Find health choices for snacks and plan ahead:
- If you are in the habit of eating candy at the end of the day for energy, try having a cup of herbal tea and a small handful of almonds.
- Eat fruit and yogurt in the mid-afternoon about 3 or 4 hours after lunch.
Control your portion sizes. It is hard to eat only a few chips or other tempting foods when there is a lot in front of you. Take only a small portion and put the rest away. Eat on a plate or in a bowl instead of straight out of a bag.
- Put down your fork between bites.
- Wait until you have swallowed your mouthful of food before taking the next bite.
Eating too quickly leads to overeating when the food you have eaten has not yet reached your stomach and told your brain you are full. You will know you are eating too quickly if you feel stuffed about 20 minutes after you stop eating.
Eat only when you are hungry:
- Eating when you feel worried, tense, or bored also leads to overeating. Instead, call a friend or go for a walk to help you feel better.
- Give your body and your brain time to relax from the stress of daily life. Take a mental or physical break to help you feel better without turning to food as a reward.
Plan your meals:
- Know what you will eat ahead of time so you can avoid buying unhealthy foods (impulse buying) or eating at fast-food restaurants.
- Plan your dinners at the beginning of the week so you can prepare healthy, well-balanced meals each evening.
- Prepare some dinner components ahead of time (such as chopping vegetables.) This will allow you to put together a healthy meal more quickly at the end of the day.
Get rid of unhealthy foods:
- Replace your candy dish with a bowl of fruit or nuts.
- When you do have unhealthy foods in your house, put them in a place that is hard for you to reach rather than out on the counter.
An old saying goes: "Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince, and dinner like a pauper."
Breakfast sets the tone for the day. A hearty, healthy breakfast will give your body the energy it needs to get you to lunch. If you are not hungry when you wake up, you could try a glass of milk or a small fruit and dairy-based smoothie.
Plan a good lunch that will satisfy you, and a healthy afternoon snack that will keep you from becoming too hungry before dinner time.
Avoid skipping meals. Missing a regular meal or snack often leads to overeating or making unhealthy choices.
Once you have changed 1 or 2 old unhealthy habits, try changing 1 or 2 more.