Most people start off the New Year with plans to better themselves in the months to come—which is great! If one of your goals for this year is to start eating healthier, we have a few tips on how to come up with a healthy eating plan and some advice on how to stick to it.
Learn your proper portions
One of the biggest obstacles to eating healthy is not understanding how much of each food type you should eat during your daily meals. Take some time to study up on what the right proportions of meat to veggies to grains should be, and do your best to follow them accordingly. Websites like Choose MyPlate are awesome resources to help you understand what portions you should put on your plate for a balanced diet.
Choose healthy alternatives for the foods you love
One of the easiest ways to enjoy your favorite foods while still kicking your diet into full gear is to replace traditionally unhealthy ingredients with a healthier version. Enjoy your peanut butter and banana sandwich on a slice of whole wheat bread instead of white bread and replace the white rice in your favorite stir-fry with brown rice or even riced cauliflower. The healthier versions of your favorite foods might taste a little strange at first, but after the first month or so you’ll be so used to the familiar flavors that you won’t have the urge to go back to the unhealthy alternative.
Identify your unhealthy habits
If you like to end your evening by eating a half a bag of chips and a bowl of ice cream at 11 p.m., you probably don’t have to be told that it’s not the healthiest of habits. As you go about your day, think about any food habits that you may have formed that are not ideal for your overall health (like skipping breakfast on weekdays when you’re in a rush). By being conscious of your bad habits, it makes it easier to change them for the future with a new healthy habit instead.
Ditch the processed food
No matter what your diet currently looks like, chances are you can improve your overall health and make better choices by avoiding processed foods in favor of fresh substitutes. Rather than snacking on a candy bar after dinner, try some sweet dried mango. Have a chicken nugget addiction? Make your own baked variety at home by breading chicken cutlets with whole-wheat Panko crumbs. Shopping at your local farmers market or health food store is a great way to stick to this plan, as there’s less junk generally available to help you resist temptation.
Eating healthier and being smart about regulating your diet doesn’t come easy, but by following these steps, you can ease your way into cleaner eating and have more success in the long run.