The right way to change our eating habits

Implementing the basic principles of a balanced diet can help to maintain our body weight at normal levels and prevent chronic conditions (e.g. cardiovascular diseases, diabetes).

However, the modern lifestyle, which revolves around long working hours, lack of physical activity and plenty of ready-made, junk food, makes it difficult for us to improve our eating habits. Thus, most people eat snacks rich in fat, sugar and calories and low in vitamins, micronutrients and antioxidants. Also, many have only one or two meals a day due to a lack of time.

Changing these habits also requires proper planning and persistence. It is very useful to set realistic long-term and short-term goals. An easy way to identify the causes that lead us to eating poorly is to analyze our everyday habits. Let’s ask ourselves how we eat (standing, sitting, until we feel bloated), where we eat (in the kitchen, at the office, in front of the TV), when we eat (in the morning, at noon, in the evening), what we eat (ready-made food, cooked food) and what our mood is when we eat (sad, happy, anxious). Only by recording our daily habits we will be able to understand what we are doing wrong and why we lag behind.
It is not impossible to adopt a more appropriate and balanced diet. Small changes in our daily dietary habits can bring about significant and lasting changes.


  1. High fluid consumption
    • Adults should drink at least 1.5 liters of fluids a day, or even more if the weather is too hot or they engage in physical activity. Water is obviously the best source of liquids. Some alternatives are juices, tea, coffee, milk and yogurt.
  2. Consumption of fruit and vegetables
    • Most of us do not eat enough fruit and vegetables, although they are a significant source of vitamins, antioxidants and fiber for proper bowel function. Consuming 5-7 servings of fruit and vegetables a day can meet our body’s needs.
  3. Food variety
    • This is a requirement for consumption of food from all categories: dairy, fruit, vegetables, cereal/whole wheat pasta, pulses, fish, poultry, red meat, olive oil, nuts. Dietary variety helps to ingest all nutrients in the quantities necessary for the proper functioning of our organism and for body weight to be maintained at normal levels. We need more than 40 different nutrients in order to be healthy and no food can supply all of them. Only food variety ensures the intake of all these nutrients.
  4. Small and frequent meals: As mentioned above, they are the secret to a proper diet, because they ensure
    • Significant intake of necessary nutrients at fixed time intervals.
    • Continuous activation of metabolism and reduced fat storage.
    • Stabilization of insulin & glucose levels.
    • Control over the feelings of hunger and satiety (Palmer et al, 2009).
  5. Moderate portions – we eat less of some foods; we do not exclude them
    • If we keep the portion size reasonable, it is easier to eat all the foods that we like without having to exclude and miss any of them.
  6. Increased physical activity
    • Increased calorie intake and low physical activity can result in weight gain. Moderate physical activity helps to oxidize excess calories. It is also important for the heart and the circulatory system but also for our health and well-being in general. We can try to find solutions to integrate physical activity in our daily schedule, such as using the stairs instead of the elevator (Cooper & Page, 2000).
  7.  All in good measure
    • There are no “good” or “bad” foods, only good or bad diets. There is no reason to feel guilty about the foods we like, we just have to consume them in moderate quantities and choose other foods that will provide us with the balance and variety required for good health. We need to remember that gradual changes in lifestyle are the best way for turning a balanced diet from theory into practice.