5 Eating Habits You Should Drop & What to do Instead

Skipping Breakfast

Why drop it?

Although skipping breakfast might seem like an easy way to reduce calories, research shows that people who skip breakfast do not experience greater weight loss than those who eat breakfast daily. Moreover, breakfast skippers are more likely to eat high fat and high sugar foods throughout the rest of the day. Additionally, without a morning boost of energy, low blood sugar levels can leave you feeling weak, faint, or even slow to react.

What to do instead

The ideal breakfast combines protein and complex carbohydrates (whole grains).  This combination satisfies hunger and is packed with nutrients. Protein and complex carbohydrate combinations also keep blood sugar levels from spiking and falling too low, helping to manage hunger.

Here are some ideas: 

  •         Scrambled eggs with whole grain toast
  •         Fruit and non-fat Greek yogurt
  •         Avocado on whole grain toast with an egg
  •         Peanut butter and banana

Mindless Eating

Why drop it? 

Mindless eating (eating without out paying attention) is often the result of feeling stressed, sad, happy, or any other feeling, besides actually feeling hungry.  If you have ever sat down to watch TV while snacking on a bag of chips and before you knew it, the whole bag was gone…that’s mindless eating.

What to do instead

Research has shown that mindful eating can help reduce mindless eating.  Mindful eating begins with learning how to listen and react to your body. Are you actually hungry or are you craving that cookie because you’re bored? Taking a more mindful approach to eating means tuning in to your body’s cues so you know when to start and stop eating by listening to your body. For more on how to eat mindfully, check out our blog.

Buying over-sized portions

Why drop it?

While buying in bulk can be a good way to save money, often times it’s at the cost of increased calorie intake, not to mention increased food waste.

What to do instead

If you buy food in bulk, go ahead and put it into individual zip top bags and store it. Portioning out items bought in bulk as soon as you get home allows you to get the deal without all the extra calories.

Buying fat free foods

Why Drop it?

What happens when all or some of the fat content is removed from a food? Usually, it doesn’t taste as good because the flavor and texture are now drastically different. To make up for this, manufacturers add sugar, salt, and/or thickeners to replace the missing fat. Now, the food has nearly the same amount of calories, a little less fat, but with more sugar, salt, and other, well, crap. If that doesn’t sound like a healthy swap, it’s because it’s not.

What to do instead

The good news is, healthy (unsaturated) fats like those found in olive oil, peanut butter, and avocado can and should be a part of a healthy diet. Unsaturated fats have been shown to decrease risk for cardiovascular disease as well as increase satiety (the feeling of being satisfied). Try to select foods with more unsaturated fat than saturated and trans fat. Keep in mind that plant based foods are higher in these healthy fats than foods originating from animal sources.

Grocery shopping when hungry

Why drop it?

You are more likely to buy high calorie, high sugar, and high fat foods when you go grocery shopping on an empty stomach than when you go shopping after you have recently eaten. When you haven’t eaten in a while and blood sugar levels are low, simply seeing a high calorie food can activate parts of your brain that make you want to buy it.

What to do instead 

Try to go grocery shopping within a few hours of eating. If you can’t eat a full meal, then try eating a snack before you go in. A handful of nuts is a good choice because they are full of protein and healthy fats which will cause a slow and steady rise in blood sugar levels. Having a plan also helps. Make a grocery list ahead of time and stick to it.

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