Food gets me very excited. I love food. That’s why I immerse myself in the health food industry for 3 years. During this period of time, I am exposed to exotic food like quinoa from the Andean region, chia seed from the Aztecs, spirulina from the sea and so much more.
Truth be told, I did not always eat healthy food. When I was younger, I’m a fan of fast food, meat, fatty food and fried foods. Nowadays, I don’t exactly abstain from eating unhealthy food but I find more joy in savoring my healthy meals. Not to mention, losing inches off my tummy.
Anyone can make these changes. Anyone can choose to live a healthy lifestyle. It might not be easy in the beginning but once you start to reap the benefits of healthy food, you will never look back. Just like me. Here are 7 tips for you to kick start your healthy eating habits.
7. Minimise your intake of processed food
Dangerous ingredients found in processed food:
High fructose corn syrup
Partially hydrogenated oil
Ice cream, microwaved meals, canned food with 3 years shelf life, potato chips, biscuits and all other processed food have make eating more convenient. However, they also bring with them a list of problems. They are loaded with chemicals, lacked nutrients and contained additives and preservatives. Also, processed foods are linked to the rise of obesity.¹
Whenever possible, opt for food in their most natural form: fresh produce.
6. Eat mindfully
Learn to eat mindfully. You will enjoy your food more. Notice the nuances and textures of the food by taking smaller bites and chewing more. By becoming mindful and present, you can tune in better to your body satiety and hunger. Yes, there is such a thing as too much healthy food.
5. Eat regular meals
Regular eating prevents binge eating, keeps your blood sugar steady and maintains your metabolism rate.
When you skip a meal, you might be experiencing extreme hunger when you finally get to eat. With extreme hunger, there’s a higher chance of you eating too quickly and binge eating. The constant lack of food might send a signal to your body that you are experiencing a “famine”. Your body will attempt to conserve energy, lower the metabolism rate and go into storage mode. This means that your food will be stored as fat more easily.
4. Eat based on My Healthy Plate
Health Promotion Board recommends splitting your plate into ½ plate of vegetables, ¼ plate of protein and ¼ plate of carbohydrates. Eating carbohydrate and protein will help you to maintain your blood sugar level and prevent the extreme fluctuation of blood sugar levels. Protein also improves satiety level.
Don’t be afraid of dietary fats, they are needed to make a meal satisfying and delicious. Your body needs fats to function and provide you with energy. Just be careful not to over consume them.
3. Stock up on healthy food
The best way to avoid processed food is to remove them from your life. Get to the produce aisle of the supermarket and stock up on your healthy food: beans, grains, nuts, fruits, vegetables and healthier choices of sauces.
If you are looking for something more fun, choose kale chips or black beans chip over potato chips. If you need some processed food during the transition, choose those that have no trans fat.
2. Take note of the level of energy after eating
Speaking from personal experience, I think that the best way to transition to a healthy lifestyle is by keeping tab on the energy level after each meal.
Adopting a vegetarian diet, I am able to focus better, feel more energized and not fall sick easily. When I notice all these positive effects, it inspires me to continue. And the more I continue on my healthy lifestyle, the more I notice the positive effects, setting me into a positive cycle of success.
1. Drink water instead of sugary drinks
Sugary drinks are empty calories. They contain calories without filling you up and giving you nutrients. You consume 240 calories from a bottle of soda. To burn that amount of calories, you will need to run 3km in 15 minutes or walk 4.2km in 45 minutes. Not to mention, all the sugar contains inside a soda are turned into fat, may cause diabetes² and increase the risk of cancer³.
If plain water is too bland for you, try adding lemon juice. Or if you have to have sweet drinks, dilute them and slowly decrease the intake of sugary drinks until you could take in plain water.
¹3 March 2003. Eat less processed food, say experts. BBC News.
²27 February 2013. Sanjay Basu. The Relationship of Sugar to Population-Level Diabetes Prevalence: An Econometric Analysis of Repeated Cross-Sectional Data. PLOS.
³ 25 July 2012. Noel T. Mueller. Soft Drink and Juice Consumption and Risk of Pancreatic Cancer: The Singapore Chinese Health Study. NCBI.
Berkshire Healthcare. Regular eating. NHS Foundation Trust.
Medline Plus. Dietary fats explained. U.S. National Library of Medicine.