8 bad food habits

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GEETA KHURANA on eating on the run, poor meal planning, and more

No one can eat perfectly all the time, but sometimes when unhealthy eating patterns become a way of life, one can be confronted with a major health issue. Living in a fast-paced society you sometimes end up with many bad food habits. To break the trend of unhealthy eating habits, you need to first determine what they are. Here are some common bad eating habits that you should learn to avoid.


1. Skipping meals

Though everyone knows skipping meals is not good for us, most of us tend to skip one or two. We might do it either to lose weight or just through lack of time. Breakfast is the most commonly missed meal. However organised you might be, early morning is the rush hour for every household. So who has time to fit breakfast into all that mayhem? If we miss any meals, our bodies and brain run low on fuel and we grab cups of coffee or sugary candy bars, or look for other snacks to keep ourselves alert. This might work for a short while, but we tend to get lethargic and are more prone to eat in excess at the next meal.


2. Food bingeing

Skipping meals often leads to bingeing on food. Sometimes we binge just out of boredom, and we always tend to binge on the wrong foods when we are hungry. Regular bingeing also makes us lose touch with the body’s hunger and satisfaction signals, and that can lead to chronic overeating and piling on extra calories. Try to eat several small meals in a day to avoid binging.


3. Poor meal planning

Poor meal planning, unplanned meals and last minute planning of meals often lead to opening packaged or frozen foods, or ordering for home deliveries and fast foods. It is very important to plan weekly menus and shop accordingly, to avoid last minute chaos.


4. Eating on the run

In a busy life, sometimes there is no time to sit down and enjoy or even have relaxed meals. Leaving the house for a busy day without packed snacks or meals sets the stage for disaster. You will resort to meals that are too processed, too heavy and too much on your waistline. Eating on the run, buying food through a drive-through or eating in the car may become a habit with some people. When you eat quickly in the car or on your way somewhere, your mind is on other things and not on how much you are eating. When eating fast food, you are also very likely consuming more fat and excessive calories without the necessary nutrition.


5. Eating while doing other activities

If you eat while watching TV, working, reading or even when cooking, you are also developing unhealthy eating behaviour. When you eat while doing other activities, you are unable to measure how much you eat. As a result, you tend to overeat without knowing it. You can eat a bag of potato chips or a big box of popcorn while watching a movie, which adds unnecessary calories. Try and switch off the TV or computer while having meals and try to make meals a time for family.


6. Large portion sizes

This is a common bad food habit with most of us. Eating larger portions than what our body needs is a common practice. This might happen sometimes if the food is very delicious or it is our favourite food, but most commonly it happens if we miss or skip meals. Skipping meals means we are hungrier at the next meal, and tend to eat larger portion sizes. Overdoing portion sizes even with healthy meals is not a good habit and adds extra calories. To control portion sizes, use smaller plates and avoid having seconds. Also try not to eat snacks from the box since you always end up eating the whole box or carton.


7. Emotional eating

Emotional eating or stress eating is another common unhealthy habit that should be avoided. This occurs when you are driven by certain emotions to eat, even though you are not hungry. Perhaps you munch on candy bars when stressed about a deadline at work, or perhaps you indulge in a tub of ice cream when you are feeling depressed. Most of the time we probably reach for unhealthy junk food in order to cope with emotions. Therefore, try to find another channel for your stress and negative emotions.


8. Late night eating

Eating late at night is another common bad food habit. Some of us, due to busy schedules during the day, tend to skip meals or just eat whatever is available on the run, but we sit down in the evening to enjoy big, large meals. Some people are late sleepers and end up bingeing while surfing the net, watching TV or working. Night-time eating often consists of snacking and excessive calorie consumption. To avoid eating late at night, find interesting things to do that takes away the boredom.

It is never too late to change bad food habits.  With determination, anyone can fix bad eating habits and develop a healthier lifestyle.