We all talk a good game about eating better, but all too often we fail to follow through with any action. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests their approach “Reflect, Replace, and Reinforce” for anyone interested in making long term, healthy changes to their diet.
REFLECT—Think about all of your eating habits, the good ones and the bad ones, and look for the things that trigger you to make unhealthy choices. A good way to learn more about what you eat, why and when is by keeping a food diary for a week.
REPLACE—Look for ways to switch out your unhealthy eating habits for new, healthier ones. Once you have your food diary, go back through it and see where you made healthy food choices and where you didn’t. Pick one unhealthy choice, and think of a way you could improve that decision next time.
REINFORCE—Keep up the good work by finding ways to encourage your new, healthier eating habits. Remember that it takes time to make lasting changes in your diet. Be patient as you develop new habits. If you find yourself making a choice that is not healthy, try to stop as soon as you realize it and ask why you made that decision.
What are some other tips to help you develop better eating habits?
1. Plan your meals in advance.
2. Eat regular meals to prevent overeating.
3. If you eat a snack, treat it like a mini-meal and include complex carbohydrates and a small amount of protein and fat.
4. Eat slowly, and chew every bite.
5. Don’t eat after dinner—try brushing your teeth to resist the temptation to eat again.