17 Healthy Eating Habits To Start Today, According To Our Medical Experts
Incorporating simple healthy eating habits into your day is one of the best things you can do for your body. It can make a huge difference in how you feel and look in the long run, which is why we consulted our new Eat This, Not That! Medical Expert Board members to share some of their favorite healthy eating habits that you can easily start right now.
This group of certified and world-renowned doctors, nutritionists, dietitians, chefs, personal trainers, and other experts have been hand-selected by Eat This, Not That! to bring you the latest, greatest, and most accurate advice in regards to food, nutrition, health, and weight loss.
In addition to sharing their top tips, these esteemed experts will also be regularly reviewing and contributing to our content, as well as interacting and connecting with you on our social media platforms. So, make sure to follow along, and read their top healthy eating tips below or watch them here in this video!
And for even more healthy tips, be sure to read up on our list of The 7 Healthiest Foods to Eat Right Now.
Drink enough water.
Drinking enough water was by far the most popular tip from our experts, and one of the most highly recommended eating habits to start today.
"Prior to reaching for all your snacks and meals, try to drink 16 ounces of water first," says Ilana Muhlstein, MS, RDN. "It will fill you up, it helps calm you down, and eat much more intuitively and mindfully."
"It's going to rehydrate you and energize you for the day," says Sydney Greene, MS, RD.
"Aim for about 2 to 3 liters per day," says Lisa Moskovitz, RD, CDN. "Our bodies are roughly 60% fluid so it's important that we stay hydrated and it also helps with nutrient absorption."
Fill half your plate with colorful produce.
"Get those veggies in," says Amy Shapiro, MS, RD, CDN. "The easiest way is to fill half your plate full with veggies at every meal. And if you want to meet and exceed that goal, make sure there are a variety of different colors on your plate."
"I want to challenge you to eat one or two more colors on your plate at each meal," says Isabel Smith, MS, RD, CDN. "We want 3 to 5 colors from plants at your meal minimum. I'm going to challenge all of you guys watching to increase one to two colors for every meal."
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Cut back on your sugar intake.
"[Cut] back on your sugar intake," says Brooke Scheller, DCN, CNS. "Look throughout your day to find places where you might be eating too much, and look for simple ways to start cutting back."
Shapiro says if you're looking for a sweet treat, grab healthier dessert options or practice portion control.
"My recommendation is dark chocolate," says Shapiro. "Anything greater than 70% cacao fits the bill, but if that doesn't speak to you, just watch your portions."
Here are 14 Sneaky Sources of Added Sugars you may not know about.
Eat less processed foods.
While indulging in your favorite snack or fast food meal is fine every now and then, a majority of the time you should focus on eating real, whole foods. Especially because eating processed foods on a regular basis can wreak havoc on your body.
"I want you to work on focusing on whole, nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, [and more]," says Scheller.
Try incorporating veggies into every meal.
"This is the number one tip I give anyone who asks me because these are our most nutrient-dense foods," says Scheller. "So look to incorporate them at least to your lunches, dinners, snacks, and even into your breakfast."
"You want to be filling up on lots and lots of veggies every day," says Muhlstein. "Big salads, big stir frys, spaghetti squash, cauliflower rice, roasted broccoli. You name it, fill up on your veggies."
"I like to actually put all of my veggies and my fruit into a morning smoothie," says Chef Claudia Sidoti. "This way if I'm on the go, I know I've really taken care of my fruit and veggie intake earlier in the day."
An easy way to get your vegetables in is by stocking up your freezer with them! Here are 15 Best Frozen Fruits & Vegetables to Keep on Hand.
Make sure you're getting enough fiber.
Did you know fiber is the best thing to eat if you're trying to lose weight? Plus, fiber can help keep you feeling fuller for longer and helps with your gut health. If you have to pick just one habit to start off, this one would definitely be one of the top eating habits to start today.
"Aim between 25 and 35 grams a day as it helps with blood sugar regulation and digestion," says Moskovitz. "The best sources are fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and whole grains."
Eat before you grocery shop.
"If you go to the grocery store you're more likely to pick up food items that you don't need, and unhealthy food items as well," says Cedrina Calder, MD, MSPH.
If you plan on hitting the grocery store between meals, you can always snag one of these 50 Healthiest Snacks to hold you over.
Prepare healthy foods ahead of time at home.
"Being prepared is key to healthy eating," says Calder. "If you prepare food ahead of time, it creates fewer opportunities for you to make unhealthy eating decisions."
"As a chef, I'm always encouraging people to cook more wholesome meals that are well balanced with plenty of vegetables and minimally processed foods," says Sidoti.
Get started today with our Fat-Blasting 2021 Meal Plan!
Practice mindful eating.
"Avoid multitasking while eating meals to allow yourself to pick up on the types of signals that your body sends you when you are getting full," says Calder.
Add protein to every meal and snack.
"Protein can help you stay fuller for longer. [It] can help prevent lots of mindless snacking which I think we can all use help with," says Muhlstein.
Start your day with protein, especially.
"Eat a protein forward breakfast, and bonus points if you include some sort of plant," says Greene. "What I mean by that is a fruit or a vegetable."
Two experts, in particular, recommend starting your day with a protein shake for an easy boost of this macronutrient first thing in the morning.
"That way no matter what I'll eat the rest of the day, even if it's some pasta, I've already had my protein for the day," says Mike Bohl, MD, MPH, CPH, MWC, ELS.
"I need it, it keeps my energy up, I'm ready to go with it," says Dr. Taz Bhatia, MD.
Get started with one of these 19 High Protein Breakfasts That Keep You Full!
Include the foods you love.
"Let's be inclusive, not exclusive, with eating with foods you like, foods you will make, and foods you enjoy," says Leslie Bonci, MPH, RD ,CSSD, LDN.
Embrace snack time!
"Snacks are meant to get us from one meal to the next," says Greene. "So have something that's low in sugar, high in fiber, and include some protein. One of my favorites is a little Greek yogurt with some chia seeds and fruit."
Be thoughtful of your portions.
Whether it be a dessert or a side of pasta, it's important to keep your portions in mind so you don't overdo it on the calories. This is especially true when it comes to condiments, like sauces for your meat.
"[I try] being thoughtful of how much sauce I add to each of my meals," says Bohl. "I follow a plant-based diet and a lot of imitation meat already has seasoning, so a lot of times I can have a delicious meal with minimum sauce or no sauce at all."
Get your omega-3 fatty acids in.
As well as your other healthy fats.
Contrary to popular belief, your body can actually benefit from eating healthy fatty foods on a regular basis. It helps with digestion and keeping you full.
One way Dr. Taz achieves this goal is by consuming around one tablespoon of olive oil every single day. Olive oil can easily be consumed through homemade salad dressings, or even cooking and roasting vegetables with it.
Craving a salty snack? Roast vegetables.
"When I'm getting those chip cravings, a plateful of roasted vegetables satisfies all those salt cravings, crunch cravings, and gives me the fiber that I need," says Dr. Taz.
Don't know what vegetables to roast? This 15-Minute Parmesan-Roasted Broccoli Recipe is one of our favorites!