improve your eating habit

How to Improve Your Eating Habits – Dos and Don’ts

by Maryann Opatola

Eating healthy is an important key to a healthy life. Our physical fitness and overall health are highly dependent on what we eat. Hence, it is very essential to improve your eating habits to achieve that. 

Apart from improving your physical and psychological health, it as well increases your energy level. 

Healthy eating habits help reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, osteoporosis, heart disease, certain types of cancer, and many other health problems.

In this article, I’ll be sharing the Dos and Don’ts of eating habits so you can cultivate healthier eating habits. Ready? Let’s get started!

How to Improve Your Eating Habit

  1. Always Start Your Day With a Healthy Meal

Start your day with a healthy meal to improve your eating habits. Breakfast is an important meal of the day, hence, it is necessary to make it a routine to never miss breakfast. 

Examples of breakfast you can take to improve your eating habits include foods like oats, eggs, bread, and low-sugar cereals. Also always ensure your breakfast is made up of a balanced diet.

This is the first way to develop a healthier eating habit. 

Read also: Top 10 body-building Foods in Nigeria.

  1. Avoid Getting Drunk or Eating Junks

Alcohol has a high level of calories and if taken beyond normality can be detrimental to one’s health. Youths are fond of consuming excessive alcohol and eating junk food. To eat healthily isn’t an easy task, and requires some level of sacrifice. 

Can you go to a party with your friends and abstain from drinking? If you love drinking, it would be difficult. The same thing for junk food, more people prefer junk food to healthy foods. Is it going to be easy to forgo it? I bet not. In essence, the steps to improve eating habits are for those who can sacrifice.

  1. Eat Varieties of Food

Everyone has a favorite dish. However, we can’t keep eating that same dish every day, because it can lead to malnutrition. To improve your eating habits, you need to try a variety of healthy foods that include the ones you like and the ones you don’t, to maintain a balanced diet and a nourished body system. 

  1. Avoid Salty Food

Avoid bad eating habits such as eating salty foods. Too much salt results in blood pressure, strokes, and other heart diseases.  Reducing the amount of salt you add to your food is a good way to improve your eating habit. 

  1. Love the Green

By “love the green”, I mean you should eat more vegetables. In Nigeria, there are so many green vegetables we are blessed with. Too numerous to mention. 

Pay a visit to the market and buy different sorts of vegetables to make soup.

Apart from vegetables aiding to improve your eating habits, it serves as an appetizer and a great soup for any Nigerian swallow meal. To improve your eating habits for healthier nutrition, vegetables are also the best way to start.

Read also: 15 Most Indigenous and Popular Nigerian Foods. 

  1. Avoid Fried or Grilled Food

A lot of people prefer fried or grilled fish or chicken but are not aware that doing so results in the formation of harmful compounds. There’s no harm in occasionally eating fried and grilled food, but once it’s all the time, it’s no good. 

Instead of frying or grilling, use these methods to get your food done; stewing, poaching, baking, roasting, simmering, cooking, and broiling. 

The compounds formed while frying and grilling are glycation end products, heterocyclic amines, and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Health practitioners have severely linked these compounds to the causes of heart diseases and cancer.

  1. Don’t Lay Down Immediately After Eating

A lot of people don’t know this: it is wrong to sleep or lay down immediately after eating. This is because lying down when the food is not yet digested can lead to indigestion, throwing up, and stomach upset. 

Always sit up for at least 20 minutes after eating so that you can have flow-on digestion. In addition, avoid sleeping too late to improve your eating habits. 

Most people eat late dinners and are too tired to stay even a minute awake after eating. When this occurs, there is no proper procession before excretion.

This habit reduces the potency of the functions of the food and passes it as waste products. 

Thus, for healthy and proper food digestion and circulation, improve your eating habits by being cautious about what time you eat, and what you do after eating.

Read also: 9 Nigerian foods to avoid eating at night.

  1. Drink Lots of Water

You gain lots of calories when you consume beverages and sugar and a very healthy way of reducing that is by drinking lots of water. The tremendous importance of drinking water includes loss of weight and improving weight maintenance. 

Drinking water does a lot for those seeking to lose weight because it burns down calories. Drinking water also helps a lot in digestion, excretion, and aiding healthy skin.

  1. Eat Home-made Meal 

These days, people eat more from fast food restaurants than they eat homemade meals. This shouldn’t be the case if you want to improve your eating habits because homemade meals allow you to include every healthy ingredient and spice into the food.

You have no idea how fast food restaurants make their food. So which sounds, feels, and tastes healthier? The one you make, or the one someone you don’t even know made? Of course, it’s the former.

  1. Try a Healthy Recipe at Least Once a Week

Search for recipes on the internet, or in cookbooks and use them as guides in making delicious, and healthy meals for yourself. Do this at least once or twice a week to improve your eating habits positively.

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Healthy Nigerian Spices to Eat to Improve Your Eating Habits

Nigeria is blessed with many natural ingredients healthy for eating. Some of these are:

  1. Garlic

garlic

Garlic doesn’t smell good, but when it’s added to a meal, it increases the aroma. Plus, its health benefits are great. It helps prevent gynecology disorders, and also helps to manage blood sugar and cholesterol level.

  1. Aloe vera

aloe vera

Aloe vera is a lot in one. The benefits are endless; from the skin, and the hair, to our diet. Aloe vera can do all of that. You can mix aloe vera with lime to make a healthy juice too to improve your eating habits.

  1. Waterleaf

waterleaf

Waterleaf is a common vegetable in Nigeria and is used to make egusi soup and other kinds of soup. It contains lots of nutrients and can be used to improve your eating habits.

  1. Ginger

ginger

Ginger is a great spice for cold seasons. It’s hot but healthy for the chest. Make sure to blend them into your food while cooking, or add it to your beverage.

  1. Lime

lime

It is also good to take lime in cold seasons because it can help to prevent you from catching a cold. More to that, lime is a great cleanser; you can squeeze it into your fish, snail, vegetable, and a variety of fresh foods to wash them. It makes them 100% gems-free.

Read also: Top 10 Healthy Nigerian Snacks.

Tricks to Beat Unhealthy Eating Habits.

Frequent healthy habits can change your life. In addition to that, healthy habits can make you have a fit, perfect body, and it can improve your IQ level, skin health, mood and protect you from diseases like heart disease. 

  1. Learning

The first step is learning. Learn what healthy habits we need every day such as drinking 8 cups of water every day, because we lose 4 liters of water from sweating, urinating, etc.

  1. Stick to What you Have Learnt

The second step is to stick the daily habits you’re learning into your daily routine. If you don’t, it will no longer be hard for you to adapt.

  1. Live by the result

The final step is to see the result, live a healthy life, and encourage others to practice healthy eating habits. 

Eating Habits for Kids

Eating habits should be taught from a young age to make it easier to learn, because children are like white sheets and it is the responsibility of adults to color them. 

The diet for kids should be healthy and balanced. It should consist of adequate amounts of fats, carbohydrates, proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and fibers. These are nutritional habits for kids to incorporate into their lifestyle.

  1. Eating a healthier and plentiful breakfast, as breakfast has been said to be the most important meal of the day. 
  2. Eating more fruits and vegetables, and not eating after 6:00 PM. 

This will increase energy and alertness throughout the day, especially for children.

It is believed that most pupils don’t have a healthy breakfast, because of trying to come to school early. When it comes to food choices, students don’t eat enough fruits and vegetables but eat too much fast food or sugary sodas.

Unfortunately, this habit of poor eating will take a heavy toll on a kid’s health and general well-being. The relationship between nervousness and lack of appetite is a vicious cycle. Out of sheer nervousness, kids shun healthy meals which in turn will make them weak.

Useful Ideas to Improve Nutritional Habits for Sick Patients

Poor nutrition can be damaging and can cause a wide range of problems. Below, I have listed ideas on how to go about planning nutritional needs for patients.

  1. Assess how the plan will meet the nutritional needs of the patient.
  2. Evaluate how a nutrition plan might improve the health of the chosen patient. 
  3. Assess the nutritional food plan for the week for the patient and look back at the kind of food and exercise the patient had in the past weeks.
  4. The Food & Nutrition purchasing team should be responsible for all Food and Nutrition product needs of the patients in the hospital.
  5. The requirements of the patient food services are particularly unique as it has to do with the various dietary restrictions of the patients.

Effects of Poor Diets

The result of poor diet, lack of nutritious foods, and absence of activity will result in sickness, disease, and chronic illness. People can prevent these things from happening by making simple changes in the way they live their lives.

Some of today’s underdeveloped countries suffer from mal-nourishment because they are inundated with unhealthy foods and require a multidisciplinary approach to nutrition education.

 Important Points to Include in a Public Nutrition Program

Nutrition is the science that links foods to health and disease. It includes the processes by which human organisms ingest, digest, absorb, transport, and excrete food substances. 

Here are important points for public nutrition programs:

  1. The relationship between poor nutrition and disease is that; with poor nutrition, you are going to be prone to catching a disease due to a weak body system that can’t stand a chance against a virus.
  2. The second point is to eat a balanced diet. Why is our food choice important for good nutrition? The problem of too much consumption of fast food is one that concerns us today.  Modern food is composed of artificial ingredients, flavors, preservatives, and chemicals that have a long-term effect on the health of students. 
  3. The overall goal of medical and nutritional therapy is to assist persons with malnutrition or bad eating habits in making self-directed behavioral changes that will improve their overall health.

 Blood glucose monitoring and testing blood glucose levels pre-meal and post-meal can help the patient with diabetes make better food choices, based on how their bodies respond to specific foods.

Conclusion 

Improving your eating habits takes sacrifice, a gradual process, and learning. With time and effort, you would be able to improve your eating habits. Start now, and you’re one step to being healthy.

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