Special Report

Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change Your Life

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26. Reduce red meat consumption, especially processed meats

Although growing evidence suggests that we should limit our intake of red meat — especially processed red meat — many people still eat burgers and sausages. If you’re going to eat red meat, avoid processed and cured meats such as ham, lunch meat, and bacon, as they may be linked to cancer and heart disease. Instead, try lean, unprocessed grass-fed beef, which is higher in omega-3 fatty acids.

While available to relatively few people, wild game such as elk, venison, or bison, which tend to be lower in saturated fats than farm-raised animals, is another healthier option.

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27. Don’t diet or think of foods as “off limits”

Studies have shown that restricted eating (dieting) can actually cause people to overeat and focus on their hunger.

It may be about the way diets are framed. A University of Arizona study on food-related warnings showed that dieters who received negative messages about unhealthy food were more likely to want and eat these unhealthy foods. Dieters who received two-sided messages, however, focusing on both the positive and negative aspects of the food, were more likely to choose fewer unhealthy foods.

Instead of thinking of certain foods as off-limits, which may lead to guilt and binging, try reducing portions of unhealthy foods and considering them as an occasional treat.

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28. Sub homemade popcorn for potato chips

Chips tend to be higher in fat and calories than popcorn, unless the popcorn is the microwaved, butter-flavored kind. Choose air-popped corn for a whole grain, fiber rich snack that you can eat by the handful. It takes about six cups of popcorn to reach the same number of calories as one cup of chips.

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29. Make small changes, one step at a time

Several studies suggest that making small changes in diet and lifestyle may be more effective and sustainable than sudden extreme changes. Instead of attempting a drastic fad diet, set small, realistic goals like eating one extra piece of fruit every day.