Healthy eating is not about strict nutrition philosophies, staying unrealistically thin, or depriving yourself of the foods you love. Rather, it’s about feeling great, having more energy, stabilizing your mood, and keeping yourself as healthy as possible. You can do it by learning some nutrition basics and making a plan that works for you.
Set Yourself Up for Success
To set yourself up for success, think about planning a healthy diet as a number of small, manageable steps rather than one big drastic change. If you approach the changes gradually and with commitment, you will have a healthy diet sooner than you think.
- Simplify – instead of being overly concerned with counting calories or measuring portion sizes, think of your diet in terms of color, variety, and freshness.
- Start Slow – changing your diet overnight isn’t realistic or smart and usually leads to cheating or giving up on your new eating plan.
- Every Change Matters – every healthy food choice you make counts. Your long-term goal is to feel good, have more energy, and reduce the risk of cancer and disease, so don’t let missteps discourage you.
Everything in Moderation
Healthy eating is not an all or nothing proposition. The key to any healthy diet is moderation. The goal of healthy eating is to develop a diet that you can maintain for life, not just a few weeks or months, or until you’ve hit your ideal weight. So think of moderation in terms of balance. Despite what certain fad diets would have you believe, we all need a balance of carbohydrates, protein, fat, fiber, vitamins, and minerals to sustain a healthy body.
- Avoid Banning – when you ban certain foods or food groups, it is natural to want those foods more, and then feel like a failure if you give in to temptation. If you are drawn towards sweet, salty, or unhealthy foods, start by reducing portion sizes and not eating them as often.
- Smaller Portions – serving sizes have ballooned recently, particularly in restaurants. When dining out, choose a starter instead of an entree, split a dish with a friend, and don’t order supersized anything. At home, use smaller plates, think about serving sizes in realistic terms, and start small.