Changing Your Eating Habits
Changing your eating habits isn't always easy; after all, you've been eating this way for years and years. You may have several reasons for wanting to do this, but one good reason is to reduce blood pressure, or, better yet, prevent it from getting elevated in the first place.
The key to changing your eating habits and being successful in this transition is to do it in steps. You have lots of old habits that you will need to discard and many new ones to build. It's not practical to try to cut out fat, cholesterol, and sodium all in the same day.
It's just as thoughtless to try to add fiber, potassium, and all of those additional good foods at the exact same time. Be notably cautious about adding too much fiber too early. If your system isn't used to fiber, it can pass through you rather quickly.
Here are a few additional tips to assist you more gently in changing your eating habits and building into your healthiest lifestyle:
1. Enjoy your legumes; they are good for you! Beans are great for your heart. So try to incorporate beans or peas into your meals at least a few times each week, minimally! Beans are available in all sizes, colors, and tastes. They're so easy to add to salads and they're a great replacement for meat in chilies, soups, and stews. Just be careful about buying canned bean's because these are usually processed in salt water, which makes them high in sodium. If you choose to buy canned beans, rinse them sufficiently to lower the amount of sodium in your diet.
2. Instead of buying prepackaged foods, buy fresh foods instead. Big problems can hide in those little containers! A bag of chips can have a days worth of sodium and fat, as well as most other snacks including flavored popcorn. Even the low-fat varieties can be swimming in salt. Instead, choose unsalted hard pretzels or try air-popping some popcorn, flavoring it with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese or a drizzle of honey.
3. Go light on the oil. Whenever possible, avoid frying your foods. Anytime you cook something in butter or oil, you're increasing fat intake and consuming unnecessary calories. Meats, fish and poultry are excellent when grilled or broiled, and are much healthier for you! Vegetables are better for you when they are uncooked. If you prefer to cook your vegetables, the healthiest way is steam roasting or stir-frying them. You can use a little broth for extra flavor. If you feel like you absolutely must use your frying pan, then use a non-fat spray instead of oil. If you insist on using oils, then use a cold-pressed virgin olive oil or canola oil, as both contain fats that are better for you than butter.
Take your time! Discover ways to make use of new foods. Don't feel like you're giving up triple-fudge brownie ice cream forever! You can still eat your favorite ice cream every once in a while, just eat smaller servings and have it less frequently. As time passes, you'll also discover your cravings for fat slowly disappearing. You'll also forget about that salt shaker, and, believe it or not, you may find yourself looking forward to that morning bowl of oatmeal!
Best of luck changing your eating habits...we hope these tips help!