Healthy eating at home: Mindful, health-conscious eating
Healthy eating at home is challenging, but it’s not impossible. Here are some tips to make mindful and health-conscious eating easier!
How often have you found yourself in the fridge for the 10th time by 10 a.m.? Maybe, for you, it’s snacking on some chips only to realize you’ve finished them in one sitting. Healthy eating at home can be a big challenge because of the comfort and accessibility of food and snacks. In the office, it may feel weird to snack on cheese puffs at 9 a.m. or to raid the break room fridge, but the pull of the pantry at home can overtake your self-control. You may find there is no food or snack that is off-limits.
You can set yourself up for success by using these tricks to curb the onset of weight gain, sluggishness, and any other negative consequences brought on by over- or under-eating.
Tips for healthy eating at home
- Pack your lunch and snacks the night before. Cooking a hot meal at home can be liberating, but it can lead to overeating in ways you normally wouldn’t. Having a game plan for your daily meals takes away the guess-work. You snacks will be limited to the things you planned and packed.
- Make sure you actually eat. If under-eating is a challenge for you, try to schedule time for lunch and snacks. Block out 15 minutes for snacks and 30 minutes for a lunch to fuel your body. Try this delicious Japanese-inspired spinach salad for a healthy meal you will look forward to!
- Place healthier options in the most visible places in your fridge and pantry. We tend to reach for whatever is most visible when going for a snack, so trick your brain by putting the healthier options front and center.
- Swap ingredients to lighten your meals. Make your favorite, indulgent meals a bit healthier by swapping some ingredients. For example, use Greek yogurt instead of sour cream or non-fat instead of whole milk. Check out this blog for more healthy swaps.
- Stay hydrated with water or low-sugar drinks. Staying hydrated can help you stay full throughout the day. Don’t believe us? Check out this health coach’s experience drinking a full gallon of water each day.
- Focus on mindful eating. Resist the urge to multitask—step away from your work when you eat. Focus on eating mindfully. Start by paying attention to the food’s taste, the food’s texture, and how you feel when eating it.
- Keep a food diary. Tracking your food is a great way to keep you aware of everything you eat. It can help stop mindless snacking because it shows you just how your caloric intake is stacking up.
- Use the MyPlate guidelines to ensure your meals are balanced. Focus on lean protein, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and dairy.
Remember, these tips are just a jumping-off point. Even with this guidance, making changes or adjusting to a new routine can be hard—especially if you feel like you’re alone. UPMC Health Plan has resources that can help. Our health coaching program is available to you at no cost and can help support you on your journey toward healthy eating.
How to eat healthy. President’s Council on Sports, Fitness, and Nutrition. No date. Accessed June 1, 2020. https://www.hhs.gov/fitness/eat-healthy/how-to-eat-healthy/index.html