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Tips to improve healthy eating habits

Healthy Habits & Tips

If you are trying to shed pounds and improve your health, you may turn to popular fad diets and trends. Unfortunately, these often leave you with temporary results, if any. Instead, try adopting healthier habits. Here are some smart tips to get you started on the right track.

Choose Foods You Like
You may think your preference for more indulgent foods is causing you to gain weight, or keeping you from dropping pounds. However, if you cut out the foods you like and replace them with foods you don’t particularly enjoy, you are setting yourself up for failure. If the foods you are eating do not make you happy or satisfied, you likely won’t stick to your meal plan for long.

Be Mindful Of Portions
Aside from watching what you eat, you should also look at how much food you eat. Keep your goals in mind and stick to the appropriate portion size. Being conscious of this can prevent you from binging and, consequently, aid in weight loss.

Pack Your Lunch
Portion sizes at restaurants have been on the rise, and, unfortunately, have given us the wrong idea about what a normal serving is. Because of this, it is a smarter option to simply pack your own lunch. That way, you can control the foods you eat and the serving size. A good marker to make sure you don’t consume too much food/too many calories is to keep your portions no larger than your fist.

Fiber & Protein
With processed foods, you get little to no nutrients, thus they fail to make you feel satiated. If you want to feel fuller longer, choose foods rich in fiber and protein. This prolonged satisfaction will prevent you from overeating.

Mediterranean Inspiration
The Mediterranean diet focuses on healthy foods, like vegetables and olive oil, and is believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease along with other health benefits. While you don’t have to stick to this diet exclusively, you may want to take a few cues from it. Instead of looking at what’s included in the diet, take note of what is not part of it, such as processed foods and large portions.

Avoid Liquid Calories
Do you drink juice and soda often? If you swap those sugary drinks for water, you could be saving yourself countless calories. This can lead to weight loss and improved hydration, a win-win for everyone.

Flexibility & Variety
Just because you have an eating plan doesn’t mean it has to be boring. Allow yourself flexibility with your meals rather than eating the same things every week. A little variety will prevent you from getting bored with your meals while encouraging you to stick with your plan.

Gut Bacteria
Your microbiome is basically the microbes, or bacteria, that live in your stomach. There is fairly new, yet ongoing, research from Sweden looking into a formula to find the right eating plan based on your microbiome. While the research continues to unfold, you keep your gut bacteria healthy and diverse by eating a variety of dairy, vegetables, chicken, fish, eggs, and oils.

Hydration Is Key
As you’ve likely experienced, eating when you are very hungry often leads to overeating. Try to stave off hunger by drinking more water. A study found that drinking at least 16 ounces of water about 30 minutes before your meal can help weight loss. While exercise and healthy eating habits go hand in hand, pushing yourself too hard in the gym could be counterproductive. Moderate exercise should suffice and won’t leave you starved.

Hungry? Don’t Go Grocery Shopping
Much like not eating when you’re starving, don’t go grocery shopping on an empty stomach because you might just reach for more junk food. In one study, hungry shoppers chose one-third more junk food than the shoppers who were full. Next time you’re headed to the grocery store, be sure to eat something first and pay attention to what you buy.

When we are tired and sleep deprived, it seems we tend to crave junk food more so than when we are well-rested. Researchers have found that when presented with pictures of junk food, reward centers in the brains of people who were sleep-deprived reacted more than in those who were well-rested.
This suggests that we are more attracted to fatty foods when we are tired and need energy.

Eat A Smart Breakfast
Starting eating early! Breakfast is often touted as the most important meal of the day because it kick starts your metabolism and should provide you with the proper nutrients to keep you energized throughout the day. Choose a breakfast that’s high in protein and complex carbohydrates while low in sugar for the best results.

Avoid Late Night Snacks
And stop eating early! Eat dinner, but avoid eating anything beyond that. A study that restricted participants from eating anything from 7pm until 6am the next day reported that an average of 238 fewer calories were consumed (which mostly came from high-fat, high-carb foods). Rather than eating late at night, try getting to bed early to get a good night’s rest.

Skip The Diet Drinks
In order to kick your soda habit, you may opt for diet soda instead. While this isn’t a bad idea, it may only lead to short-term results. If you can, skip the diet soda and go straight from regular soda to water or seltzer.

Don’t Starve Yourself
A study conducted at the end of World War II consisted of giving volunteers (36 young males) a low-fat diet (1,600 calories a day) for 24 weeks. While the men lost about 1 pound per week for the first 12 weeks, for the last 12 weeks, they only lost a quarter of a pound per week. They also found that the men became obsessed with the thought of food, began losing hair, and healed more slowly than before.

After the trial, many men went on extreme binges, some consuming as much as 10,000 calories a day. About 20 weeks after the study concluded, the men had gained an average of 50% more body fat than when they began the study.

The moral of the story is that starving yourself is not good for your body, and if you’re trying to lose weight this way, you can do more harm than good.

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For delicious sandwiches and mixed greens salads made fresh to order, visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli in Pomona! We are open weekdays 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays 10:30am-4:30pm. For more information, please visit or call us at 909-596-5225.

Tips To Improve Healthy Habits

Whether you know it or not, your environment can help to shape your behavior. With that said, environmental cues, however subtle, can modify your habits. For example, minor adjustments to your environment and surroundings can lead to better choices regarding your health and habits.

Want to know how you can mindlessly eat better? Follow these tips from Cornell University professor Brian Wansink, who has conducted various studies on how your environment can shape your eating decisions.

Use Smaller Plates
While it may not seem like much, using smaller plates can trick you into feeling more satisfied. Think you can just use a bigger plate and just put a smaller portion on it? Think again. The same amount of food on a small plate versus a bigger plate makes a difference. When you see a small portion on a bigger plate, your mind will feel unsatisfied. However, that same portion on a smaller plate may fill it up more, tricking your mind into thinking that it is a heartier portion. Thus, the same meal can seem more satisfying. Also, studies have shown that over the course of a year, if you use smaller plates, you will have eaten 22% less food.

Keep Water Accessible
Rather than having that coffee or soda at your desk, try keeping a water bottle close at hand. Instead of sipping sugar or caffeine, you can increase your water intake throughout the day. Not only will you decrease, or maybe even eliminate, sodas or sugary drinks from your diet, but you can improve your hydration with this simple swap.

Use Tall, Slender Glasses
Similar to the smaller plate tip, this one is another optical illusion. Our brains have a tendency to overestimate vertical lines. Therefore, drinks in tall, slender glasses look bigger than round horizontal mugs, despite the contents being the same. So if you’re trying to cut back on soda or sugary drinks, serve it in a tall, slender glad. You will typically drink 20% less from these types of glasses.

Contrast The Colors Of Your Plate & Food
If the color of your plate matches the color of your food, you will serve yourself more because your brain has a hard time distinguishing the portion size from the plate. Because of this, you may want to match your plates to healthier foods to increase your intake. For example, a dark green plate will likely blend with leafy greens, but will contrast foods like pasta or potatoes.

Keep Healthy Foods On Display
By keeping healthy foods on display, you’re more likely to reach for them when you’re hungry or in a rush. It might be a good idea to keep healthy snacks near your car keys, front door, or any spot that you frequent before you leave the house.

Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind
In keeping with the theme, if you keep healthy foods more accessible and easily seen, you will likely forget about the unhealthy snacks you have. This is precisely why it is advised that you store healthy foods in plastic wrap, and unhealthy foods in tin foil. When you’re looking for a quick snack or meal in your fridge, those wrapped in plastic wrap are easy to see and grab, whereas foil-wrapped foods must be taken out and unwrapped to discover its contents. Because there is more effort, you are likely to choose healthy, plastic-wrapped food instead.

Furthermore, you should also pack healthy foods in large packages and unhealthy foods in small packages. Why? Because large packages tend to intrigue us, and, when it comes to storage, they are more easily seen and can get in the way. This will force you to notice them, and be more likely to eat them. Keeping unhealthy food in smaller containers may help you keep these tempting treats out of sight and out of mind. Also, you can repackage any unhealthy foods into smaller Ziploc bags or containers, which helps to prevent binging and encourage portion control.

“Half Plate” Rule
The “half plate” rule means that when you serve yourself a meal, start by filling half of your plate with fruits or vegetables, or both. Then fill the rest of your plate with other foods. It is like an easier way to impose portion control, while still allowing you to eat healthier foods.

“Outer Ring” Grocery shopping
The outer perimeter of the grocery store tends to house all the healthy food (ex. fruits, vegetables, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts). If you refrain from perusing through the aisles and spend your time in the outer ring, you will likely buy more healthy foods.

If you’ve noticed, most of these tips require you to add more steps to the behavior you want to decrease. While these tips focus on healthy eating habits, these general strategies can be applied to other areas of your life.

Trying to kick a bad habit? Make it harder for you to accomplish by adding extra steps to reach that desired outcome. Want to adopt a healthy habit? Decrease the steps it takes for you to reach that goal.

Have you tried out any of these tips? Which ones have worked for you? Do you have any other tips to share? Connect with us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also find and follow us on Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest.

Visit the Brick Your Neighborhood Deli weekdays from 10:30am-7:30pm and Saturdays from 10:30am-4:30pm. Our sandwiches and salads are made to order with the finest and freshest ingredients available to us.