7 Food Habits for a Healthy Life

Posted On Thursday, 22 October 2015
7 Food Habits for a Healthy Life

There are so many “healthy” eating diets, trends, tricks and new food miracles hyped in the media that it can be quite stressful to follow. Some of them encourage complete opposite food groups, like fat and sugar. Some have emphasis on a specific food group, and others offer one solution to fix all your problems.

At the end of the day, the most important thing is to notice what they all have in common: eat foods that will promote health and cut out the junk.

At the very least, we can all agree that no one should be living on drive-through fast-food, soda or candy. Start looking at food as more than just “belly filler.” See food as your disease prevention and treatment tools which will ensure a long and happy life.

I have identified seven basic food habits that will help you maintain a healthy eating lifestyle. These have been shared with my clients for years.

Usually at the end of our discussion, all my clients come to an “ah-ha” moment and realize they are actually quite simple. “They make so much sense!”

I hope you will agree.  

1.    Keep hydrated, always: Drink a variety of liquids, 90% of them must be close to 0 calories. Be aware that when you are thirsty, you can confuse this for hunger. When your body doesn’t have enough water it leads to poor digestion, headaches, and fatigue. Carry a refillable water bottle with you always.

2.    Plan. Avoid becoming comfortable with a lifestyle that allows you to do food on the fly or on the run. Have a plan and get used to it. When we plan our meals, we can better balance our intake. Shoot for at least 70% of your weekly meals to be planned. Then leave room for spur-of-the-moment meals.

3.    Eat veggies with every meal. 100% of your meals should have veggies. Yes, get creative and find ways to incorporate vegetables in every single meal of your day, including breakfast and snacks. Goal: 9-13 servings per day. You can do it.

4.    Snack on foods that matter. Include fruits, veggies and nuts. Don’t snack on junk food.  It actively deteriorates your health. There is no minimal allowance for that, so just eliminate it.

5.    Think of common snacks such as chips, pizza, brownies, and cookies as “once in a while treats.” Don’t look at them as foods that fulfill your physical needs. It’s okay to have them, but understand they are special treats.  You still need nutritional fill from other foods. When you do indulge in them, choose wisely. Go for bean chips, brownies that include black beans, or cookies made with oats and nuts.

6.    Say goodbye to the top culprits of bad health habits such as sodas and candy bars.  Limit alcohol and say “NO” to all artificial preservatives and food coloring. Avoid all products made with high fructose corn syrup and excessive sugar of any kind including raw sugar, beet sugar and artificial sweeteners.

7.    Take the time to eat. No more eating in a hurry. Sit and eat, chew your food. Allow the flavors to permeate you mouth. Enjoy what you are eating and give your saliva time to begin the digestive process.

Gradually adopt these eating habits, or go for all seven of them at once. The first three are my top picks for you.

I’ll finish up with a very popular quote in the world of nutrition from the author of Food Rules: An Eater’s Manual, Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.”

Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LD, Co-Host: Family Food Kitchen (RadioMD)


Carolina Lima Jantac, MS, RD, LD

Carolina Lima Jantac, MS, RD, LD, Nutrition Expert, and Social Media Manager is excited to be a part of an important program for mothers, dads, and kids who need so much guidance. As a Registered Dietitian, she has spent most of her career working in pediatric and adult hospitals as well as long term care centers.

She has learned and applied the power of food and choices we make regarding nutrition as the number one impact on health, longevity and quality of life. Her research at University of Florida on Vitamin B6 was published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism (2007). Carolina brings international flare as she has a dual citizenship (Brazilian and US). She is a brilliant cook.

"I am happily married and have been blessed with two healthy children, Isabela and Daniel. They are great kids and my personal 'experiment' as I introduce them to new foods and educate them on healthy eating, raising them to be good examples of good nutritional choices making a difference for life!"

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