9 Habits of Healthy Eaters, Straight From A Dietitian

by Lara Rondinelli, Registered Dietitian

Ever wondered how your own eating habits stack up against the healthiest eaters out there? Take it from a dietitian who's quizzed thousands of patients about the foods they eat. What changes do you need to make today for a healthier future?

This article was originally published on dLife.com—a website dedicated to helping people with diabetes live happier and healthier lives—as "Habits of Healthy Eaters," and is reposted with permission from the author. 

In the course of seeing patients with diabetes over the past 15 years, I've observed patterns of behavior that make a person a healthy eater or an unhealthy eater — and these habits apply whether or not you're diabetic. See what behaviors you need to nix or add. 

9 Habits of Healthy Eaters


1. You shop for groceries regularly.
Healthy eating starts with having healthy food in the house. Plan a trip to the grocery store or your local farmer's market weekly and stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables, especially. 

Also on Z Living: 10 Tips To Shop Smart At Your Local Farmers’ Market

2. You plan meals and pack lunches.
Taking your lunch to work at least a couple days per week will lead to healthier eating, and it's much easier for those who are carb-counting too. Planning meals and grocery shopping go hand in hand, so this can be the first step toward healthy eating.

3. You cook at home the majority of the time.
You don't have to cook gourmet meals every night, but even making a large pot of turkey chili or making a quick batch of black bean quesadillas will probably be a healthier option than eating out.

4. You eat lots of fruits and vegetables.
Bottom line, people who eat healthy eat more fruits and vegetables and less snack food. Try to constantly think of ways to eat more veggies at lunch and dinner. Whether it be a salad, veggies and hummus, extra cucumber and tomatoes on your sandwich or a stir-fry at dinner, eating more veggies helps control blood glucose levels and helps fill you up.

Also on Z Living: Get To Know The Top 10 Lowest Carb Veggies

5. You eat 3 meals per day.
Healthy eaters don't skip meals! This leads to better blood sugar control and less overeating at dinner.

6. You eat 3 food groups per meal.
Healthy eaters eat a variety of foods at a meal, so they usually aim for 3 food groups at a meal. An example could be a dinner with salmon, quinoa and green beans for a total of 3 foods groups.

7. You drink lots of water.
Healthy eaters drink more water and less soda or other drinks.

8. You get back on track if you ever overdo it.
Healthy eaters are not perfect eaters! But if you do overdo it on the sweets or snacks, you get back on track quickly.

9. You're willing to try new foods.
The healthiest eaters never say things like, "I don't like any fruit or vegetables." They are willing to try to new foods and see if they like it before forming opinions.

9 Habits of Non-Healthy Eaters


1. You eat out more than 3 times per week.
Unhealthy eaters tend to eat at a lot of meals at restaurants for lunch, dinner and sometimes breakfast.

2. You go to fast food restaurants regularly.
Fast food restaurants contain so many temptations that it's almost impossible to retain healthy eating habits while dining in them.

3. You eat lots of processed or packaged foods.
Unhealthy eaters consume a lot of processed foods such as chips or cookies, and sometimes large portion sizes of packaged "healthier" food options, like as popcorn, cereal, crackers, or pretzels. These should be eaten in moderation only.

Also on Z Living: These Yoga Poses Curb Your Junk Food Cravings

4. You skip meals.
Unhealthy eaters do not eat regular meals at regular times, which can lead to overeating.

5. You eat fried foods weekly.
Fried foods are commonly eaten among unhealthy eaters, whether it is fried chicken, french fries, or potato chips. Eat these items in modernation only. 

6. You drink sugary, sweetened drinks.
Regular soda, lemonade, juice, or sweet ice tea make the list of drinks for unhealthy eaters. You don't need to avoid these items completely, but solely drinking sugary drinks rather can derail the healthiest of meals.

Also on Z Living: The Bittersweet Truth Behind Your Favorite Can of Soda

7. You drink large amounts of diet soda or coffee.
Not everyone that drinks diet soda or coffee is an unhealthy eater, but when people are drinking these things in excess, it becomes a problem. For example, drinking a pot of coffee or more than 3 diet sodas per day usually takes the place of how much water a person is drinking.

8. You snack a lot after dinner.
Some unhealthy eaters do well during the day and then really overdo the snacking in the evening time. This could be due to boredom, stress relief, emotional eating, or not eating enough during the day.

9. You make excuses for why you can't eat healthy.
Unhealthy eaters tend to have many excuses on why they don't eat healthy. The bottom line is, if tyou want to make healthy eating a priority there are no more excuses.

Now that you've identified your best (and worst) eating habits, learn how to keep it up with these other inspiring reads:

WATCH: Z Living's Change The Day You Die, where each week, one lucky person will get the chance to rewrite their future and start living a much healthier life. Watch a sneak preview here.

Tell us in the comments: How do you control your junk food cravings?
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