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5 Tips to Kick Bad Eating Habits to the Curb

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN

Published: March 25, 2019

Reviewed: April 23, 2021

fruit and yogurt - 5 Tips to Kick Bad Eating Habits to the Curb

Are you guilty of skipping breakfast, ordering takeout too often or getting jitters from coffee overload? It's time to kick those habits to the curb. Here's a guide to help you get started.

Eat Breakfast

There's no better way to start your morning than with a healthy breakfast. Providing your body with a morning meal provides it with energy to power not only your muscles but your brain as well! Prevent brain fog and increase your focus by keeping your brain fed.

The key to a good breakfast is balance. Include lean protein, whole grains and fresh, frozen or canned fruits and vegetables.Twitter Logo  For example, oatmeal cooked with low-fat milk or fortified soy milk and sliced almonds and berries or scrambled eggs or tofu with mixed veggies and a slice of whole-wheat toast.

Cut Back on Caffeine

Too much caffeine can interfere with sleep, make you jittery and cause you to lose energy later in the day. Keep your caffeine intake in check by limiting regular coffee to about 3 cups or less per day, and watch what you put into it. Too much sugar isn't good for your teeth.

Need to wean off? Try switching to half decaf or tea, drink plenty of water and eat small, frequent meals to keep up energy.

Bring Lunch to Work

How do you make bringing lunch to work easy? The first step is to plan ahead by thinking through what you want for lunch and adding those foods to your grocery list. Stock your fridge with tasty, satisfying foods to set yourself up for success.

You could try batch cooking and meal prepping on the weekend so you don't have to make lunch every morning. This could include baking chicken, chopping veggies and steaming rice. Make sure your options include a combination of lean protein and carbohydrates. For example, whole-grain bread with turkey, 1 cup of veggies and a piece of fruit. Or, try a salad with veggies and beans, a piece of fruit and a cup of barley soup.

Eat More Fruits and Vegetables

Fruits and veggies add color, flavor and texture, plus vitamins, minerals and fiber to your plate. Consider picking one fruit or veggie you've never tried each time you go to the grocery store as fun way to discover new options. Who knows, you might find a new favorite!

Don't let winter stop you from enjoying produce either. It might be harder to find fresh options, but frozen and canned are great alternatives.

Cook Dinner at Home

Making meals at home doesn't have to zap the last bit of your time and energy. The trick is to plan ahead. Choose options you can make in advance. For example, cook a batch of soup you can portion out for lunches or dinner during the week, or bake a whole chicken to slice for sandwiches, wraps and casseroles.

Use shortcuts such as pre-cut or frozen veggies and keep staples on hand such as broth, herbs and lemons for flavoring and salad dressings. A quick and easy idea is to turn leftover beef into stew with beans, no-salt-added diced tomatoes and pre-cut veggies.

Quick Tips

For breakfast eat …

  • Berries with low-fat cottage cheese and high-fiber cereal
  • Whole-wheat English muffin with peanut butter
  • Whole-grain cereal with low-fat milk or fortified soy milk
  • Oatmeal topped with nuts and seeds, such as walnuts and ground flaxseed

For lunch try …

  • Salad with as many colorful veggies as possible (don't forget to add a protein and grain!)
  • Lentil soup and a slice of whole-grain toast with smashed avocado
  • Hummus with veggie dippers, whole-grain pita, a handful of nuts and a piece of fruit

For dinner use …

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