Having healthy eating habits doesn’t necessarily mean wheat grass and steamed veggies. What it does mean is knowing what habits are making you sick and which ones are prolonging your life. Here are some of the best and worst eating habits around.
Best Eating Habits
- Mixing It Up: Eating a large variety of different types of food is the best way to get all the vitamins and minerals your body needs.
- Eat 5 Small Meals a Day: By eating frequently, the body never gets overly hungry nor does it get stuffed. This helps us avoid overeating at the next meal. Regular, small meals also keep blood sugar levels even and your metabolism burning.
- Eat Fresh Produce: Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a better choice than frozen or canned. Fresh produce, especially the local, in-season variety, has the highest amount of naturally occurring vitamins and minerals. Canned versions often contain extra sodium and may even contain the chemical BPA, found in the cans’ plastic lining.
- Take It Slow: It takes time for your brain to understand that your stomach is full, so the slower you eat the less you over indulge. Eating slowly is also more satisfying because you can take the time to really taste and enjoy each bite of food.
- Avoid Red Meat: Most red meat is packed full of saturated fat and artery clogging LDL cholesterol. Although a good source of protein, this nutrient can be found in other healthier options like fish, poultry or soy products. By avoiding red meat or limiting consumption to 1 to 2 times a month, you reduce your chances of developing heart disease.
Worst Eating Habits
- Soda Pop: Soda and other flavored drinks are packed with empty calories. Diet varieties are no better as they simply replace those calories with chemicals. Many beverages are made with high fructose corn syrup, an inexpensive sweetener that the body does not register as calories. Because of this, it’s easy to drink tons of extra calories a day without feeling any fuller or more satisfied.
- Car or TV Meals: Eating in the car or in front of the TV robs attention away from the food, which makes it less satisfying. When you don’t think about what you’re eating, it’s easy to over do it and still feel hungry.
- Fast Food: Fast food is made to be cheap and tasty. The easiest way to pack inexpensive taste into a meal is to load it with fat, salt and sugar—the 3 leading culprits of heart disease, hypertension and diabetes.
- Never Cooking: If you ever wondered why the same dish you make at homes tastes better in a restaurant, it’s because steaks are finished with butter and sugar is added to salad dressings. If you eat all your meals outside the home or only eat packaged foods, you’re ultimately receiving higher calorie, higher sodium foods that compromise your health and your wallet.
- Skipping Meals: Skipping meals slows down your metabolism and sets you up for a binge the next time you eat. So be sure to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.