17 Healthy Eating Habits to Help You Slim Down

Hack your healthy eating routine for weight loss.

December 23, 2017
woman healthy eating

Adapted from State of Slim

The more you are able to make healthy choices automatic, the easier it will be to remain in the state of slim. 

More: 6 Key Factors That Make Healthy Living Easy

Give these 17 healthy eating habits, routines, rituals, and tips a shot. They'll help you make the right decisions for your diet: 

woman thinking about hunger
The 15-minute hunger routine

You can find new and inventive ways to halt hunger, but whenever you are hungry other than at mealtime, ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?" Don't eat anything for at least 15 minutes and see if your body is telling you it is truly hungry or whether the feeling passes. You'll be surprised at how often the feeling disappears. 

full fridge
The six-meals-per-day routine

Eat six meals everyday. Have a specific plan for what you'll eat and when and where you'll eat it. Have everything you need on hand so you're practicing good self-control and are not tempted by impulse purchases during the day.

oatmeal with yogurt
The breakfast routine

Try eating the same breakfast every day during the work week and reach for simple flat-belly breakfasts that are easy to prepare. Breakfast tends to be the least variable meal for most people, and eating the same food provides great structure for everyday success. You can mix it up on weekends.

woman enjoying food
Eat to savor

Pretend every bite of food is the last bite you'll ever eat. Savor it in every dimension. Above all, slow down when you eat! Eating faster is associated with eating more.

drinking water
The "8x8" routine

Drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water each day. Drink a glass first thing in the morning, have one with each of your six meals, and have another after your last meal. Trick yourself into drinking water if you have to. This will ensure that you're well hydrated and keep hunger at bay.

homemade lunch in office
The "take your lunch" routine

Try taking your lunch every day of the week (if you work outside the home). You're almost guaranteed to eat more healthfully when you pack your own clean lunch rather than try to navigate the nutritional landmine-laden world of fast-food and casual-dining restaurants.

making lunch
Develop a weekly lunch menu

Creat a certain menu for Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, etc. to provide more structure to your meal plan and make food shopping easier. If you eat the same thing a few days a week, you'll know which ingredients always to have on hand to make lunch.

More: 8 Time-Saving Kitchen Tools for Faster Meal Prep

big and small plates
Downsize your plates

Use smaller dishes for your meals at home. If you don't own smaller plates and bowls, you can purchase them in inexpensive sets. Many studies have shown that using smaller plates reduces how much food is eaten. Put your larger plates in a closet out of sight or donate them to a charity.

eating almond snacks
The preportioned snack routine

Whenever you prepare a smart snack, always take a sensible portion and place it on a plate or bowl before you eat. You don't want to open a big bag of something and sit down to a bottomless snack!

friends grateful food
The "be thankful" mealtime ritual

Before eating, take a moment to count your blessings and be grateful for what you have. Think about where your food came from and give thanks for the bounty of nature.

doggie bag
The "doggie bag first" routine

When you dine out, ask for a doggie bag container when you order and request that the waiter bring it when the food is served. Take half the food on your plate and put it in the container before you start eating. This saves you from the portion distortion that is prevalent in most restaurants.

More: 73 Ways to Be Healthier in a Minute or Less

If you feel uncomfortable doing this up front, divide each item on your plate in half and put it on a separate plate to "keep it out of play." Then put it in the doggie bag at the end of the meal.

salad dressing on the side
The "dressing/sauce on the side" habit

If you're making your own salad, make your own homemade salad dressings, too. In restaurants, ask for any dressing or sauce to be served on the side. These are usually high in fat and sodium, and you can use much less on your food than what is provided without sacrificing taste.

water at restaurant
The "noncaloric beverage" routine

Drink noncaloric beverages (infused waters are a top choice) for most of your fluid intake. Beverages with calories do not provide much satiety and are typically the source of extra calories that will derail your healthy eating plan.

eating at night
The "don't eat after 8:00 p.m." routine

Cure your late-night cravings and don't eat anything after 8:00 in the evening. This gives your body a chance to process and integrate your food intake and activity for the day so your metabolism is ready to go first thing the next morning. You may wake up less hungry when you develop this routine.

bagged almonds
Repackage bulk items

Many foods come in bulk packs these days. If you aren't careful, you might dig in and eat more than one serving at a time. When you get home from the store, repack bulk items as single servings in zipper-lock bags or reusable containers. This portion control reduces the temptation to overdo it.

kitchen scale
Get a kitchen scale

Weigh what you eat to learn what's an appropriate portion size. You'll be surprised at how fast you master portions, and then you won't need the scale as often.

More: 31 Days to a Flat Belly

friends cooking together
Start a healthy cooking club

Join with local friends or family. Organize healthy progressive dinners once a month with your group or in your neighborhood.

More: 7 Ways to Build a Powerful Social Support Network

Find more weight-loss tips in State of Slim.

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