Everyday, multiple times a day, we are faced with the decision of what to eat. Most of us are creatures of habit – we buy the same foods, make the same recipes and are comfortable in our ways. When you know your diet isn’t great and need motivation to make that initial change – it can feel extremely overwhelming and daunting. This is completely normal – even the best intentions to change can fall short as our habits become automatic over time, making the possibility of a new habit sticking feel seemingly difficult. Even once a habit is changed we can default back to it during times of stress or vulnerability, as our habitual responses often trump good intentions. However, we can this cycle! And if you are reading this, you’ve taken the first step.

Research shows that healthy eating habits are more successful by simply:

1. Being aware of the bad habits you want to fix, coupled with

2. A gradual, achievable approach to the change

A great place to start is by taking inventory on your current diet – become more aware of what you eat in a day, when, where, the portion sizes, and how each food makes you feel.

Now, with this list alone you will likely see what it is you want to change, but may still be stuck on the “how”

How to kick-start healthy eating habits:

1. Ensure your environment is set up for success

FAMILY/FRIENDS/COLLEAGUES

Tell the people around you that you are making some changes and would appreciate their support. This will help them to understand why you may be eating different to them and ensure they don’t tempt you with foods you do not want. Better yet – invite them to join you! Making healthy eating habits is easier when you have a support network around you.

WORK

Pack you own lunch and snacks for work – this lets you have more control over what you eat and reduces the temptation of potentially unhealthy choices around you.

HOME

Go through your cupboard and get rid of any food that may derail your progress. Stock the fridge and cupboards with more fruits, vegetables and protein sources so you always have something on hand.

2. Once your environment is conducive for success, the nexts step is YOU! 

  1. Start with achievable goals. Focus more on adding healthy food to your diet, rather than focusing on taking foods away i.e. adding more vegetables/salads to your meals.
  2. Eat your meals with other when you can – try and make healthy eating a pleasure, not a dreadful chore!
  3. Allow yourself occasional treats. Don’t deprive yourself – the long term, overall change is what is important.
  4. Explore recipes online: experiment with various healthy foods to see which ones you like – you may surprise yourself!

Written by Amy Moldenhauer