How many Healthy Eating Habits do you use on a weekly basis?

See how you compare, and feel free to steal any and all of these healthy habits. Keep in mind, a habit does not change overnight. It takes about 4 weeks for a habit to form, and 8 weeks for it to become your new normal, and stick. Here are the Top 8 healthy eating habits!

1. Eat every 3-4 hours.

Did you know your body goes into starvation mode after 3 hours of eating? Think back to caveman days, when they didn’t know where their next meal was going to come from. When they hunted food, and ate, their metabolism kicked in to start burning the new caloris as fuel and energy. After 3 hours, the body starts to conserve the calories and energy that you ate, because it doesn’t know when the next meal is coming…a couple of hours, or even days!

Most people who lead a healthy lifestyle thought this was the most important healthy eating habit. So healthy eaters eat 4-6 small meals a day. When you start to do this, you also realize, that you never really get to that feeling of “I’m Starving! I must eat everything, including the table in front of me!” Because your constantly feeding that fire or energy burner, your body, on a regular basis, so it doesn’t conserve, or keep on every calorie that you eat. You body actually becomes an efficient calorie burning machine!

So if your in the habit of skipping meals, STOP! If your a breakfast skipper, and had dinner at 6pm the night before and don’t eat lunch until 12 noon the next day, that is 18 hours between meals!!! Just imagine the calories your body kept on to make sure it could power through your super busy morning.

2. Drink your water.

Aim to drink 8-12 glasses of water a day. There are mixed reviews if “any” drink with water included counts. Some people include drinks such as coffee as a serving of water. But using common sense, I would think I would feel a whole lot better after drinking 8 glasses of just water, compared to 8 glasses of coffee a day!

There are many benefits of drinking water, staying hydrated is obviously one of the top benefits. But it is also a healthy way to determine if that signal your body is giving you that it wants a snack, is legit. Try this, the next you feel like you just HAVE to eat that vending machine food on a whim, have a glass a water. Wait a couple minutes, then reassess if your still hungry. Staying hydrated throughout your day is very important to making healthy food choices and keeping your new healthy eating habits.

3. Don’t drink your Calories!

You may have heard about the saying, “watch out for the Freshman 15!” Referring to the weight most college students gain their first year of college. This isn’t due to the super awesome food available at their dining hall, its from drinking alcohol. Take the summer’s off of drinking, you magically lose the weight. Crazy how it works.

However, everyone must be aware of this, even kids. Drinking multiple glasses of juice a day has a huge impact on calorie impact. Try one glass a day, and even consider diluting with water. As a side note, when I was pregnant, I started drinking 3-4 glasses of juice a day, because I sadly had trouble eating fruits and vegetable. Let’s just say, my weight skyrocketed in those two weeks, before I realized what was going on.

This is why drinking water is important. Have you ever looked at the calorie content in juice, soda, alcohol, shakes, coffee, etc? They will definitely cost ya! And unfortunately, most of them don’t have nutritous value. So that 800 calories you drank today between juice in the morning, a loaded latte mid-morning, and two after work drinks just added nothing to your daily nutrition needs. Depending on your daily calorie needs, thats almost half of your daily calories with no nutritional value! Yikes!

4. My favorite healthy eating habit: Have a Nutrition Plan vs. Diet!

You body requires calories to function. Make sure those calories you take in are useful. There are too many fad diets to talk about in this one tip. A diet by definition from Webster’s dictionary means, manner of living, habitual nourishment, and food and drink regularly provided or consumed. That’s it. Your personal diet, is whatever you eat and drink on a regular basis. Choose to make your daily diet nutritous choices and your off to a good start to keep your healthy eating habit.

5. Know what Healthy Eating Guidelines are.

Best advice I ever heard and remembered about nutrition came from my nutrition and exercise 101 class freshman year in college. My professor said, “There is no secret, just eat a variety of food, and lots of different colored fruits and vegetables.”

Sounds too simple, right? But think about it, every piece of scientific data and recommendation given for healthy eating guidelines, or the food pyramid, are very straight forward and simple. It is recommended to emphasize fruit and vegetables, whole grains, and fat-free or low-fat milk products. Include healthy proteins such as lean meat, fish, eggs, nuts. Limit bad fats, salt/sodium, and sugar.

6. Everything in EVEN moderation.

This is not a Free Pass to eat everything in site in smaller portions! Everyone seems to have varying ideas of what their normal serving size is. Best advice, make healthy choices on a normal basis, and feel free to substitute some of your favorite meals with healthier recipes.

As a last resort, don’t feel like you can’t have your favorite ice cream ever again. I find that if someone tells me I can’t have ice cream (insert your favorite food here), that makes me want it even more. Compromise, have the healthier option, or plan on having a small serving/taste every now and again so you don’t feel deprived.

7. Assess your lifestyle, plan for food.

Everyone has their own food routine. If you don’t believe me, track for a week. Make sure you include the weekends. Track what time you eat, what you eat, and how much. If your really good, and want to look deeper, take note of your hunger level when your eating, and why your eating.

Some people eat just because their bored. Others tell me they are just too busy and forget to eat (I’ve never had that problem). If you know you have a busy day at work the next day, pack several small healthy snacks that you can eat throughout the day between meetings. If you know you eat mindlessly in front of the tv at night, plan a healthy dinner, then plan on having a healthy snack in the evening. If you feel your still hungry, drink some water, and see how you feel after a half hour show is done. Be really good, and do some exercises during the commercials!

It’s always easier to develp healthy eating habits, when you plan ahead for the day’s events. You are the most important person to you, so take 5 minutes a day to think about your health!

8. Eat the way you want to feel.

As you choose a healthy well balanced nutrtion plan, your body will begin to Thank You! You’ll slowly start to feel more energy, less lethargic, sleep better, look better, and be a better person all around! As you take care of yourself and your health, you will develop a healthy confidence that other people will begin to notice as well.