When it comes to healthy eating, most people already know the basics: eat more fruit and veggies; consume more fish, less red meat; avoid junk food and sugary drinks; and so on. But did you know that there are other things you can do to further improve your eating habits?

Healthy eating is not just about what you eat, but how you eat food. It’s also about making a few changes — practicing small habits that actually have a big impact on your overall health and lifestyle. Today’s article discusses 10 simple eating habits that could change your life:

1. Eat slowly, chew thoroughly.

No matter how much (or how little) you eat, it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to realize that your tummy is full. So if you eat too quickly, you could end up consuming much more than you really should. The key is to eat slowly and chew more thoroughly!

2. Eat your veggies first.

Eating vegetables before anything else — like carbohydrates — has been shown to have a good effect on blood sugar levels. By eating your “greens” first, the rate at which your body absorbs carbohydrates slows down, which consequently benefits your blood sugar levels.

3. Eat using smaller plates.

Think about it: when you eat from a large plate, your food portion looks small, so you tend to add more. On the other hand, if you eat from a small plate, your food portion looks big, so you wouldn’t be tempted to add more! It’s all about perspective — a trick on the brain — if you will. By using a smaller plate, you can trick yourself into eating just the right amount!

4. Drink enough water.

You’ve heard it before, but we’ll say it again: drink enough water. Water is known to have many benefits: reduction of appetite (if taken before meals), lessened calorie intake, weight loss, weight maintenance, and more. What’s more, it can help reduce your sugar intake.

5. Eating fruit is better than drinking fruit juices.

Most fruit juices today contain too much sugar and flavored concentrates. A much better option would be to simply eat the fruit as it is. You could make juice out of fresh fruit; however, the act of chewing the fruit — pulp, fiber, and all — is generally healthier.

6. Make a list before shopping.

When you go shopping without a list, you are likely to be more tempted to buy more items, including those that are not healthy or good for you. Having a list helps you to focus more on what you really need; plus, it can help you stick to your budget and avoid impulse buying!

7. Avoid “diet” foods.

You might have seen food items labeled as “low calorie” or “low fat.” The problem is that in order to compensate for the “lost flavor,” some of these products actually contain more sugar and other ingredients. So you end up consuming more sugar than if you eat the original!

8. Baking is better than frying.

Frying meat or fish has been known to form compounds that are associated with cancer and heart disease. The same goes for grilling and deep frying. A better way to cook meat or fish would be baking, broiling, stewing, poaching, and pressure cooking.

9. Eat more home-cooked food.

When you’re busy, eating out or buying precooked meals seems easier. However, you can never know how much sugar or other ingredients are added to your food! The better option would be to cook food at home. This way, you can make sure that you use just the right amount of ingredients; plus, you can save more money!

10. Choose a “healthier” restaurant.

If you decide to eat out, choose a “healthy” restaurant over the more popular fast food chains. There are many restaurants offering food that is not only healthier, but affordable, too!

By keeping these habits in mind, and by including them in your daily routine, you will eventually find yourself making better food choices. As simple as they may seem, these habits can go a long way toward improving your health and changing your lifestyle.