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Fit 4 Life | 5 healthy eating habits to build

Published:Monday | October 28, 2019 | 4:02 PMMarvin Gordon/Contributor
Sticking to a plan of one fruit a day will help you finds ways of making fruit consumption easier – whether it means buying from fruit vendors in the morning or preparing your fruits from home.

Many people conflate dieting with healthy nutrition. This couldn't be farther from the truth. Diets are inherently unsustainable because of the restrictions they put on what you can eat. The many pitfalls of dieting have been trumpeted over and over. A far more practical and rewarding approach is to build up small, healthy eating habits. 

Here are five small habits to boost health and fitness.

One of the main reasons why diets fail is because of how restrictive they feel for participants. Building habits makes healthy eating feel natural and effortless. Taking small steps each day – or even each week – might not seem like a lot, but every action will bring you closer to healthy nutrition. 

For this approach to work, however, the steps must be small and easy, and they must also be repeated religiously. So it will take some consistency to make these actions become habits. 

ONE HEALTHY MEAL A DAY

'Healthy' in this case refers to a balanced meal preferably without any processed foods or added sugars, excessive sodium, etc. Eating one healthy meal a day removes some of the pressure of planning for all-day healthy eating while building up a habit of eating healthy meals. 

Over time, it will become a habit which can be improved upon, for example, moving to two or more healthy meals a day. Breakfast is a perfect candidate for your daily healthy meal. It is the first meal of the day and is likely the easiest meal to prepare at home.

ONE DAY WITHOUT PROCESSED FOODS

Reducing processed foods is a major goal in any healthy eating plan, but cutting them out all at once might be too drastic and restrictive to be sustainable. Starting with one day without processed foods each week allows one to explore a world with limited processed foods without feeling pressured. 

For any nutritional plan to work in the long term, foods must be enjoyable. This one-day-a-week approach allows you to explore different foods and recipes and determine what you like before you dive in the deep end. Use your least busy day for this step.

ONE LESS SUGARY DRINK A DAY

From tea or coffee to juices and drinks, most people have several sugary drinks each day. Reducing sugary drinks can be hard. Making a serious effort to reduce the number of sugary drinks by one can allow you to make the transition over time without feeling too restricted.

ONE HUNDRED PER CENT OF RECOMMENDED DAILY WATER

This one will take some effort, but it is worth it. The idea is not to force water, but, instead, to replace other drinks with it and drink it when you are thirsty. The amount of water you need will vary based on age, gender, activity level, and other factors. 

ONE FRUIT SNACK OR MEAL A DAY

There are many benefits to eating fruit, yet fruits are far from the most convenient foods available. Sticking to a plan of one fruit a day will help you finds ways of making fruit consumption easier – whether it means buying from fruit vendors in the morning or preparing your fruits from home.

- Marvin Gordon is a fitness coach; email: marvin.gordon@physiqueandfunction.com; yourhealth@gleanerjm.com