Wellness: How To Eat Better For A Healthier You

Sensible diet hacks to help you maintain a healthy weight.

By Steve Thio        23 July 2021

The healthy way to lose weight has always been to exercise regularly and eat healthy, nutritious meals. Extreme dieting fads may lead to quick and fast results but they are known to have harmful and severe side effects as well. If you’re still determined to shed those few pounds, here are some safe and easy diet hacks and tricks that will help you do it healthily.

Breakfast Matters

Apparently people who have a healthy breakfast weigh less than those who skip it! Research1 shows your body uses up all the fuel from the food you digested after four hours. So after a long night’s sleep, you need a good breakfast to help charge your body and avoid hunger pangs at the start of the day.  Feeling hungry for prolonged periods of time, especially if you miss breakfast or a meal, can lead to overeating later in the day – and this can lead to weight gain. So don’t miss breakfast: just make sure you have a healthy and nutrient rich meal instead of one that is sinful and calorie rich.

Many Small Meals

Some people advocate that having five to six small meals throughout the day instead of three main meals can help weight loss. People tend to eat more when they are hungry and having many meals throughout the day helps keep the hunger away. But research has also shown that eating many small meals may actually lead to weight gain instead – it all boils down to how much and what you eat for these small meals. 

Have small nutrient-rich meals instead of heavy carbs and calories to give you the energy you need to propel you through the day2. And you should eat just enough to keep your hunger pangs away. A good guide to nutrient-rich snacks can be found here.

Snack (And Drink!) Healthily

When grocery shopping, make a deliberate and conscious effort to fill your pantry with protein-packed snacks instead of unhealthy tidbits and drinks that are loaded with sugar or salt. Avoid salty MSG-laden chips, sweet chocolates and too-much-sugar ice cream; get nuts, dried and fresh fruits or pick the healthier versions of the sinful snacks you love. 

And drink lots of water – or sugar-free black coffee and tea or herbal drinks!

Colour Your Plates

There’s a reason why most fast food logos have the main colours of red, yellow and orange; these colours are known to stimulate your appetite! If you’re eating off cutlery in these colours, your appetite will be ‘stimulated’ to eat more! Conversely, hues like grey, blue and brown tend to suppress your diet3.

Research has shown that food served on coloured plates that contrast with the colour of the food can help reduce your eating portions by over 20%! For example, eating coloured food off white plates help you see the portion of food clearly; if you’re eating food from plates in the same colour, you won’t be able to see the portion or amount as clearly and tend to eat more.

Blue Moods

Depending on the colour, the environment you dine in can also affect your appetite. It works on the same principle as eating off coloured plates. If you want to eat less, have your meal in a blue, grey or brown space which can help suppress your appetite3.

Eat Slower

You don’t necessarily have to start counting the times you chew for each mouthful of food, but eating slower can help you eat less. Research has shown that overweight people who eat slower actually lose weight as it takes about 20 minutes from the moment you start eating for the brain to send ‘signals’ of fullness to your body4. And when you feel full, you eat less!

Another trick is to eat using cutlery with your less dominant hand – use your left hand if you’re right handed. This will help you eat slower too.

Mirror, Mirror On The Fridge

Research has shown that participants eating desserts or unhealthy food in front of a mirror tend to eat more than those who ate the same food without a mirror around. The mirror is a visual reflection and reminder of your eating habits and food choices.5

So having a mirror in the kitchen is not just a vanity indulgence, it can actually help you avoid unhealthy food and eat less!

For more information on how to lose weight healthily, check out the following links:

(1) How Long Does Food Stay in Your Stomach?; (2) 6 Meals a Day for Weight Loss; (3) The color of your plate can affect weight loss; (4) Slow Down, You Eat Too Fast; (5) How Putting a Mirror in Your Dining Room Might Help You Lose Weight

Note: Do not attempt any of the suggested actions or instructions in this article without first consulting with a medical professional. 

Join A Club

SAFRA members, why not switch up your life by joining a SAFRA interest group? There are clubs for just about everything and they help you to cultivate your talents, meet other people, and often burn calories.

– Adventure club
– Community services club
– Dragon Boat club
– Photographic club
– Running club
– Tech club

….. and many more!

Group activities can be a great way to get out of the house, watch less TV, and be more active. You can also check out MeetUp.com for groups in your area, or use it to start your own (current Covid-19 restrictions apply).

Share your healthy eating tips with us at magnsman@sph.com.sg!