Sometimes we can get into bad eating habits without realizing, and before we know it, it’s part of our everyday life and “routine”! For this reason, once in a while it’s important to step back and objectively assess our daily routine and activities.
Here are some common bad eating habits that can creep up on you if you are not careful.
Bad Eating Habits #1 Always Finishing Your Plate At Restaurants
According to NY Daily News, a Tufts University research done on 33 small-chain restaurants found that the average calories of a restaurant meal were a whopping 1,327 calories.
It’s easy and tempting to clean your plate when you go out to eat, first because it is delicious, second because you are not paying attention, and third because you don’t want to waste it.
If you only eat out once in a while, it may not be a problem, but if you frequently eat out, this habit of finishing your plate can really pack on the pounds. Restaurants don’t have a “female” portion either, so women should be particularly careful about not eating the same portions as their dates/husbands (not just at restaurants but at home too! 🙂 ).
Bottom line, it’s ok to leave food on the plate. This is your health and weight we are talking about. If you feel strongly about not wasting food, bring the leftovers home with you.
Bad Eating Habits #2 Always Choosing The Convenient Option
Making food choices out of convenience can become a habit, and almost something you count on. After all, it’s sooo easy to just go to the drive-thru and order ready-made meals. Or just buy frozen pizza and stick it in the oven.
However you do pay for the convenience, not just with money but with your health and weight. Below is a list of just some of the ingredients said to be found in fast food items:
- Butylated Hydroxyanisole (BHA): a carcinogenic preservative.
- 4-methylimidazole: a chemical found in some types of caramel coloring. It is more often found in soft drinks, and has been linked to increased risk of lung cancer in mice in some National Toxicology Program studies.
- Monosodium Glutamate (MSG): a flavor enhancer linked to headaches, fatigue, obesity, and even Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. MSG is also widely found in processed foods.
- Petro-chemicals: chemicals made from petroleum. Better to use petroleum for gasoline than food!
- Tertiary butylhydroquinone (TBHQ): a chemical preservative that can cause death at dose of five grams.
Before your bad habit of always eating junk food destroys your health, create a new “habit” of preparing most of your meals from fresh produce. You will thank yourself 10 years later.
Bad Eating Habits #3 Eating Straight From A Container Or Package
The problem with eating straight out of a large bag of potato chips is that it often leads to needless over-eating. Before you know it, you will have finished the entire bag (most likely containing more than 1000 calories) by the end of the movie or conversation or whatever else you were doing, and you won’t even remember doing it.
Even if you are just focusing on eating, the easy access to more chips (just at your fingertips) will tempt you to keep on eating before the feeling of fullness kicks in. Make it a habit to place 1 serving onto a plate from the container or package at a time.
Bad Eating Habits #4 Eating For Quick Energy
It’s 3pm and you’re tired, but you have to finish a chore or some task. Somehow you feel that you need to eat some cookies to give yourself the energy to work. And most of the time it does work and gives you energy. Or sometimes, you are tired all day, so you keep on munching on cookies or whatever else all day to give yourself constant energy.
The truth is, if you are consuming enough calories from regular meals, you should have all the energy you need, physically speaking.
Mentally speaking though, you may be out of energy. What you are doing is feeding your mental energy through eating those unnecessary snacks. They give you pleasure, therefore giving you a mental boost.
Next time you feel tired, try taking a 10-15 minute break, walking around, going outside, chatting with your colleague or friends, or anything else that will help you refresh your mind.
Keep some healthy drinks next to you (water, herbal teas, etc.) so you can drink those whenever you need a “lift.” They may just do the trick!
Bad Eating Habits #5 Eating Due To Boredom
Food can be a pleasurable entertainment, and when you are bored and have nothing else to do, it becomes an alluring temptation.
If you are often bored, this becomes a problem. However once you are aware that you are not really hungry but just bored, you have a chance of doing something else other than eating.
Next time you feel like eating something even though you’ve had enough to eat, honestly assess if you are really hungry or just bored. A good movie with a cup of tea may be all that you need!