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10 Eating Habits to Keep You Fit Year-Round

Adopt these ten healthy eating habits any time of year to transform your body, improve your well-being, and help you achieve physical fitness.

1. Eliminate added sugar.

Hidden sugars are lurking in many of our favourite foods and drinks, even those we think are healthy like fruit juices, cereal, yogurt, and granola bars. These added sugars pack on the pounds. Read the nutritional labels on the foods and drinks you consider buying. Corn syrup, dextrose, and evaporated cane juice are code words for added sugar. Watch out for reduced-fat or low-fat foods. These often have sugar added to improve the taste.

2. Drink plenty of water.

Dehydration can lower your metabolism, decreasing your ability to burn fat and calories. Stay hydrated by drinking water throughout the day. Drinking water also removes toxins from the body. The Mayo Clinic recommends 9 cups of water per day for women and 13 cups for men.

3. Cook your own meals.

Preparing food in your kitchen not only saves you money, but it can save you calories. When you control what is going into your food and how it is prepared, (i.e. frying versus baking or grilling) you can make better choices than a restaurant would, adding higher-quality, lower-calorie ingredients and employing healthier cooking methods.

4. Eat your fruits and veggies raw.

Cooking veggies makes them easier to digest and releases more of the calories they contain. So, to make your body absorb fewer calories from fruits and veggies and burn more calories during digestion, eat them raw.

5. Eat the rainbow.

Choose fruits and veggies that are vibrantly coloured. Powerful antioxidants are what give the skin their intense hue. The more antioxidants you eat, the healthier you will be. Antioxidants can protect your DNA from oxidation and reduce inflammation throughout your body.

6. Don’t Rush.

Eating slower can actually lower the amount of calories you take in and make you aware of when you are full. The American Dietetic Association released a study out of New Zealand focusing on body mass index (BMI) and eating speed. The study found that the quicker you eat, the higher your BMI is likely to be.

7. Have a Plan.

Create a weekly plan for what and when you will eat each day. Stick to your plan to keep your hunger under control and stop needless snacking or fast-food pit stops. If you are short on time, prepare healthy snacks and meals the evening before or on the weekends.

8. Know what you are eating.

Track your average calorie intake for a week using an online resource such as MyPlate or MyFitnessPal. Use these resources to figure out how many calories you should be eating to reach your fitness goals and make changes accordingly.

9. Eat plenty of fibre.

Studies have consistently proven that eating fibre is key to shedding unwanted pounds and maintaining a healthy weight. Fibre helps you feel full and boosts your metabolism. Women need 25 grams of fibre each day and men need 38 grams. Plant foods, such as nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies, and beans, are excellent sources of dietary fibre.

10. Use a smaller plate.

It may sound strange, but using a salad plate instead of a dinner plate - and only filling it once - will force you into smaller servings. Fill your plate in the kitchen and eat in another room to cut down on second helpings.