7 Healthy Eating Habits to Supercharge Your Energy and Vitality!

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Are you confused about how to live a healthy lifestyle? How many times have you heard of the “best” diet to keep you healthy, but the next day hear about another diet that is also the “best” but completely different in its philosophy?

What if I told you that it’s not about a single “diet”, but about small dietary patterns and habits that ACTUALLY make you healthier?

girl eating yogurt

As a Registered Dietitian, I have worked with SO many clients who have tried different diets like keto, low-carb, vegan, and many more to get healthy. Often, they end up burnt out, binging on foods that they were restricting, and feeling unwell.

If you want to improve your mental and physical health, keep reading and you will learn about healthy eating habits that are easy to start and K.I.S.S: Keep it simple silly!

We will talk about 7 healthy eating habits that will help you nourish your body, boost your energy, and pave the way for a lifelong well-balanced lifestyle.

Habit 1: Eat Whole, Nutrient-Rich Foods

Our food is our fuel: it contains nutrients our body needs to function properly. If we are not eating enough calories or not getting enough macronutrients (protein, fat, carbs), or micronutrients (vitamins and minerals), we get sick quickly. 

If we are not eating enough nutrient-rich foods, we are at risk of getting sick or developing a chronic disease like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, etc. 

Salad with a side of fruit, eggs and tomatoes

The best nutrient-rich foods come from foods directly from the Earth. Think of foods that you would commonly get in their natural state at the grocery store: fruits, vegetables, meats, nuts, seeds, and whole grains. There are some foods that are minimally processed and are still incredibly healthy for you like whole grain flours, fermented foods, and tofu.

When we have a diverse diet rich in these whole foods, we are getting a variety of nutrients and other important phytochemicals that help us stay energized and fight disease. 

Habit 2: Practice Mindful Eating Habits

One of the worst habits we have in society is we do not practice mindfulness when we eat. Often, we tend to eat in front of a screen or get overly stimulated and it becomes difficult to listen to our bodies. We tend to eat more quickly, eat mindlessly, and overeat. 

Here are some tips to help you practice mindful and peaceful eating habits:

  • Turn off and put away any screens including tv’s, computers, phones, and tablets
  • If you want to listen to music, listen to something that is slow and soothing to help you relax
  • Practice gratitude for your meal or pray
  • Try sitting at a table instead of a lazy boy chair or couch
  • Take time to chew your food
  • If you are starting to feel full, pause for 5-10 minutes before eating more
  • Make sure you take a proper lunch break to enjoy your meal
  • Avoid eating while driving – it’s dangerous!

Habit 3: Stay Hydrated 

Did you know that 60% of our bodies are made up of water? Water is an essential nutrient: if we do not get enough, we get dehydrated and damage our major organs which can quickly lead to death.

Not to worry, water is more easily accessible than ever. Aim to drink 8-10 cups of water per day, plus more if you live in a hot climate. Always have a reusable water bottle with you so you can fill it up anytime!

TIP: If you don’t normally like the taste of water, try flavoring it with some fresh fruits. Throwing in some lemon slices or fresh berries in your water will pack a nice punch of flavor.

One aspect people often forget about hydration is the importance of electrolytes. This includes the following minerals:

  • Sodium
  • Potassium
  • Magnesium
  • Chloride
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus

If you are eating a well-balanced diet with a variety of fruits and vegetables, you should be getting plenty of these minerals. You should supplement electrolytes when you are sweating heavily such as during exercise or working in a hot climate. 

bottle of water with lemons and oranges

Habit 4: Learn What is in Your Food 

When we buy whole foods at the store, you pretty much know exactly what you are getting. But what about when we need to buy packaged foods?

It is not possible to live on a 100% whole foods diet. However, it is important to understand the foods we are buying and what ingredients they contain. Reading food and ingredient labels of packaged foods is empowering us to take control of our health and be aware of what we put into our bodies.

If you are someone who often suffers from digestive or skin issues, it is important to read these labels to see if you may be sensitive to a certain ingredient.

Ingredients we should be mindful of when we are buy packaged foods include:

  • Sugars or sweeteners
  • Oils
  • Salt
  • Food dyes
  • Food chemicals
  • Common allergens such as peanuts, tree nuts, dairy, eggs, wheat, fish, shellfish, soy products

Need some help learning how to read a food label? Check out this great guide by the FDA.  

Habit 5: Learn How to Balance Your Meals

Balancing your meals is more than just adding some broccoli or a side salad to your dinner. It’s about having the right balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.

Our blood sugar is highly influenced by our diet and eating patterns. It is normal for our blood sugar to fluctuate throughout the day depending on what we eat. This is thanks to our friend, insulin, which we secrete from our pancreas each time we eat.

However, if our blood sugar fluctuates too much or stays high for too long for an extended period of time, we are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. When we have spikes in our blood sugar and it drops quickly (thanks to insulin), we can feel tired, dizzy, and hangry.

So what is the best practice to balance your meals? Try this: make ½ of your plate non-starchy vegetables, ¼ of your plate protein, and ¼ of your plate carbohydrates. Adding a serving of fat on top of your plate is a nice topper!

Remember: this is just a general guide to get started. Try experimenting with different recipes and ratios based on your food accessibility, food culture, and activity level.

pan fried fish with vegetables and sweet potato mash

Habit 6: Practice Intuitive Eating

Intuitive eating is the simple practice of listening to your body’s hunger cues. Sound’s simple, right?

Well, it can be hard. From a history of dieting to feelings of guilt when we eat, it can be challenging to simply listen to our bodies without intrusive thoughts. Other factors that affect our relationship with food include outside influences from loved ones, social media, and societal body standards. 

As mentioned in Habit #2, it is important to have the right environment for us to easily listen to our hunger and fullness cues. This also includes our mindset to our diet and lifestyle.

Here are a couple of tips to bring awareness to your thoughts and start practicing intuitive eating:

  • Focus on your health goals, not weight goals
  • Stop following fads diet
  • Understand that your bodies hunger cues are to help you, not hurt you
  • Identify and avoid what triggers you to binge or restrictively eat
  • Try therapy to help you understand your relationship with food

Habit 7: Enjoy Your Food!

couple eating pepperoni pizza on the beach

Food is about nourishing our bodies, but it is also about enjoyment! We often associate fond memories and comfort with our food, especially during quality time with our loved ones. 

Eat your favorite meal on your birthday, enjoy the Thanksgiving turkey and sides, and even go get that special cupcake when you drive by the bakery once a week!

We cannot be perfect. Our diet and eating patterns will never be perfect. We must honor and love ourselves if we enjoy the occasional treat, or maybe go back to some old eating patterns. There is always a chance to start fresh the next day.

We also need to remember that healthy food can be delicious! There are so many incredible recipes we can find for our favorite foods. 

What Should You Do Next?

To summarize: the 7 healthy eating habits you should start as soon as possible for better health are:

  1. Eat whole, nutrient dense foods
  2. Practice mindful eating habits
  3. Stay hydrated
  4. Learn what is in your food
  5. Learn how to balance your meals
  6. Practice intuitive eating
  7. Enjoy your food

We now know about all the benefits of these 7 healthy eating habits to get us healthy – so now what?

  1. Take imperfect action. It’s okay if you are not 100% prepared, just start taking small steps and everything will fall into place.
  2. Stay consistent with your actions. It takes over 30 days to build a new habit. It’s okay if you miss a day, just try again tomorrow!
  3. Keep learning. Knowledge is the most powerful tool that cannot be taken away from you. Whether it is trying new recipes or working with a Dietitian on building a custom plan for you, you will feel empowered in your health journey.

Which of these habits will you give a try? Leave me a comment on instagram @whole.balanced.being and @burnout.nutritionist and let me know!

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