5 Ways to Simplify Your Eating Habits
Updated: Apr 8, 2022
By Heidi Baldwin, MS, Holistic Health Coach
We have been introduced to more diets and types of eating than we can count on both hands in our lifetime. It seems as if there is a new fad to learn about every few months and explore if it's "the one" for us. There are well over 100 different dietary theories out there. They all work for someone, or they wouldn’t exist, but none of them work for everyone. The truth is, though, diets set us up for failure, and that's precisely why they never pan out the way we hope. Eating healthy is a lifestyle, not a diet or something you do for a specific time frame while waiting to return to the garbage foods that had you feeling like crap in the first place.
The silver lining is it's actually way simpler than most make it out to be. The results we're looking for come when we simplify our eating habits and focus on fueling our bodies with nutrient-dense foods that make us feel good and doing this on a CONSISTENT basis.
Here are five tips for simplifying your eating habits:
Eat more raw, whole foods.
Eating more food in its most natural state is a great way to cut some time and stress from our mealtimes. For example, grab a piece of fruit on the way out the door instead of breakfast from the coffee shop. Add some fresh veggies as a side at lunch instead of packing chips. Toss everything in a bowl to create a big salad for dinner instead of a complicated recipe or take-out.
Look for simple ingredient lists.
There's a reason the Whole30 diet gained so much popularity, and it's because it really opened our eyes to how many chemicals, additives, and fillers we eat each day. Put an emphasis on reading labels and choosing foods that only include ingredients we know (and can pronounce). This is a simple way to make better choices at the grocery store.
Figure out your staples.
Everyone has staple foods and favorite meals. By identifying what we love to eat, it's easier to keep those healthy items in the rotation, either as snacks, pantry items, or meals that we plan each week. Rotating your favorite veggies and eating them in the order at which they stay most fresh after purchase can help your meal planning for the week.
Reevaluate how you're supplementing.
You may have a protein shake every day, without fail. But do you really enjoy it? It probably has just become a habit. That protein powder likely has many ingredients that can be good, but equally as many that aren't so great. Perhaps you'd actually rather eat your protein each day because a well-rounded dinner is way more fulfilling than a shake on the go. Check in with your habits and decide what works best for your life. And here’s a tip most don’t realize – protein and fruit don’t mix well together, so you’re best not to dump that protein powder into your fruit smoothie. (If you want to learn more about this and other healthy habits you would benefit from, please consider seeing me for nutritional health coaching – you don’t have to be an IMCNY patient to come in for health coaching).
Declare an end to the day.
By choosing a specific time each day when we know dinner is over, we allow our body time to digest everything that we have enjoyed before heading to bed. This allows us to sleep better and also keeps us from gaining unnecessary weight. It also limits things like acid reflux flare-ups. Your body can’t really sleep well while simultaneously digesting food, so don’t let late-night snacks keep you up during the night. Many also find intermittent fasting beneficial for a variety of reasons, so your 6 – 8-hour window for eating for the day should end early in the evening.
Most find that these habits begin to come naturally after practicing them for a couple of weeks. It may take a few more minutes to prep raw food or check labels while shopping, but once you get into the swing of things, you'll be saving yourself time overall by paring down and simplifying as much as possible.