Building a good eating habit doesn’t happen overnight; it’s a process that needs time and dedication. Sandi van Zyl, a dietician at Virgin Active South Africa, says making a long‐lasting and positive behavioural change with food requires the right knowledge and a good routine. Once you’re comfortable with your eating habits, you will then have the confidence to add some flexibility and spontaneity to the mix.
Here are five guidelines to follow:
1. Begin with one significant change. Identify one eating habit change that you can make, such as reducing the amount of sugar you consume daily. Work on that first, with achievable goals. This makes it easier to make other bolder changes to your diet.
2. Don’t deprive yourself.Eat your favourite treat meals occasionally, rather than cutting them out of your diet completely.
3. Maintain portion control when eating out.Have a fruit before going to a restaurant. Remember to drink plenty of water during the meal. Additionally, if the portions are super-sized, ask for a doggy bag or consider sharing with a friend.
4. Don’t skip meals.The key is to eat small, regular meals with the right combination of unrefined carbohydrates, lean protein and healthy fats.
5. Remove temptation. Most people experience a craving in response to low blood sugar levels. That drives the temptation to indulge. The best thing is to not stock ‘treat’ foods at home; this will force you to use a healthier option to meet your craving.