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29 Small Ways To Change Your Eating Habits Big Time

Enough with the crash diets and cleanses already. These ridiculously easy lifestyle changes will help you feel much healthier and happier for the long haul.

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With all the contradicting information out there, creating and sticking to healthy eating habits can be extremely hard.

To make it easier, BuzzFeed Life spoke with Jessica Jones, M.S., R.D., co-host of Food Heaven Made Easy, and Danielle Omar, M.S., R.D., creator of Food Confidence, and came up with 29 simple ways you can improve your eating habits and be healthier in your everyday life.

1. Add frozen veggies to everything!

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"Frozen is a great choice when it comes to vegetables, as they are frozen at the peak of freshness," Jones says. "I tell my patients to keep some veggies in the freezer and try to find ways to add them into everyday meals. For example, last night I sautéed broccoli and spinach and added it to my homemade pizza."

Jones suggests adding in one cup of frozen veggies to your usual pastas, stir-fries, and omelets for a nutritional boost.

2. Order first when eating out with friends and family.

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You may have every intention in the world of ordering the chicken salad. But when you hear your friend order the creamy carbonara pasta, it's easy to forget about the salad altogether. Try to order first so that you're not tempted by what everyone else is ordering.

If there's a high-calorie, low-nutrient dish, dessert, or appetizer that you really want to try, ask a friend to split it with you. You'll end up eating less of it and saving money while you're at it.

3. Go grocery shopping on Friday afternoons.

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While it may seem like the last thing you want to do after a long week of work, getting your groceries on Friday afternoons is great because it makes you less likely to eat out during the weekend (saving you from spending money and potentially eating late-night pizza) and it allows you to cook healthy meals throughout the week. Plus, you can avoid the crowds of people you normally run into on Sundays.

4. Try to make your plate one-quarter complex carbs, one-quarter protein, and one-half veggies, if you can.

5. And eat the vegetables on your plate first.

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Omar suggests you eat around your plate in this order: vegetables, protein, and then carbs. She says that way, when you get to the fatty foods, you won't be as hungry. You may also feel full by the time you get to the starchy carbs.

6. Make smart food swaps to cut calories without even noticing.

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Here are 26 healthier ways you can eat your favorite snacks that will each save you 100 calories.

7. Eat snacks like chips and popcorn from a plate or bowl.

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"Research shows that when you eat out of the bag, your brain doesn't give you a stop signal," Omar tells BuzzFeed Life. "So you're likely to eat much more than if you used a plate or a bowl."

8. Grill or bake one extra serving of protein at dinner to throw on a salad for lunch the next day.

9. Use a mister for your olive oil.

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"Every tablespoon of olive oil is about 120 calories," Jones says. "However, every squirt of EVOO from a mister is only 5 to 10 calories." Jones also finds that the mister is better for evenly distributing the oil so your dish tastes more flavorful.

You can buy the one pictured above at Crate and Barrel.

10. Sweeten your coffee with unsweetened almond milk and stevia.

11. Avoid getting distracted while you're eating.

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"One study found that people tend to eat more when they are multitasking during meal times," Jones says. "Put down your iPhone or laptop and make sure to be present."

She also suggests practicing mindful eating – being fully aware of the colors, flavors, smells, and textures of your food and getting rid of all other distractions (laptops, TV, cell phones, etc.).

12. Eat breakfasts high in protein, fat, and veggies, and low in carbs.

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While it may be tempting to eat sugary foods for breakfast, chocolate croissants, cereals, and doughnuts can cause your blood sugar levels to rise significantly, resulting later in a crash that will only make you crave sugar more.

Instead, try to eat breakfasts high in protein and vegetables – not only are they nutritionally better for you, but they'll also keep you full longer.

13. Choose club soda as your base when making mixed (alcoholic) drinks.

14. Steam instead of fry.

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"Don't overlook the power of the steamer," Jones says. "Most people don't realize that you can use them to make things crispy. Invest in a good double-decker so that you don't have to fry things or use oil."

Jones recommends this awesome double-decker (pictured above) that you can buy at Target.

15. When you have a choice, choose whole foods over processed every time.

Try to stick with eating whole foods (grains, beans, fruits) or foods you've made yourself. Though sometimes they may have more calories, you will definitely be getting more nutritional value than what you'd be getting from processed alternatives, such as loads of extra salt and preservatives.

Here are 14 other things you should really know about processed foods.

16. Invest in good Tupperware.

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"Seriously, having cute Tupperware makes you more likely to bring snacks and lunch to work or school," Jones says. "I've been using glass Tupperware recently. It seems to keep things cooler and I can pop it straight in the microwave to reheat my lunch."

Jones recommends this Pyrex No Leak Glass set that you can buy at Target. If you're looking to buy plastic Tupperware, just make sure it's BPA-free.

17. Flavor your food with spices such as garlic and onion powder instead of just relying on salt.

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While cooking with some fresh cracked salt isn't harmful for you — the recommended sodium intake is between 1,500–2,300 mg — consuming too much can lead to hypertension (long-term high blood pressure), which really increases your risk of heart disease.

Instead of loading up on salt, try using other spices, like garlic, basil, onion, or curry powder, all of which provide a surprising amount of nutritional value. Your food will have just as much flavor without the risky health factors.

18. When ordering a salad, always ask for the dressing on the side.

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When you're eating out, ordering a salad always seems to be the healthiest option. But what many people don't realize is some restaurant salads can be close to 1,000 calories, with 200–300 of the calories and a good portion of the sodium coming from the dressing — for example, these salads have more calories and sodium than a Big Mac.

Always ask for the salad dressing on the side so that you can add it as needed.

19. Switch out one soda, coffee, or juice per day with green tea.

20. Make sure the smoothies you're blending are balanced.

21. Try swapping out ingredients for healthier options when you can.

Rachel Sanders / Via BuzzFeed

Substitute healthy ingredients into your favorite recipes, so that you get the same delicious taste for fewer calories and more nutritional benefits.

Here are 27 yummy substitutions you can make while preparing everyday favorites such as PB&J, pancakes, soups, and pizzas.

22. Let yourself enjoy your favorite treats.

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"Allow yourself to eat your favorite sweet or treat — just try to keep the amount under 150 calories," Jones says. "Studies suggest that people get the same satisfaction from their favorite foods regardless of the portion size. Instead of eating a 500-calorie slice of cheesecake and ice cream, have a small slice of cake and a few spoons full of ice cream."

Here are 23 delicious frozen desserts that are all under 200 calories.

23. Or find healthier alternatives for them.

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"If you can't limit yourself to a small portion of your favorite dessert, than try to find a healthy alternative that you can either make or buy," says Jones. "If you love ice cream, try a Greek yogurt ice cream that will include protein and low sugar."

Jones also recommends eating pieces of fruit before reaching for sweets because sometimes it's your blood sugar levels triggering your cravings, which eating fruit can help stabilize. If you are in need of a snack, try something like an apple with a tablespoon of almond butter — high in fiber and protein — which should leave you satisfied and help fend off cravings.

The homemade Nutella frozen yogurt pictured above is only 150 calories per serving. Get the recipe here.

24. Always take a water bottle with you.

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"This will ensure you stay hydrated on the good stuff and not sugary drinks," Jones says. "If you need to, invest in a cute water bottle that will make you excited about drinking H20. Make your own 'spa' water by adding mint and cucumber or strawberries and lemon wedges."

You can also download an app like Waterlogged, which will remind you to drink water throughout the day.

25. Take some time to make your own salad dressings.

26. Meal prep for 15 minutes on nights before work.

27. Write down everything you eat to give yourself a better sense of your habits and how much you're taking in.

28. Wait 20 minutes before deciding to get seconds.

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"It takes about 20 minutes for your stomach to tell your brain that you are full," Jones says. "If you are still hungry after 20 minutes, get a second helping."

If you want to be even healthier, make that second helping all veggies, which are low in calories and high in fiber, antioxidants, and a ton of great nutrients.

29. Use whole grain flour when baking.

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Whole grain flour includes more protein and fiber than the regular old all-purpose option, and most of the time will taste just as great in baking recipes. However, using whole grain flour can be a little difficult at first because it can change the consistency of what you're making. Just be sure to experiment when starting out, subbing whole grain in for all-purpose a little at a time.

Here are other healthy baking recipe substitutions. Get the recipe for the cookies pictured above here.

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