Some of us merely eat when we’re hungry while others like to stick to a schedule (8 a.m. breakfast, 12 noon lunch, 6 p.m. dinner). Well, new research has come out showing that those who plan their meal ahead – and pack it themselves – eat healthier overall.
The findings were published in the journal Public Health Nutrition. College students were studied by researchers to uncover if those who packed and prepared their lunch and ate a regular breakfast and dinner had healthier diets. These individuals tended to avoid fast food, eat more fruits and vegetables and steer clear of sugary beverages more often than those who did not eat regularly.
Don’t think you have enough time to prepare and pack? Well, the take-away here is to plan ahead in order to eat better overall. If you schedule time to pack your food, you won’t feel rushed.
Researchers further suggest that the U.S. should take note of dietary customs from around the world. For example, in Japan there is a strong focus on communication around the dinner table while the family is having a meal, as well as an emphasis on keeping regular eating hours.
If you want to start improving how you eat, creating a routine or schedule may greatly benefit you. If you’re the type always on the go, then how do you begin to eat regularly? Well, for starters, you know your daily routine better than anyone so jot down a typical week. When do you wake up? If you work, when do you get breaks? What time do you get home, and what time do you go to sleep? Once you have a basis of what your day looks like you can begin planning how to eat regularly.
For healthy eating ensure you are having at least three meals a day, and never skip breakfast. If you’re not a morning person, and waking up to make an omelet sounds like torture, consider quick options like whole-grain toast and almond butter with a banana, or make breakfast the night before by boiling some eggs. Ensure you are choosing foods with lasting power to get you through your morning.
For lunch, once again you can prepare the night before or the morning of, and try to eat it around the same time daily.
If you get home late and are simply too tired to make dinner, try using a slow cooker which you can prep in advance, turn on in the morning, and then keep going while you’re out and about. For example, chop up all the ingredients in the morning, so at night you simply have to cook them.
If you get hungry throughout the day ensure you have ready-to-eat healthy snacks like carrots and hummus or fruit. If you don’t have food near you, you’ll be inclined to head over to the vending machine for some sugar or salt.
If you find you’re really busy on one day of the week, it’s okay to ‘cheat;’ however, if you are going to have fast food or go to a restaurant, be sure you make wise menu choices.
These are some tips to better assist you on your path to healthy eating. By now you’re aware of the consequences of poor food choices – diabetes, obesity, hypertension – so make some time to plan ahead and ensure you’re getting in all the right stuff.
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