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Healthy eating - your eating habits

The way you eat your food can affect your weight as much as what you eat. By eating the right balances of foods in healthy portions, you can maintain a healthy body weight. But your eating habits - the way you eat your food - can also help you to keep a healthy weight.

Changes in the way we live have led to changes in our eating habits. By being continually on the move and eating at irregular times, some of us are losing awareness of what, when and how we eat. And we have moved away from the traditional family meal at the table to eating on the move or in front of the television.

Working out a daily meal routine and focusing on your food will help increase your awareness of what you are eating and develop healthier eating habits.

Focusing on your food lets you keep better track of how much you've eaten. Keep to a meal routine

Try to eat at roughly the same times each day, whether this is two or five times a day. If you create a regular routine it will help your body to learn when your next meal is due and prevent you from getting too hungry between meals.

  • Keep to the same pattern of eating every day.
  • Pick a pattern that fits in with your own daily routine and stick to it. If you haven’t eaten like this for some time, or if you never have, it will require effort.
  • If you are someone who snacks, try to snack at around the same time each day.
  • Try planning when you intend to eat and check at the end of the day if you have achieved this.

Try to eat at the table instead of in front of the telly. Focusing on your food

Focusing on your food will help you to control your portion sizes. Research has found that you are more likely to eat more calories while watching television. And if you eat while doing something else, such as walking, it is easy to eat much more than you realise. The following tips may help you focus on your food and help you to eat less:

  • Eat your meals at the table it will help you focus on the amount of food you eat.
  • Eat slowly. It takes time for your body to register how much food you've eaten and how full you are.
  • Don’t eat while walking, wait until you get there and take time to concentrate on what you are eating.

More tips

For more tips on reaching a healthy body weight through healthy eating and physical activity, go to our Ten Top Tips page. Ten Top Tips is a programme for weight loss through lifestyle changes that you can fit into your daily routine.

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Updated: 25 September 2009