Skip to main content

Building Healthy Eating Habits

Fitting in time to cook alongside a busy lifestyle can be challenging.  Simple changes such as planning meals in advance, making a shopping list, or prepping multiple meals for the week at one time can be easy ways to reduce stress when shopping, cooking and preparing food.

It is important to remember that how we eat, when, where, and who we eat with – are just important as what we eat for building up healthy food habits and promoting general wellbeing.

Some general tips and ideas are:

  • Make cooking and eating a social activity that you share with friends and family, eating altogether as a family round a dinner table where possible.
  • Try to have regular mealtimes where you eat at roughly the same time each day.
  • Build in small daily targets or changes to achieve, such as eating 5 portions of fruit and vegetable per day.
  • Keep a food journal for a few days to keep track of hunger cues and fullness throughout the day, which you can use to plan meal and snack-times around when you feel hungry.
  • Consider if your need to eat is because you feel physically hungry - or if instead it may be an emotional response to a situation or event or an external food cue, such as seeing a fast-food advertisement.
  • Try to avoid food shopping when you are hungry as you may be more susceptible to food marketing and impulse purchases.
  • Make time to eat slowly and relax – try not to rush your mealtimes, but instead take time to enjoy your food and be present. This can aid digestion and also prevent overconsumption of food.

When trying to change or improve your eating habits, there are easy ways to check-in and monitor your progress as you explore new methods of healthy eating.

Goal-setting is a great way to keep on track with any healthy eating target you set yourself. This could be agreeing or setting a defined goal with a measurable outcome. For example, you might decide to try and include 1 additional portion of fruit or vegetables with your dinner each day. You can track this goal, daily, weekly or even monthly to see if you are staying on track.

We have produced a free downloadable goal-setting information booklet, for you to learn more and start tracking your goals.


Some other suggestions for adopting healthy eating behaviours long-term include:

  • Make it a habit – repeating an activity or behaviour multiple times helps it to form part of our routine which is easy to stick to.
  • Tell a friend – telling a friend or loved one about a healthy eating goal or food habit improvements can help to hold us accountable.
  • Self-motivation – tell yourself you are capable and that you can do it to keep your motivation and self-belief high.
  • Do it with a friend or family – trying out healthier habits or activities with someone else can provide social support for both them and you.
  • Prompt yourself – seeing a visible reminder or cue, such as a message on the fridge door may act as a reminder to stick to your healthy eating plan.

You may also be interested in Mindful Eating.