It can be tricky when you want to start eating healthier and feeling better, but aren’t sure where to start. Here are 7 super easy healthy eating habits to help you get started.
1. Use your non-dominant hand
We’re so used to to eating, it’s a mindless task. Try using your non-dominant hand to slow down the process. This will help you feel fuller as your stomach has more time to get its “I’m full now!” message to your brain.
“Slower consumption leads to better digestion, reduced GI tract issues, and more satiety. A University of Rhode Island study found that women ate more when eating quickly. The slower eaters ate less while averaging 20 more minutes eating. They also reported far less hunger an hour later.” – breakingmuscle.com
2. Put the fork down between bites
Give yourself time to slow down and chew your food more by putting your fork down between bites.
“After a meal, your gut suppresses a hormone called ghrelin, which controls hunger, while also releasing fullness hormones. These hormones tell your brain that you have eaten, reducing appetite, making you feel full, and helping you stop eating. This process takes about 20 minutes, so slowing down gives your brain the time it needs to receive these signals.” – healthline.com
3. Chew more
A lot of us eat quite quickly and don’t chew our food as much as we should be. Chewing helps our bodies to break down the food better and get all those good nutrients from our foods.
“The physical process of chewing food in your mouth helps to break down larger particles of food into smaller particles. This helps to reduce stress on the esophagus and helps the stomach metabolize your food. When you chew each mouthful properly, you also release a lot of saliva, which contains digestive enzymes.” – heritageihc.com
4. Take a deep breath before taking a bite
Taking the time to breathe helps engage your parasympathetic nervous system (the system responsible for preparing your body for digestion).
“To put it more simply… breathing decreases nerve activity in the sympathetic nervous system, which arouses the body for physical activity and exertion, and increases the influence of the more quieting parasympathetic nervous system, which regulates the relaxation response.” – yogainternational.com
5. Practice mindful eating
Mindful Eating means to focus on your meal (not mindlessly eating it in front of the TV or computer) and really take stock on what you’re feeling before you eat, while you eat, and after you’ve finished.
“Being mindful can bring about better management of your emotions. Sometimes people restrict or overeat as a way to cope with negative feelings. Eating and not eating can distract you from your worries. When you have healthier ways of coping, such as mindful breathing and letting go of anxiety, you may no longer manage your emotions through your food choices. You can tolerate your emotions, as uncomfortable as they may be, without pushing them away or stuffing them down with food.” – huffpost.com
6. Fill up on veges first
When you’ve made yourself a meal with veggies, try eating them first so you feel fuller quicker while getting those all those nutrient goodies.
“Because of the fiber in vegetables, you get fuller faster; which is another reason why it’s nearly impossible to overeat veggies.” – askdrsears.com
7. Take note of how you feel
Find yourself wandering to the fridge back and forth? Whether it’s habits or nerves, take a second to focus on what you’re feeling right now before grabbing a snack.
“Psychologists and researchers say mindfulness helps people recognize the difference between emotional and physical hunger and satiety and introduces a “moment of choice” between the urge and eating.” – health.harvard.edu
Healthy Eating Habits Recap
Use your non-dominant hand to make it take longer for you to eat
Put the fork down between bites to slow down the process
Chew more to help break your food down and extract nutrients
Take deep breathes between bites to help activate your parasympathetic nervous system
Practice mindful eating to focus on how you’re feeling
Fill up on the veggies first to get all that fibre to make you feel fuller
Take note of why you’re eating – is it boredom, emotional, or are you genuinely hungry?