10 eating habits to ditch or keep

When it comes to healthy eating, we’re a big fan of getting the most bang for your buck. While we can agonise over every little thing we put in our mouths every day, the truth is that some behaviours have a much bigger effect on our health than others.

A great example of this is recent research out of the US which looked at over 700,000 subjects who died as a result of heart disease, stroke and type 2 diabetes. They found almost half of these deaths could be attributed to just 10 eating habits.

10 eating habits

These top 10 eating habits fell into one of two categories.

They were eating too much:

  • Salt – 9.5% of deaths

  • Processed meats – 8.2% of deaths

  • Sugary drinks – 7.4% of deaths

  • Unprocessed red meats – 0.4% of deaths

or too little:

  • Nuts and seeds – 8.5% of deaths

  • Omega-3 fats – 7.8% of deaths

  • Vegetables – 7.6% of deaths

  • Fruit – 7.5% of deaths

  • Wholegrains – 5.9% of deaths

  • Polyunsaturated fats – 2.3% of deaths.

How to get the most bang for your buck to protect your heart

The simplest way is to choose to fill your diet with minimally processed plant foods. By doing this you’ll find yourself eating plenty of the foods many of us eat too little of and eating less of those that harm our health, but feature too prominently in modern diets. Big benefits don’t have to come from complicated changes so start prioritising those plant foods today!

3 ways to get nuts and seeds in your daily diet

Nuts are often mentioned as being high in fat, but did you know they’re also a source of fibre, protein and vitamin E, as well as other vital nutrients? And while high in fat, it’s the heart healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats that they’re rich in.

1. The 3pm hunger buster

A good goal to aim for is 30g of nuts at least 5 days a week. 30g is roughly a small handful, so why not grab that small handful when your stomach’s growling mid-afternoon.

2. Power up that smoothie

Did you know that chia seeds form a gel like texture mixed with water? Try a tablespoon in your next smoothie to add a satisfying texture, a shot of healthy fibre and plant based omega-3 fats.

3. Make your own nut butter

Natural nut butters are simply ground up nuts without anything else added. Try making your own by grinding your favourite nuts to a paste in a food processor and spreading on a tasty wholegrain bread.


Eat less of ...

  • Remove at least one "serve" of these this week.

  • Remove at least one "serve" of these next week.

  • Keep doing this for 1 month.

Eat more of...

  • Add at least one "serve" of these this week.

  • Add at least one "serve" of these next week.

  • Keep doing this for 1 month.


  • How many Eat less of "serves" have I removed this month? How do I feel?

  • How many Eat more of "serves" have I added this month? How do I feel?

Try doing this for 1 more month, so it becomes a good habit, then increase/decrease each month until the end of the year. 

It's a great challenge to review when you welcome in the new year in 2018!

First published in The Record