Living in the 21st century has its ups and downs. On one hand, our standard of living has gone up tremendously as we are enjoying the fruits of technology, which is evident in the increased convenience we now have in every walk of life.
But on the other, we have to put in more hours at work that has made our lives more stressful. In fact, stress has become an inalienable part of almost everybody’s life- starting from a 5 year old toddler to an octogenarian, nobody is free from it.
In our effort to keep pace with a busy schedule, we often tend to forego healthy, nutritious meals and indulge in what is known as ‘binge-eating’ or rather snacking excessively in between meals.
Not taking balanced meals and not sticking to proper mealtimes can lead to obesity and other health problems.
So, how to develop healthy eating habits?
The following tips should prove helpful in developing and upholding healthy eating habits for a lifetime.
1. Taking Balanced Meals at Set Times
It is highly recommended that you have your four square meals at proper and preset times on any given day. Four square meals would include your breakfast, lunch, and evening tea (with low calorie biscuits and wafers), and dinner. Squeeze in helpings of light snacks in between your breakfast and lunch, and again between your evening teatime and dinner.
Talking about a balanced meal, a typical plate should contain food items having 45% carbohydrate, 30% protein, and 25% fat. Go for more fresh fruits and vegetables, less of red meat and more of lean meat. Eat whole grains and starchy food, and enough proteins.
2. Never Skip Your Breakfasts
Having a generous breakfast, is perhaps the best way to start your day. Your digestive system was working in full gear while you slept your way through the night. So, you’re ready to gorge on a sumptuous breakfast as your metabolic system is very charged early in the morning breaking down the food condiments to supply your body with the vital first round of nutrients.
Eating a full breakfast helps you to cope with stress in a better manner and also keeps your weight under control as your tendency to snack frequently is kept under leash. A typical breakfast should comprise of two slices of toasted brown bread with margarine or peanut butter, an omelette or preferably a half-boiled egg, and a cup of soy milk. Never miss your breakfast.
3. Monitor Portion Sizes
If you’re sincere about losing weight, then you’d need to determine the portion size of your meals that would be appropriate for you. It’d be more baffling for you to work out the correct portion size by counting the calories. An easier way would be to measure the cup size according to a scale. Read the labelling on the packages containing the list of nutrients along with their proportionate weights, measure your servings, and take your food in small plates.
4. Watch What You’re Eating
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Just as you’d focus your eyes on the players when watching your favourite football game or while reading a novel by your favourite author, concentrate on what is going into your mouth. Watching what you’re eating will help you to savour every morsel of your meal be it your breakfast or dinner. Do not multitask while taking your meals and take your time in chewing the food. Enjoy your meals in leisure instead of rushing through the same.
5. Controlling The Metabolism
Your metabolic efficiency goes down with age and that essentially means your body’s capacity to convert food grade nutrients into bone or muscle mass also plummets. So you’d have to keep a watch over your food content and abstain from overeating. Since your body would be burning more calories to keep you energetic, you’d have a strong urge to binge even after you’ve had your regular meals. The best solution under such circumstances would be to take a small repast every 4 to 5 hours and go for nutrient rich foods.
6. Don’t be Obsessive about Your Weight
Being regular with your workouts and sticking to a dieting regimen would be more than sufficient as far as your weight loss program is concerned. Watching your weight on a daily basis would certainly amount to obsession as it’d mean that you don’t feel motivated with your exercise program. There would be some telltale signs that your body is slowly morphing into the ideal physique you have been aspiring for. Clothes that used to tight hug your body will become more wearable.
7. Take At Least 8-10 Glasses of Water a Day
Water is the only nutrient that you can have as much as you’d like without feeling guilty of overeating or rather, over-drinking. Water helps in keeping your body well hydrated, controls your body temperature, boosts metabolism, help maintain body weight, helps rid your body of waste, and supplies nutrients to the cells. To keep your body hydrated, have plenty of fresh and whole fruits, and vegetable soups. Drink at least 8-10 glasses of water a day and stay away from carbonated and caffeinated beverages.
8. Don’t be a Couch Potato
Restrict your television viewing to not more than 10-12 hours per week. In fact, don’t fall into the habit of doing any sort of activity that requires you to sit for hours on end if it is not absolutely necessary. Rather, use these hours into performing tasks that gel with your fitness regimen and existing lifestyle.
9. Eat Whole Grains
Whole grains include oatmeal, brown rice, whole-wheat flour, whole cornmeal, whole rye, millet, sorghum, triticale, and bulgur or cracked wheat. Any food item that is processed from whole grains like rice, wheat, barley, oats or maize is a whole grain product. Grains are usually classified under two broad categories; refined and whole grains. Whole grains retain the complete kernel with the bran and the germ besides the endosperm whereas the refined grains are milled that does away with the bran and the endosperm.
Consuming whole grains allay the risk of chronic lifestyle diseases like cardiovascular disease, hypertension and diabetes. Read the classification on the packet carefully before buying because you might not always get what you see.