Diet has, and always will be, a large talking point for many people across the world but it isn’t just the food we eat that can affect our body, diet habits can also have a huge effect on the way our body processes food and how these habits affect our overall health! Here are some of the main ‘bad habits’ that can occur with your diet and some tips on how you can squash them.
The first and probably most problematic habit is mindless eating. We have all heard the saying ‘your eyes are bigger than your belly’, but this is proven to be true. If you pile your plate high with food you unknowingly eat all the food, even if you feel full. This can also happen if you eat straight from the container, lets take ice cream for example. If you eat ice cream direct from the container it is very difficult to stop when you feel like you’ve had enough because you can see that there is still so much left, this is the same with normal meals if portions are big. A great way to overcome this is to have smaller portions more frequently throughout the day. Instead of having three larger portions split these down into five to six smaller portions, not only will this keep you full more efficiently it will help to straw away from overfilling your plate at dinner times. Another good way to avoid over filling your plate is to use smaller plates and dishes and stick to the rule of filling your plate with 50% fruit and veg, 25% protein and 25% carbs.
Another habit that can be rectified easily is snacking throughout the day and eating when you are bored. Boredom is a huge reason to why people snack as what is more fun than eating? A lot of the time a snack of chocolate or a pack of crisps can be a quick fix, but this is the downfall when trying to eat healthier or just sticking to an overall healthy diet. To make sure you aren’t snacking all the bad stuff create some space within your fridge and start with some small meal prep to make sure when you do snack it is on the good stuff and not products filled with sugar. A great snack to keep in the fridge are chopped carrots, peppers, and cucumber. With the water content of the veggies not only are you getting some all-important hydration, but they also fill you up much more than a bar of chocolate can. There are many other options for snacks too, baking some healthy goods can also make an amazing snack and not only does it work out as a great snack, but baking is also a brilliant activity for individuals when you are bored!
Although we feel hungry day to day you might not actually be hungry for food. Each day over 65% of UK adults don’t drink the recommended daily water intake, a lot of the time when you feel hungry it is likely that it isn’t hunger it is dehydration. If you feel hungry less than 3 hours after you have eaten it is highly likely that you are just thirsty so why drink a glass of water to test the theory! A great way to make sure you are staying hydrated throughout the day is to carry a reusable bottle around with you, when you are holding a bottle or seeing it constantly throughout the day it will remind you that you need to drink water. If water isn’t your thing there are many rehydration sachets that you can add to your water to make it taste much better, you will also benefit from these as they contain vitamins and electrolytes and with low sugar it is much healthier than standard squash or sugary drinks. If you are staying hydrated, it is less likely that you will feel hungry throughout the day.
We hear quite often that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but we don’t really appreciate how important breakfast is. Normally it is quicker to skip breakfast or maybe you just don’t feel like eating food early in the morning, but this sets our minds into a different direction of keeping up with a healthy diet. Even though food might not be a first through as you are rushing to get out of the door for work or make sure the kids get to school on time, it is essential to make sure that breakfast is a priority. It is important to make time for breakfast as this is what replenishes the body from the overnight fasting period, our body needs lots of essential nutrients after sleeping so it is good to prepare breakfast the night before for ease when you wake up. A good idea for prepping breakfast the night before is overnight oats, not only are they delicious they fill you with the nutrients you need as well as filling you up for a while. They can take a couple of minutes to whip up the night before and taste better the longer they sit so make a couple at a time and keep them in the fridge till you want to eat them. If oats aren’t for you there are many other meal prepping ideas that can maintain a balanced diet as well as being quick and easy to prepare in the morning.
Another bad habit that you don’t often think about when thinking about maintaining a healthy diet is eating too fast. It takes the brain 15-20 minutes to register that it is full so if you eat all your food within 10 minutes you are still going to feel hungry, even when you have had enough food. Eating quickly can ultimately then lead back to overeating. To make sure you aren’t eating more than your body needs, take regular breaks while eating, stop every other mouthful to have a drink or engage in conversation at the table. This will enable your brain to catch up to your stomach, as it takes 15-20 minutes for your brain to register whether you are full, this is how long it should take you to eat a meal.
Irregular sleep is something that you might not consider a bad diet habit, but sleep has a direct link to a bad, irregular diet. Having an irregular sleeping habit or not sleeping at all can affect how our body replenishes, when we sleep our body rejuvenates and reloads the body for the next morning. If there is a lack of sleep hunger-regulating hormones can be affected which in turn causes you to want to eat more often. The lack of sleep can also cause cravings and these cravings are most likely to be sugary and fatty foods. This is because when you don’t sleep very well the body lacks motivation and there are a reduced number of endorphins, without this boost of energy your mind and body turn to convenience and normally convenience food is junk food. To make sure that your sleep isn’t having an affect on your diet, make sure you are getting at least 8 hours of good quality sleep per night. For your body to replenish it must enter a deep sleeping stage so enable your body to do this, it can be achieved by sleeping in a dark, cool room, eliminating all distracting noises or lights. There are also minerals you can take before sleep such as Magnesium which enables your brain to relax enough to drift off into a deep sleep.
There are lots of variations of bad diet habits, we have just listed a couple and suggested some smaller changes to help stay on track with a balanced healthy diet. Let us know in the comments below what bad diets you encounter daily and what small changes you want to put in place to squash these!