If you’re seeking a safe and speedy approach to weight loss, consider integrating these 8 healthy eating habits into your daily routine. Consistency is key to achieving long-term success and maintaining a healthy weight.
1. Make protein a major part of your diet.
Aim for 20 to 30 grams of protein per meal, and also include protein with snacks. Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates and fats and helps keep us full for longer.
It’s much easier to make healthy choices when you’re not hungry! Additionally, protein foods help support stable blood sugar levels. High-carbohydrate meals spike insulin levels, and one function of insulin is that it triggers fat storage.
An additional benefit of consuming a higher-protein diet when focusing on weight loss is that protein helps maintain lean muscle mass which results in a higher resting metabolic rate.
2. Practice intuitive eating.
Listening to your internal cues of hunger and fullness can help you control portion sizes. Honoring fullness can help prevent overeating and ensure that you’re not consuming more calories than your body needs.
3. Don’t skip meals.
When you skip meals or go too long in between meals or snacks, you get overly hungry. This makes it much more difficult to make healthy choices, and it also makes it harder to not overeat later. Skipping meals can result in a slower metabolism, and can often leave you feeling fatigued, which can negatively impact your workouts both in effort and recovery.
If eating consistent meals is tough for you, try setting alarms and packing snacks. Set alarm reminders on your phone or schedule meal or snack breaks on your calendar so that you don’t forget. Also, set yourself up for success by bringing healthy snacks with you when you’re away from home, so you’re not caught in a situation where you are really hungry but have no access to healthy food.
4. Stay hydrated.
Drinking enough water can help you to feel full and prevent overeating. Aim to drink about half your body weight in ounces of hydrating fluids per day.
5. Ditch (or greatly reduce) sugary beverages.
Juices, sodas, fancy coffees, etc. often are the calorie-equivalent of a meal, yet, they will still leave you hungry. Moreover, the sugar content is often more than a candy bar, which will cause blood sugar levels to rise. If sodas or fancy coffees are staples in your diet, the simple act of removing those could result in a caloric reduction of at least 250 calories per day, which brings you halfway to the recommended 500-calorie deficit.
Instead, make sure you find other beverages that you enjoy so that you’re staying hydrated. Fruit-infused waters, sparkling water, herbal teas, coffee with cinnamon, milk of choice, and monk fruit are ways to excite your palate without overloading your body with sugar.
6. Limit processed food intake and enjoy them in moderation.
Processed foods are often high in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and empty calories, which can contribute to weight gain. Instead, focus on eating whole, nutrient-dense foods that will provide your body with the nutrients it needs.
7. Balance your meals with protein, complex carbs, and healthy fats.
For any eating pattern to remain successful long-term, you need to feel satisfied. The combination of protein, carbs, and healthy fats helps regulate appetite and also supports more stable energy levels throughout the day.
When you have more energy, you move more and push harder in workouts. When you’re satisfied, you’ll also find that pesky cravings for sugar also decrease naturally. Keep it simple and prep in bulk if you’re able.
Allocating one day to prepare several different protein and carb options will make it so much easier for you to balance your meals during the week. Use different fats and flavorings to add variety.
8. Fill half of your plate with colorful veggies.
In addition to providing a host of vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients, vegetables also provide fiber and water.
Fiber is more slowly digested and helps keep you feeling full for a longer period of time. Vegetables are a very low-calorie way to add volume to your meal as well, which leaves you more satisfied. Increased vegetable intake is also linked to lower blood sugar levels, lower LDL cholesterol, lower triglycerides, and increased HDL (the “good” cholesterol). Vegetables also help promote liver detoxification.
To eat more veggies, try to switch up the vegetables that you consume and eat the rainbow. The different colors of vegetables (and fruits) is due to different antioxidants which help protect your body from cellular damage. If veggies are a struggle, try pureeing and adding them to sauces or shredding and adding them to meatballs.