Many people are familiar with the idea of getting into bad habits and how difficult it can be to change. By understanding how habits are formed, it is possible to develop new healthy habits which can have long-lasting, positive effects on our health.
Ten Top Tips promotes the formation of healthy eating and activity habits, such as eating regularly, swapping to low fat foods and walking every day. Once healthy habits are formed, we are more likely to continue the healthy behaviour.
1. Keep to your meal routine
Try to eat at roughly the same times each day, whether this is two or five times a day. This will help you avoid unplanned meals and snacks which are often high in calories.
2. Go reduced fat
Choose reduced fat versions of foods such as dairy products, spreads and salad dressings. Use them sparingly as some can still be high in fat [or sugar!].
3. Walk off the weight
Walk 10,000 steps (equivalent to 60-90 minutes moderate activity) each day. Try using a pedometer to help count the steps. You can break up your walking throughout the day.
4. Pack a healthy snack
If you snack, choose a healthy option such as fresh fruit or low calorie yoghurts instead of chocolate or crisps.
5. Look at the labels
Be careful about food claims. Check the fat and sugar content on food labels when shopping and preparing food.
6. Caution with your portions
Don’t heap food on your plate (except vegetables). Think twice before having second helpings.
7. Up on your feet
Break up your sitting time. Stand up for ten minutes out of every hour.
8. Think about your drinks
Choose water or sugar-free squashes. Unsweetened fruit juice is high in natural sugar so limit it to one glass per day (200ml or 1/3 pint). Alcohol is high in calories so limit the amount you drink.
9. Focus on your food
Slow down. Don’t eat on the go or while watching TV. Eat at a table if possible.
10. Don’t forget your 5-a-day
Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, whether fresh, frozen or tinned (400g in total).