“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” – Will Durant
It is true to say that humans are creatures of habit, and therefore habits have a huge impact in all aspects of life, including health. Deciding to change your diet must be incorporated into your daily habits if you wish to make a lasting change. Changing rituals of a lifetime can be difficult, so with that in mind, we have gathered our top five hacks to changing your food habits for good.
Become aware of your current habits: Oftentimes, we are unaware of the little food habits we have which can make a difference, like the extra cookie we have with tea without thinking, or the ingredients we nibble at while preparing meals. Keep a food journal of everything you eat and drink for one week to identify what areas can be changed.
Make substitutions instead of cutting certain foods out: Cutting foods out completely can be too difficult, and often leads to relapse. Instead, try making healthy substitutes for foods currently eaten. Instead of having sweet breakfast cereal, have oats with added fruits. If you usually have two cookies with your coffee, try cutting back to one, and make it homemade. Change one thing at a time, ensuring you are fully comfortable with one change before moving on to the next one. The goal is to make the change feel like a normal part of your routine.
Make it visual: If your goal is to eat more of certain foods, make them more visible. If your goal is to eat more produce, put your fruit and vegetables out on the countertop where you will see them. If you want to drink more water, try putting marks on your water bottle to denote glasses so you can visually see your progress.
Make it easy: We are programmed to choose the easiest options, particularly when tired. This is why take-out or commercial microwavable meals can seem so tempting after a long day at work. Unfortunately these can be loaded with unwanted salt, fat and sugar along with preservatives and other unpronounceable ingredients. Counteract this by cooking up fresh foods into healthy meals at the weekend to enjoy throughout the week instead of having to cook. Now the easiest thing is to reheat what you already have, rather than waiting for food to be delivered – a no-brainer!
Associate the activity with a reward: In order for the habit to stick, you must be able to derive some pleasure from it. Healthy eating doesn’t have to be dull, far from it. If you goal is to eat healthier, seek out recipes you enjoy. That way, your brain will associate the extra effort taken to cook the meals, with pleasurable tastes. Luckily we are here to help you with this.
Check out our recipe section for easy meals which make healthy eating tastier than ever.