Improve Your Eating Habits

     Our eating habits today are horrible, not just because of the foods we eat, but also because of how we eat.  Mealtimes should be one of the most important times of the day for families, yet it is one of the most neglected.  For this reason, I am providing some tips for improving our eating habits.  These are just a starting point and can be added to and expanded upon.

1.  Eat all meals and snacks slowly.  Enjoy your food.  Make your mealtime last 20 minutes.  It takes 20 minutes to feel “full” after eating.

2.  Pause between bites.  Use the extra time to talk the people you are eating with.

3.  Designate a regular eating place, such as the kitchen table, and eat all meals and snacks there.

4.  Do nothing else while eating.  Do not combine eating with watching television, reading or working.

5.  Try to eat each meal at the same time each day.

6.  Eat smaller, easily digested meals (high in carbohydrates, low in fat, mildly seasoned).

7.  Use smaller plates to give the appearance of larger portions.

8.  Put only the amount of foot on your plate you intend to eat.  Serve food from the stove.

9.  Pre-plan meals and snacks.  Have appropriate foods on hand.  Planned meals and snacks prevent “life” from interfering with your goals.

10.  Grocery shop from a list.  Never shop for food when you are hungry.

11.  Buy food that requires some preparation to lower the chance of “automatic eating”.  Do not keep food you should not eat in the house.

12.  Keep all food in one location, such as the kitchen, and store it out of sight.

13.  Prepare foods in a way that minimizes fat and reduces excess calories.  Broil or bake meats on a rack.  Drain off fat.  For gravies, use meat drippings with fat skimmed off.  Saute foods in water (not fat).  Steam vegetables or eat them raw, without sauces or dips.

14.  Eat low-calorie snacks:  Raw fruits and vegetables, unbuttered popcorn, puffed cereals, diet beverages, broth, salt-free tomato or vegetable juice, and salads.

15.  Choose “crunchy” foods (like an apple) over “soft” foods (like a banana).  Crunchy foods take longer to chew and tend to be more satisfying.

16.  Establish a regular activity program.  Exercise burns calories, suppresses appetite, and promotes cardiovascular health.

17.  Find ways to deal with stress effectively without food or alcohol.

 Now, what are you going to do with everything we have talked about up until now?  The important thing is to start.  It doesn’t matter where.  It matters when.  Just start.  Get going on this adventure – make sure it is an adventure and make it fun. Get your family involved.  Most of all keep your sense of humor.  You will have some disasters, but that’s no reason to give up or quit.  Open the door to health!

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