We do many things in life without even thinking about it. And many of these things we do while we're on "autopilot" are habits. Because we have to eat every day, and because we often don't put too much thought into our meals, eating is a great place to work on habits.
Think about some of the things you do each day around eating. While you can't change everything at once, small changes can make a big difference in your overall health. Use this list of dos and don'ts to create some new habits for healthy nutrition.
- Don't skip meals; plan for three meals each day.
- Start reading food labels so you'll become more aware of what you're putting into your body.
- Plan for healthier snack choices at work.
- Between lunch and dinner each day, aim for five servings of fruits and vegetables.
- Stop adding salt to foods.
- Eat nothing after 8 p.m.
- Try a new food each week, to help you introduce more variety into your diet.
- Eat less meat to reduce your fat and cholesterol intake.
- Make sure that your breads, cereals, pastas, and crackers are made with whole grains.
Pick just one item from this list or come up with your own habit for healthier eating. Write it down, and try it for at least 30 days. Don't try to change more than one habit at a time.
In 30 days, your healthier choice may become a habit that you'll continue doing. If it does, reward yourself (not with food) and pick another eating habit to work on. No matter what, you'll have had 30 days of healthier eating.