Sure, unhealthy eating habits can cause everything from weight gain to sluggishness. The good news: with minimal effort, you can make up for most not-so-good food decisions…
Bad food habit: You’re never not eating
For you, chewing is like breathing. And since you probably lose track of how much and what you’ve eaten, all that endless crunching and munching adds up.
Your problem is more about fidgeting than eating. So try drinking tea or sparkling water as a kilojoule-free way to keep your hands and pie-hole occupied between meals. When liquid won’t do, go for healthy snacks that require some work to get at – pistachio nuts, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds still in their shells all take time to open. You’ll spend more minutes cracking and cleaning up than actually eating, says dietician Cynthia Sass.
And stockpile other no-pudge goodies that you can eat in tiny, individual pieces. We like low-fat popcorn or fat-free, wasabi-flavoured Japanese rice crackers.
Bad food habit: You pack it in till it hurts
That whole “enjoy just one bite” advice makes you roll your eyes as you dig into your third piece of a colleague’s birthday cake. Occasional gluttony has its place, but an all-you-can-eat-all-the-time attitude can cause indigestion, acid reflux and bloating, says dietician Amy Campbell.
Stuff yourself with foods that contain fewer kilojoules per bite. These tend to have a higher water and fibre content, so they fill you up quicker, says Campbell. Go ahead: tuck into soups (stock-based, not cream-based), garden salads (carrots, cucumbers, celery, lettuce, tomatoes and green beans), gazpacho, fat-free or low-fat yoghurt or cottage cheese, apples and pears, whole-grain cereals with fat-free or low-fat milk and grilled lean meats (chicken and ostrich) or seafood (white fish, like hake and kingklip, preferably steamed).