What are healthy eating habits?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiologist (Heart Specialist)

Here are some healthy eating habits:

  1. Skipping meals can cause your body to go into a fat-storing starvation mode, making it harder to burn calories.
  2. Odds are you're eating too fast. Try holding a conversation while having a meal so you're not gulping down more than you need to feel full.
  3. Distracted dining will get you in trouble. Avoid eating in front of a television or in a movie theater, as you're bound to consume more calories.
  4. Take a 30-second break in the middle of your meal. Evaluate just how hungry you still are before getting back to your food.
  5. Do your best to ensure you're not eating after 7 o'clock at night. You're more likely to make unhealthy choices and less likely to sleep as well after a late meal.
  6. Wrap up any extra food you've cooked before you sit down to a meal so you're not tempted to get seconds.
  7. Save the kitchen and the dining room table for cooking and eating. Try not to use it as a place to do work or other activities, or you may be tempted to eat more.
  8. Are your dishes too big? A healthy dinner should fit on a 9-inch plate. You may find that kid-sized plates are more appropriately sized to feed an adult!

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Healthy eating habits focus on the overall dietary pattern. This is much more important to boosting health than individual nutrients. The 2015 U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee concluded that a healthy dietary pattern is one that is:

  • high in fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes (beans), seafood and whole grains
  • moderate in low- and non-fat dairy and alcohol
  • low in red and processed meat, sugar-sweetened beverages, sodium and refined grains

Of course, this dietary pattern could fit almost any diet—vegan, vegetarian, Paleo, gluten free, Mediterranean and low carb, just to name a few. The advisory committee also recommends focusing on overall dietary patterns instead of simply cutting back on less healthful choices. For example, instead of swapping a diet soda for a regular soda, drink water instead, or choose foods higher in unsaturated fats (like salmon) over those higher-fat foods (like sausage).

Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatologist (Skin Specialist)

Here are the eating habits that will keep your skin healthy:

  1. Eat breakfast every day, even if you are not hungry and even if you are in a rush. It is important to have protein as part of your breakfast.
  2. Day by day, vary your food choices from my selections for each meal so that you’ll never be bored.
  3. Drink lots of water. Keep a 12 oz. bottle by your desk or in your bag and refill it as needed, at least three times in the day.
  4. When you are eating, you should be doing nothing else. No TV, no book, no newspaper, no Internet. Enjoy the food, alone or with company. Make the experience about the food, and savor every bite.
  5. Avoid soda. Instead, choose non-carbonated low calorie drinks. The problems with regular soda are clear. However, even low-calorie soda, especially if it is caramelized, increases your glycemic index and can also adversely affect your bones over time.
  6. Don’t count calories. Just eat slowly, chew well and enjoy your food.
  7. Stop eating as soon as you start to feel even a little full.
  8. If you are not hungry, throw the rest of your portion away.
  9. Vary the amounts of recipes up or down depending on how many you are cooking for. I love to play with recipes based on my own tastes. You should feel comfortable doing the same. The only place you want to be more careful is when it comes to adding in the salt and the oils. Try to keep the proportions right in order to control the amount of salt intake and fat calories.
  10. Cook on the weekends, or when you have time and then package the soups or other meals to take with you when you go to school or work.
Toby Smithson
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

Healthy eating requires that you get an adequate amount of nutritious foods from each food group. The following suggestions will also reduce your risk for chronic diseases. A few good choices at the supermarket and in the kitchen can make it easier to adopt these healthy eating habits.

  • When choosing grains, make at least half of your grain whole grains.
  • Choose a variety of vegetables to color your plate. They are rich in nutrients, low in calories and their high fiber content will keep you feeling fuller.
  • Include fruit with your meals. Fruits provide nutrients necessary to maintain health and prevent disease, including vitamin C, potassium, folate and dietary fiber.
  • Choose fat-free or low-fat dairy products. These foods will provide vitamin D, calcium, potassium and protein you need without the extra saturated fat.
  • Choose lean meat and poultry. Keep meat portions small (the size of a deck of cards).
  • Eat a handful (one ounce) of nuts (walnuts, pecans, almonds, hazelnuts) a day for fiber, zinc and poly-unsaturated fats.
  • Do not skip meals. Your body needs the fuel, or energy, from food to keep going. Also, skipping meals makes one more likely to overeat at the next one.
  • Make smart beverage choices. Avoid sugary drinks (including juice and juice drinks). Drink plenty of water. If water just won’t do, select low or no-calorie drinks, such as tea.

Remember, the best way to incorporate these healthy eating habits into your own life is to set realistic goals; take one step at a time!

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.