For most Americans, rushing to get dinner on the table between work, soccer, ballet class and bedtime, time is often the missing ingredient, and it leads many people to rely on take-out, fast-foods and easy-to-fix convenience foods, diet experts say.
But most Americans still eat at home. But things are a little different in the past years. Frozen and pre-prepared foods have gotten more popular and people are not ordering out so much as they did three or four years ago.
The fact is that you want to eat in your own house and you don’t want to go to a restaurant. But you also don’t want to prepare the meal, or you want to spend little time preparing it. One of the ways to do that is to prepare fewer dishes. But only half of these dishes are still put together with fresh ingredients, as assembling a meal requires time and effort.
Lola O’Rourke, a spokeswoman for the American dietetic association said that the groceries stores offer a lot of things that are good for one’s health and are also easy to fix. “I think there are very healthful options available”, she said. “If you look in the produce department, there are pre-prepped vegetables that are ready for stir-fry or whatever”.
The thing is that the number of meals we have daily hasn’t changed significantly over the past 20 years, but, unfortunately, if we look around us, we must conclude that the average meal is getting larger. The amount of food people eat has been studied and the conclusion that if you give people more food, they will eat more has been drawn. Restaurants give large portions of food in order to attract their customers, but they don’t think of people’s health when they do that.
The above mentioned are just a few of the bad eating habits we all have. Let’s see what is to be done in order to make our life healthier and to improve our eating habits.
First of all, you have to know your habits. To become aware of your eating habits, keep track of situations in which you find yourself craving unhealthy foods. Write them down in a notebook. Keep a list of what, when and why you eat for a few days. Ask yourself if you tend to eat when you feel bored, angry, tired, stressed, depressed, or anxious.
If you do that, try, before eating, to ask yourself if you really are hungry. If the answer is no, consider having just a glass of water. Also, learn to refuse gracefully when people offer food that doesn’t fit into your menu plan and do something to distract yourself from your desire to eat.
The next step you should take is to change gradually. When you have identified an eating habit you would like to change, remember that gradual changes work best.
When you realize the fact that your eating habits aren’t as appropriate as they should be, try to think positively. Making changes to your eating habits can be enjoyable and the health benefits will soon become obvious.
Here are some ‘smart’ eating habits for you to consider. Remember the fact that how you eat your food is as important as what you eat.
Eat slowly – chew your food well
It takes 20 minutes before your stomach sends a clear message to your brain that you are full. If you take up the time to chew your food well, you will notice you will end up eating less. It is ideal for you to have smaller, frequent meals instead of larger, infrequent ones.
If you want to have a better weight, starving yourself isn’t going to help, you need to eat well. When your body doesn’t receive the required nutrients, your metabolism slows down. Metabolism is the rate you burn calories while resting. So, if you don’t eat enough, fewer calories will be burnt and there will be less fat loss. You should eat small meals at regular intervals to keep your energy levels high.
Avoid too much red meat
Red meats are high in saturated fat and should be avoided if you have high cholesterol.
Chicken and fish are the best meats to consume. Fish is better than chicken because it has antioxidants. Antioxidants are organic substances that include vitamins C, E, A and carotenoids. Beta-carotenoid is the most popular of carotenoids.
Antioxidants help prevent cancer, heart disease and stroke.
These meats can be baked, grilled or roasted. Frying will add unnecessary fat.
Add fibres to your eating because this adds bulk to your food and prevents constipation. Whole grains food like oatmeal, bran, wheat germ, brown rice, fruits, prunes (dried plums), etc, are all good sources of fibre.
Have onion and garlic
Onion decreases blood pressure and garlic decreases cholesterol. Any amount and form of onion and garlic will give you the benefits of their properties, but a raw garlic clove taken on an empty stomach in the morning is the best.
Use less salt
Use minimum amount of salt for cooking if you have high blood pressure. Salt also causes water retention, which means that if you use too much of it, your body will retain water if it is not receiving enough. After all, it still has to carry on the normal functioning of the organs and, if you are not drinking enough water, then the body starts keeping it. Water being taken in other forms such as soups and drinks is retained for later use. Bloating and puffiness are all signs of water retention.
Have calcium-rich foods
Use skimmed or double-toned milk and milk products as they contain less fat. Double-toned milk has lesser fat than toned or full cream milk. Cow’s milk is just as good as skimmed milk and it is definitely better than buffaloes’ milk as this contains large amounts of fat. You should normally have between one and two glasses of milk every day. If you are not such a big fan of milk, you should try to eat almonds, figs, red kidney beans, mustard greens, etc, which contain large amount of calcium.
Have foods that contain iron
These include red meats, especially liver, fruits like watermelon and pomegranate, vegetables like spinach, beans, beets and broccoli, whole grains, dried fruits, sunflower seeds, and many others.
Relish the flavors
I am sure that you have heard of this before. The best eating habit, which we all seem to overlook, is to actually taste and enjoy the flavor of the food with our emotions instead of just our tongue.
Developing healthy eating habits is simpler and easier than you might have thought. You will look and feel better if you make a habit of eating healthfully. You will also have more energy and think more clearly. Your immune system will be stronger so you will not get sick as often. Healthy eating habits are your ticket to a healthier body and mind.
If you choose to have healthy eating habits, this will definitely have an impact on your entire life. Try to be aware of the calories and fat you eat every day. Most people have daily double amounts of calories and fat, without even knowing that.
And, most of all, remember that junk food leads to more junk food. The problem with eating unhealthy foods is it makes you crave even more junk food. A handful of chips usually leaves you wanting more. Once you break the cycle of unhealthy eating, it’s easier to maintain good eating habits which leads to weight loss.