10 Habits for Healthy Eating

It’s no secret New Year is the time of year when many people make resolutions to become fitter and healtier, especially after all the indulgences of the festive season! But did you know most people who make resolutions quit within a month?

Unfortunately making changes due to a date on the calendar will rarely provide lasting results. Motivation must be intrinsic, or come from within, rather than from external forces,  if people are to create new healthy habits that truly stick.

One in three New Zealand adults are now considered obese. This shocking statistic is mainly due to inactivity and bad nutrition. We all know the benefits of exercising when it comes to achieving good health and fitness, however good eating habits are equally as important when it comes to lasting change.

Check out my top 10 tips for developing healthy, sustainable eating habits, which when combined with a great fitness programme, will leave you looking and feeling amazingl

 1. Set small goals. Try to set goals that are challenging but achievable in a small amount of time.  For instance, instead of setting the goal to lose 30kg’s in 12 weeks, a more realistic (and healthier) goal would be to lose between 500gms and 1kg each week.

2. Change your mind set. Instead of using food for emotion, punishment and/or reward.  Start to think of food as only fuel and/or nourishment for your body. If you have hang-ups with food that stem from your child hood, then you need to figure out a solution. E.g. I personally struggle with throwing food away even when I am full, this is because as a child we were always made to eat everything on our plate and nothing was ever wasted. My solution for my hang up; was to feed our chickens the scraps and to cook smaller quantities, which in turn decreases waste.   

 3. Be consciously aware. Stop the mindless eating and sit down at the table and eat.  Chew thoroughly and think about what you are eating and the nutrients involved.  If it is high in calories and low in nutrients, it is likely to add fat to your thighs and inhibit you from achieving your goals.

 4. Set yourself up for success. Get rid of all the junk food, and stock your pantry and fridge with healthy food, pack healthy lunches when going out, have a stash of healthy snacks in your car, plan all your evening meals (a week in advance).  Eat 5-6 meals a day and try not to ever be in a position where you are starving, as this is when you are more likely to overeat and make bad food choices.

5. Distract cravings. Cravings are often set off by irregular eating causing your blood sugar levels to drop; in turn making you crave sugar.  If you have a sugar craving instead of eating processed food, choose something sweet that will nourish your body, e.g. piece of fruit or a pottle of yoghurt. 

6. Choose appropriate portion sizes. A portion size is the palm of your hand or a clenched fist.  Each meal should be; ½ plate of salad/veges, ¼ plate of starch (rice, pasta, potato/kumara), ¼ plate of protein (chicken, fish, meat, eggs).  Be aware that you won’t feel full until 20 minutes after you have eaten, so never continue to eat until you feel full. 

7. Your body needs more water.  Drink plenty of water (at least 2-3 litres a day) which helps stop that peckish feeling.  A lot of time when you think you are hungry it is more likely that you are just thirsty.  Drink a large glass of water before each meal as this fills you up.

8. Eliminate the triggers. Think about the triggers for those automated eating habits.  If meeting friends at a cafe triggers you to drink wine and eat hot chips. Then stop going to the cafe, instead meet friends at the park for a takeaway coffee and a brisk walk.

9. Focus on progression not perfection.  We all experience weakness, when our resolve is not quite as strong as we thought. You can treat yourself occasionally, as long as you eat healthy at least 80% of the time.  If you have completely strayed from your eating plan, try to understand why, reassess your goals, visualise how you want to live your life and recommit to that goal. 

 10. Understand the importance of your goal. Often people that undertake health and fitness programmes have underlying personal reasons for doing so. YES! We all want to look good, but I guarantee the thought of looking good won’t keep you on track when you start to succumb to temptation.  We all have our own reasons, whether it is good health and longevity, setting a good example for our children, or embracing an active and healthy lifestyle, you need to understand why YOU want this.  It could mean the difference between sticking with it OR giving up.

By following these tips in conjunction with a great fitness programme, you will have more energy, be less stressed and have a real vigour for life!


Karen Hulston was a NZ Army Advanced Qualified Physical Training Instructor for over 10 years, and was the first female to qualify into the NZ Army Physical Training Corps. Today she is a health and fitness coach who runs both live and online Boot Camp training programmes. Karen is also mum of four young children. Learn more about Karen and her programmes at bootcampwithkaz.co.nz



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