6 Ways to Improve your Diet and Eating Patterns. Hutton Health

6 Ways to Improve your Diet and Eating Patterns

22nd July 2023

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The food and drinks that a person consumes over time creates a person’s eating pattern. A healthy eating pattern means that a person is getting the nutrients and vitamins needed to help maintain their body’s daily functioning, promote optimal weight, and help prevent disease.

Although food and beverage intake can vary from day to day, an eating pattern is the average consumption over a period of time.

Each of us has developed habits around food and eating. Some of the habits are good, such as always having fruit with breakfast, but others don’t add to a healthy diet, such as needing a sweet pudding after a meal.


What shapes our eating patterns as adults?

What shapes our eating patterns as adults?

  • Learned over Time

Nutrition habits and eating patterns are learned behaviours that we develop throughout our lives.  Family eating habits and attitudes towards food influence our eating patterns as adults.

Parental food preferences, portion sizes, style of cooking, the environment & focus placed on the experience of eating meals and the behaviour of those close to you, all impact your approach to nutrition as you age.

My Mom cooked beautiful homemade food for every meal. She cooked a wide variety of healthy food, and each meal generally had a meat, a carbohydrate, and both cooked and raw vegetables.

This has definitely shaped the way I now cook for my son and I. We both love big plates of raw vegetables any time of the day and I plan my meal around the type of protein that I am preparing.

  • Environmental

Our environment, lifestyle and stress levels also play a role in our nutrition and eating patterns.  When we are under stress our bodies ‘fight or flight’ mode kicks in.  This stress response leads us to crave sugar or make poor nutrition choices because of a rollercoaster of blood spikes and crashes.

  • Stress

Stress chemicals, cortisol and adrenaline are released in response to stress, anxiety and the ‘fight or flight’ mode.  This leads to poor digestion, sugar spikes and cravings that are linked to chemical imbalances.  Giving in to these cravings is not due to a lack of willpower, rather the chemical cravings that modern stresses can create.

  • Marketing

The food industry has changed over the years, with enticing marketing, blurring decision making around ‘healthy’ food choices!  Food is now available 24 hours a day and fast food can easily be collected from a drive through window or delivered directly to your door!


The great news is that even if you have been eating the same way for many years, it is never too late to change your eating habits and patterns.

6 Tips to Improve your diet and eating patterns

1. Balance your blood sugar to avoid peaks and crashes.

High sugar intake increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, weight gain, and tooth decay and cavities.

As your blood sugar level increases, your body releases insulin, which is a hormone responsible for storing excess sugar (glucose) from the blood. If this glucose is not used for energy, your body will store it as fat.

Read this blog for 7 tips to balance your blood sugar during the day.

1.	Balance your blood sugar to avoid peaks and crashes.

2. Focus on variety

A balanced diet consists of a variety of foods, with foods from all food groups, including protein, grains, dairy, and fruits and vegetables.

The body and brain will not function optimally if they do not get enough of a certain macronutrient group, such as carbohydrates or fats.

Eating a varied and balanced diet can help you look and feel your best.  Aim for a colourful plate of rainbow foods and experiment with different ingredients.

Improve your diet and eating pattern by Focusing on variety

3. Minimise your salt intake

Salt is added to many store bought sauces, soups, marinated meats and processed foods.  Avoid adding additional salt to the food you eat wherever possible.

Adults should try not to consume more than 6 grams of salt in a day. This is the equivalent of around 1 teaspoon of salt. This includes the salt that is already in the food you are eating as well as any additional salt you add to the food on your plate.

3.	Minimise your salt intake

4. Cook from scratch

Cooking your food from scratch empowers you to know what you are eating. You can be confident there is no hidden salt, sugar or additives in your food.

Enjoying the process of preparing your food with fresh ingredients helps you to build a good relationship with the food that you are eating and encourages you to eating mindfully.

Find out more about mindful eating in this blog post!

4.	Cook from scratch

5. Hydrate throughout the day

Water is essential for every physiological function in your body and is important for optimal health.

There are many benefits to staying hydrated, such as weight loss/management, decreased hunger, lower stress levels, improved kidney liver & heart function as well as decreased ‘bad breath’ smell and taste.

Drinking enough water can help with weight management and overall health. Drinking plenty of water can prevent dehydration and the many symptoms of it.

I love this waterbottle with motivational messaging to inspire me to drink water throughout the day!


5.	Hydrate throughout the day

6. Read food labels

With the marketing on foods, such as ‘high in protein’, ‘low in fat’, ‘source of fibre’, we can reach for particular foods thinking that we are choosing something healthy, when the reality is that what the food actually contains isn’t what we think it is.

Reading food labels can give you insight into how healthy different food is. The fine print on food labels can tell you important nutritional information about the food you are about to eat.

A few of the things to look out for include:

  • Saturated fat
  • Salt content
  • Recommended portion size

Being aware of portion sizes can help manage your weight and can help encourage appropriate consumption

6.	Read food labels

Choose your food wisely, be kind to yourself and enjoy your eating experience! Here are 13 tips for healthy eating on a budget to help inspire you to eat well despite the rising cost of living. 

Download Hutton Health's free Meal Planner to help you improve your eating habits and patterns. There are many benefits to meal planning. Find out how to start meal planning in this blog!

Invest in your health. You are your most valuable asset.

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