We’re not talking large cuts of meat or protein shakes. “A good rule of thumb is to pair a protein each meal or snack,” says MaryKate O’Riordan, BS, RD. “Protein metabolizes slowly, meaning that it will keep you feeling fuller longer.”
O’Riordan recommends combos like cheese with grapes and celery with peanut butter for healthy and filling snack options. “And, as an added bonus: Protein keeps blood sugars stable the best fat loss!” she says.
Eat at the table.
We’re all busy, between work, school, sports, and everything else. However, it’s important carve some time out of your day to enjoy a sit-down meal. Not only this time you can use to bond with your family, but sitting down for dinner also great for your health: “Eating mindlessly while doing other things leads to overconsumption, and more likely than not you will be making poorer food choices,” O’Riordan says.
Keep healthy snacks on deck.
Snacking gets a bad rap — but there’s nothing wrong with it as long as you choose foods that’ll keep your energy levels soaring all day long. Just make sure your only snack when you’re actually hungry (eating out of boredom is a bad habit) and plan ahead.
“It’s easy to overeat and resort to poor food “Making a routine of having go-to snacks available for between meals is a pro tip to maintaining healthy meal portions and properly fueling your body.”
Thoroughly chew your food.
Chewing is the first part of the digestive process, although it doesn’t get as much attention as it should. Taking the time chew properly can help the enzymes in your saliva breakdown food so that it’s more easily digested in your body. Chewing can also help you avoid overeating, which leads to weight gain.
“It takes your brain about 20 minutes to signal that you are full, so if you take time to thoroughly chew your food and slow down mealtime, your body will have time to realize you’re satiated,” says O’Riordan.
Use smaller plates.
Large plate = more food, it’s as simple as that. “Using smaller plate, like a salad plate, at meals helps maintain portions and consume fewer calories,” says O’Riodan. This will help you stay mindful of how much food you’re consuming, with little to no effort.
Don’t refer to food as “bad.”
It doesn’t pay to refer to brownies as “bad” and kale as “good.” In a University of Toronto study, women who were deprived of chocolate for a week experienced more cravings were more likely to eat more chocolate.
Not only is staying hydrated important to maintaining overall health (especially when exercising), but also sometimes, we confuse the feeling of thirst for hunger, says the Mayo Clinic. “Staying hydrated is key for weight management and for health overall,” registered dietitian Jackie London told Woman’s Day.
Don’t waste time on diet foods.
Foods with low-fat or low-calorie labels sound good in theory. The problem is that they’re often heavily processed high in carbs. “These will convert to sugar in your, potentially contributing to weight gain,” says Heiser. What’s more, companies enhance these products after removing fat by pumping them with sugar, salt and other additives.
Let yourself off the hook.
You’ve just eaten a cheeseburger and polished off the fries. Even if it wasn’t reflective of your healthy eating goals, forgive yourself and move on, promising eat better at the next meal. Self-compassion can lead to a better relationship with food and a healthier BMI, reveals new research from the University of Waterloo in Canada.
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