There's so much information about proper eating that it's confusing! Even though you've heard all the information about what foods are good to eat and what to avoid, there are simple rules that can help you choose the right foods. Start by making sure your diet consists of healthy foods and drinks. Then, try to change your eating habits, such as cooking yourself, reading labels, and eating healthier alternatives. You can also set the time for heavy meals and snacks.
Method 1 of 3: Changing Eating Habits
Step 1. Replace unhealthy foods with healthier options
These simple substitutions can improve eating habits in an easy and painless way. Find out what unhealthy foods you like, then look for healthier alternatives that are still satisfying. This may mean choosing a version with a lower fat content or a different food with the same effect.
For example, if you like to eat chips with gravy, try substituting potato chips for carrot chips or baked potatoes, then replacing the high-fat sauce with low-fat yogurt
Step 2. Get in the habit of reading labels
By checking labels, you can avoid unhealthy ingredients, such as added sugars and trans fats. See nutritional information on packaged foods. If the food is high in fat, sugar, and sodium, or all three, don't eat it.
- Some foods state on the packaging that they are low in fat, free of added sugar or trans fat, or low in sodium. However, you should still check the nutritional information to make sure the food is really healthy.
- Read the ingredients on the label. If you want to avoid certain ingredients, such as sugar, oil, or wheat, you can easily avoid them by checking the ingredients.
Step 3. Measure your food to make sure your portions are reasonable
Packaged foods already provide information about serving sizes. To be more sure that you are consuming the indicated amount of calories and fat, you should measure the amount as stated on the package. You may need a scale or measuring cup, depending on the type of food itself.
- For example, if you are making macaroni and cheese, the serving size is 240 grams of cooked macaroni and cheese. Use a scale to get the exact same amount.
- Portion sizes are now much bigger. So, read the label on the packaging you buy and avoid overly large portions.
Step 4. Avoid unhealthy foods
So as not to be tempted by unhealthy foods, don't buy them in the first place. If you don't see it within reach, you won't be tempted. Maybe you need to check the contents of the cupboard and refrigerator to get rid of unhealthy foods.
If you live with other people, tell them that there are special shelves or cabinets in the pantry or special shelves or drawers in the refrigerator that should only be filled with healthy foods. It is a safe zone of your choice of food
Tip: Buy food in the outer aisle of the convenience store. The area around the supermarket is usually filled with healthy foods, such as fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, and dairy products.
Step 5. Use mindfulness strategies to eat less and enjoy food more
This strategy can help you reduce portions because it can slow down eating. You'll also enjoy each bite more. Always sit at the table and set the pace so that it takes you 20 minutes to finish the food. Other strategies you can try are:
- Eliminate distractions while eating, such as by turning off the television and keeping your cell phone away.
- Pay attention to how the food looks and smells before you start eating.
- Hold a spoon or fork with your non-dominant hand, or try using chopsticks.
- Chew slowly and enjoy each bite.
Step 6. Ask a therapist for help to control eating habits for emotional reasons
If you seek solace from food when you're feeling sad, lonely, or bored, you may have a habit of eating for emotional reasons. As a result, you eat even when you're not hungry, choose unhealthy foods, and overeat. By learning strategies for dealing with emotions without food, you'll be able to eat healthier. Find a therapist who has experience helping people with emotional eating habits and make an appointment with them.
- For example, a therapist can teach you how to identify how you're feeling and look for healthy activities to make you feel better, such as walking, deep breathing, exercise, or listening to music.
- Ask for a therapist referral from a doctor. Sometimes this referral is important so that the therapy session can be covered by insurance.
Method 2 of 3: Choosing Healthy Foods and Drinks
Step 1. Fill half the plate with vegetables and fruit at every meal
Vegetables and fruit are full of nutrients and fiber, and are lower in calories than most other foods. By filling half the plate with 1 to 2 servings of vegetables or fruit, you will be full faster and not feel hungry quickly.
- You can cook the vegetables as you wish, either by steaming, sautéing, grilling, or boiling them.
- Try adding lettuce or raw vegetables to your plate if you don't want to cook the vegetables.
- If you're in a hurry, choose fresh fruit that you can eat on the road, such as apples or bananas, or take a container of ripe fruit with you.
Step 2. Eat whole grains and limit refined carbohydrates
Carbohydrate-dense foods that come from whole grains are healthier because they are higher in fiber and nutrients. Whole grains also maintain satiety and energy levels. Choose whole wheat bread, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, instead of the white version. Some other examples of healthy whole grains are:
Step 3. Add a serving of lean protein to the plate
Protein should make up a quarter of the plate. Foods rich in protein are meat, fish, beans, tofu, and eggs. Some dairy products are also rich in protein, such as cottage cheese and yogurt. Choose lean proteins, such as skinless chicken breast, tilapia, ground turkey, beans, tofu, and egg whites. This will reduce the amount of fat and cholesterol, which is better for you overall.
Check the packaging to find out the serving size. The serving size of protein sources varies depending on the type. For example, a serving of meat or fish is 85 grams, while a serving of nuts or cottage cheese is 120 grams
Tip: You can reduce the fat content of meat by cutting off the fat or removing the skin before eating.
Step 4. Limit your intake of oils and fats
Healthy fat levels in the daily diet are between 20 and 35%. For people following a 2,000-calorie diet, this translates to about 44 to 77 grams of fat daily because each gram is equivalent to 9 calories. However, choose healthy fats, such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, and limit or avoid unhealthy fats such as saturated and trans fats. Include 2 to 3 servings of olive oil, nuts, seeds, or avocado in your daily diet for healthy fats.
- Try not to consume saturated fat does not exceed 10% of daily calories. For example, if you follow a 1,700-calorie-a-day diet, your saturated fat intake should not exceed 170 calories. This means that you can only consume 19 grams of saturated fat per day.
- Make sure you check food labels for trans fats. If it turns out that the food contains trans fat, do not buy or eat it. Trans fats are commonly found in margarine, butter, ground coffee cream, and many packaged foods, such as cakes.
Step 5. Drink water whenever possible and limit sugary drinks
Water provides the hydration the body needs. You don't really need to drink anything else. However, if you want another drink, limit its consumption. Limit your fruit juice intake to no more than 240 ml per day and avoid sodas and drinks that are naturally or artificially sweetened.
- There is no fixed amount of water for everyone. Just drink whenever you feel thirsty. If your urine is pale yellow and you don't feel thirsty, you are well hydrated.
- A little alcohol intake is fine. Do not exceed 1 alcoholic drink per day if you are female, or no more than 2 alcoholic drinks if you are male. One alcoholic drink here is equivalent to 350 ml of beer, 150 ml of wine or 45 ml of liquor.
Step 6. Allow yourself to indulge once in a while and don't define "nothings"
While it's important to choose healthy foods, there are times when you want to indulge yourself, and that's okay. As long as you eat healthy more often, feel free to enjoy the occasional donut, pizza, or milkshake. Try to limit it to just one or two times per week, and plan ahead to reduce the chance of overeating.
- For example, you might plan to eat pizza on a Saturday night, or enjoy ice cream with the family on a Sunday afternoon.
- If you keep track of your calorie intake with an app or a food journal, also count the calories you enjoy from those foods. For example, if you know that 2 slices of pizza contain about 600 calories, choose a light lunch so that there are still calories left for the day.
Method 3 of 3: Timing of Heavy Meals and Snacks
Step 1. Learn to recognize when you are really hungry
Sharpening hunger signals can prevent overeating or eating out of boredom. If you're not sure you're hungry, think about when you last ate and how much you ate. If it's been more than 3 hours, maybe you're hungry. If it's less than 3 hours, think about whether your urge to eat is actually being triggered by something else.
- There are people who use the acronym HALT to avoid eating unconsciously. HALT is short for Hungry (hungry), Angry or Anxious (angry or anxious), Lonely (lonely), and Tired (tired). If you're not hungry, think about whether you're feeling any of these emotions. Then, find a way to deal with it without food.
- For example, if you're angry (or anxious) about something, it might help to figure out how to deal with it. If lonely, call a friend or ask them to meet. If you're tired, try taking a nap.
Step 2. Eat meals and snacks at regular intervals each day
Eating at regular intervals will help ensure your body has the energy it needs to function throughout the day. Breakfast as soon as you wake up to prepare a source of energy. Then, enjoy a mid-afternoon snack, lunch, afternoon snack, and dinner.
Don't miss a meal. If you don't eat, you will only eat more at the next meal to compensate for the missed meal
Tip: Try a large breakfast, but choose snacks and smaller meals throughout the rest of the day. This will help you maintain energy levels.
Step 3. Try eating dinner earlier to give your digestive system a rest at the end of the day
The body does not need fuel at rest, such as when sleeping at night. Eating too close to bedtime can interfere with rest and the body will not be able to burn these foods efficiently. So, food will be stored in the body as excess fat. Try to stop eating at least 3 hours before bedtime and allow your body to take a long rest between dinner and breakfast.
For example, have dinner at 6 PM if you go to bed at 9:30 PM. Then, don't eat again until breakfast the next morning
Step 4. Try an intermittent fasting diet
Intermittent fasting is eating only the same 8 to 10 hour period each day, during the most active part of the day. This fast limits the time to eat and gives the body more time to burn calories that have been entered. As a result, you eat less than usual. Identify the time period that works best for you and make a commitment to eat only during that time frame.
For example, eat between 8:00 and 16:00, such as breakfast at 8:00, lunch at 12:00, and dinner at 16:00
- Try to cook yourself whenever possible. By cooking yourself, you can control your ingredients and control portions much more easily. Cooking can also save you money and ensure that your meals are always healthy.
- Don't follow a diet that limits your intake of macronutrients. This type of diet does provide dramatic results, but only in the beginning and can not be applied for life.
- Pamper yourself once in a while. As long as you eat healthy more often, feel free to enjoy ice cream, chocolate, or a glass of wine.
- See your doctor if you're not sure you're at a healthy weight. Your doctor can tell you whether you should lose or gain weight.
- Talk to your doctor if you fantasize about food. Fantasy about food is an indication that you are not eating enough. Consult a doctor if you start to become obsessed with diet and food.