-ha” moment and realize they are actually quite simple. “They make so much sense!” and I hope you will agree.

  1. Keep hydrated always: Drink a variety of liquids, 90% of them must be close to 0 calories. Be aware that when you are thirsty you can confuse this for hunger. When your body doesn’t have enough water it leads to poor digestion, headaches, and fatigue. Carry a refillable water bottle with you always!
  2. Avoid becoming comfortable with a lifestyle that allows you to do food on the fly, on the run. Have a plan and get used to it. When we plan our meals, we can better balance our intake. Shoot for at least 70% of your weekly meals to be planned. Then leave room for spur of the moment meals.
  3. Eat Veggies with every meal. 100% of your meals should have veggies. Yes, get creative and find ways to incorporate vegetables in every single meal of your day, including breakfast and snacks. Goal: 9-13 servings per day. You can do it!
  4. Snack on things that matter. Include fruits, veggies and nuts. Don’t snack on junk food. It actively deteriorates your health; there is no minimal allowance for that so just eliminated it.
  5. Think of common snack foods such as chips, pizza, brownies, and cookies as “once in a while treats.” Don’t look at them as foods that fulfill your physical needs. It’s okay to have them, but understand they are special treats. You still need nutritional fill from other foods. When you do indulge in them, choose wisely. Go for bean chips, brownies that include black beans, cookies made with oats and nuts.
  6. Say goodbye to the top culprits of bad health habits such as: sodas and candy bars. Limit alcohol and say “No” to all artificial preservatives and food coloring. Avoid all products made with high corn fructose syrup and excessive sugar of any kind including raw sugar, beet sugar and artificial sweeteners.
  7. Take the time to eat. No more eating in a hurry. Sit and eat, chew your food. Allow the flavors to permeate you mouth. Enjoy what you are eating and give your saliva time to begin the digestive process.

Gradually adopt these eating habits, or go for all seven of them at once!  The first three are my first picks for you. I’ll finish up with a very popular quote in the world of nutrition from nutrition expert Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Carolina Jantac, MS,RD,LD

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