If your healthy eating efforts feel like they are being undermined, you may be making some tricky eating mistakes. There are several sneaky habits that can sabotage your weight-loss efforts. While there are no "bad" foods, there are smarter ways to eat, especially if you're trying to lose weight.
1. Keeping Tempting Foods Around
It's hard to resist temptation when it's staring you in the face. You're much more likely to grab biscuits, candy or ice cream if it's always in your house. Do yourself a favour and keep tempting foods out of your sight. If you're going to keep irresistible snacks at home, stash them inside a cupboard (maybe on a top shelf?). Keep your fruit displayed proudly out on the counter and pre-chop veggies so they're ready for snacking.
2. Skipping Breakfast
Skipping breakfast is quite common as people do not always feel hungry. But your body does need to be re-hydrated so even if you are not hungry make sure you have a decent amount of water. Eating breakfast doesn't have to be the first thing you do each day - just make sure that when you do eat, your meal is something that will sustain you for a few hours-it should include some fibre and protein. Don't make yourself wait and then have that hunger and grab the first convenience food that comes your way.
3. Eating Straight Out of the Bag
If you're noshing directly out of the package-whether you're eating crisps, crackers, cookies or ice cream-it's easy to eat several servings without realising it. A key step when you're trying to lose weight is literally watching what you eat-being aware of what and how much you're eating. That's why tracking is so effective. Measuring out a serving…if you want more, measure that too. Being conscious of what you're eating will help you meet your weight goals.
4.Eating on the Run
Eating in the car, snacking at your desk, drinking a high-calorie smoothie or latte while walking around-it's all too easy to take in excessive calories if you're eating on the go. To curb this type of distracted eating, sit down to eat. Very similar to 'eating out of the bag' - keep a tab on your portion sizes.
5. Eating in the evening due to boredom
If you know you’re an evening snacker, save some calories for the end of the day. Prepare some vegetable crudités and make dips such as humous or salsa or have a low-calorie hot chocolate to curb a sweet craving.
6. Ordering a takeaway because it’s easier than cooking
Try batch cooking so you’ve always got something in the freezer. Cook double the amount, separate portions into microwaveable boxes and freeze. Have a handful of fail-safe recipes stuck in a book, that you can turn to when you need a quick meal and keep your store cupboard stocked with the ingredients you need to make them.
7. Eating the kids’ leftovers
Try squirting washing-up liquid over the plate as soon as you've cleared it so you're not tempted to hoover up the leftovers. Don’t think of what the kids have left as wasted food – you’re not a human dustbin! If you eat it when you don’t really need it or want it – it's just a habit that you'll regret afterwards. You could have some veggie crudites or chopped fruit ready in the fridge, so you're not tempted to graze and you have have something healthier to snack on.
8. Snacking on cakes and biscuits in the office or work
At work, swap the biscuit barrel for a bowl of fruit. Speak to your colleagues – you never know they might want to join you in eating more healthily and will probably be relieved that the temptation is being removed. Could you all bring different varieties of fruit, so you never get bored? Sometimes the odd treat helps you keep to newly formed healthier eating goals, so instead of banning sugary treats completely save the biscuits for just one day a week. Biscuit Friday, anyone?
9. Eating too many sweets
Try to replace sweets with fruit – fresh, frozen, dried or tinned. Chop fruit into plastic lidded containers and pop into the fridge so you’ve got a go-to snack when you’re tempted to have sweets. Small tins of fruit such as pineapple, in juice not syrup, with a ring pull are an easy go-to snack when you fancy something sweet. Sugar-free jelly, low-calorie chocolate drinks, fat free greek yogurt with added chopped fruit are all good too. Why not pop grapes in the freezer to suck on or dried unsweetened dates.
10. Feeling pressured to eat the same as everyone else when you’re out rather than selecting a healthier option
At a restaurant, be the first to pick off the menu, so you’re less likely to be swayed by other people’s choices. Go online before you leave and check out the menu, so you know what the healthier options are before you go.
Choose your meal before you drink any alcohol as this may challenge your will power and don’t arrive at the restaurant hungry or you might order too much food.
Try to have a lower-calorie snack, such a piece of fruit, a few raw veggies or a cup of soup, before you go. If you’re out and about, pop a healthy snack in your bag, so you’re not tempted to grab a chocolate bar when hunger strikes.