Life long change starts with small decisions.
Becoming healthier looks different for each person based on their individual needs and goals. You don’t need to work out constantly, be on an extreme diet, or do a 180 on your current habits (unless your doctor highly recommends it). For most people, they find lasting success in making small changes over time. If you’re not sure where to start but want to begin taking the steps to improve your diet, check out these 10 simple ways to eat healthier.
These tips are tried and true! My husband and I were able to make drastic changes to our bodies and lifestyle by following these go-to things. Scroll to the bottom if you want to see our progress pictures.
1. Re-Imagine your plate
The common American meal has meat as the main course, a veggie or two on one side, and a heap of carbs on the other. One simple way to improve your diet is to re-imagine your plate. Make vegetables your main course, healthy carbs as a side, and meat as the other side.
Meat is calorie dense and often contains added salt, chemicals, and raises your cholesterol. It also lacks much needed antioxidants, phytonutrients, vitamins, and minerals that plants have. These are essential for fueling and healing the body. Cutting the amount of meat on your plate will eliminate some excess calories and make room for more vegetables.
Vegetables are loaded with the nutrients to nourish you. If you hope to also lose weight this is a great way to decrease excess calories. You can eat as many vegetables as you want and never worry about calories because they’re mostly water. Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be bland either. Check out the recipes section for inspiration.
2. Don’t keep temptation in the house
Plain and simple: if it’s there you’re going to eat it. Why test your will power by keeping your favorite goodies just a few feet away. By only keeping healthy food available you’ll be more likely to reach for better options. This has been so helpful in my own journey! It’s forced me to curve my sweet tooth with healthier treats such as a Homemade Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup.
When you do get that serious craving that you can’t stop thinking about—go get it. Make this the exception not the rule. But sometimes just the effort of getting out of the house to get that thing is enough for you to reconsider and decide you’d rather stay home and eat an apple ?
3. Find alternatives to your favorites
I can’t stress this enough! Eating healthier is not a fad-diet. It’s about establishing better habits and gaining an understanding that quality food can be your answered prayer for health. That being said, you’re still going to want to enjoy some of your favorite less-than-healthy foods so having better versions is so helpful! I often share alternative ideas on instagram @brittbehealthy.
Check out these Sweet Tooth Swaps: Healthier Candy Alternatives.
4. Meal plan before grocery shopping
Before heading to the store, come up with a general plan of what meals you want to eat that week. Then build your grocery list around that. Set yourself up for success by stocking your kitchen with the ingredients you need for healthy meals. When you get hungry you won’t waste time standing in front of your open fridge or staring at your cabinets. You’ll know what you want to eat and you know you have the stuff.
Bonus: When I do this, I notice I save more money at the grocery store because I’m not walking the aisles just adding whatever I want in the cart.
5. Pre-cut your veggies and fruits
Some people meal prep by making their weeks food at one time but that can be difficult to maintain long term. A simple way to semi-meal prep is to pre-cut your veggies and fruits. When you have these things prepared you’re able to easily toss them into salads, eat them as a snack, and whip up many different meals. I suggest saving food in glass containers in the fridge to maintain freshness for longer.
6. Ask yourself, can this be healthier?
Make this a habit to ask yourself, “can this be healthier?” when you’re making meals or even baking. Some super simple and nutritious ways to enhance your food is by adding chia seeds, hemp seeds, and flax seeds. These three types of seeds have no flavor but provide a quality source of fiber, protein, and omega-3’s and omega-6’s (good fat). You can toss them in a smoothie, on a salad, in banana bread, oatmeal cookies, the list goes on. If you can add more vegetables or fruits to your diet the better! Salads, smoothies and stir fries are easy ways to add more.
7. Track your meals
Tracking your meals in an app, on your phone notes, or written in a journal is a great way to become aware of what you put in your body. This isn’t counting calories. Just jot down the foods and ingredients you ate. You may start to notice you eat more junk food when you’re bored or emotional, or a connection between consuming dairy and getting a horrible stomach ache. By paying attention, you can tailor your eating habits to better serve you. If you have a goal to eat healthier, this helps to also hold you accountable. You can see your progress as your diet starts to improve.
8. Prep for social events
It’s so easy to throw your healthy diet out the window when you’re at a party or sitting at a restaurant with a plethora of mouthwatering options, so you have to be prepared. If you have plans to go to a party where food will be present offer to bring a dish! This not only is thoughtful but also gives you the opportunity to bring something you know you enjoy and can eat.
9. Don’t tell yourself you CAN’T have something.
I’m sure you’ve experienced this, but if you tell yourself you can’t have something you want it even more. It’s psychology. As I’ve said before this is also a lifestyle. You’re creating life-long habits and if you want to stay on track with your goals you have to be able to let loose sometimes. I particularly live by this motto with celebrations. If there is birthday cake present.. I will have a slice. If my mom made my favorite ginger snap cookies for the holidays, I’m going to enjoy one or two. The key is to savor that thing and then make a healthier decision next time.
10. Slow and steady
Slow and steady wins the race. In some cases, extremely changing your diet and lifestyle is warranted. For most people though, it’s realistic to understand that change doesn’t happen overnight. Every meal, every day, and every little choice you make for your health and wellbeing will add up. Start with putting these 10 simples ways to eat healthier into action and go from there.
My personal experience
Y’all, I eagerly share these tips because I know they work!! Not only did my schooling for my Holistic Nutritionist certification reinforce this advice, but my personal experience shows it. My husband and I did not have big weight loss goals, we just wanted to become healthier. Whenever we tried to make drastic changes (Whole30, constant excercise, etc) we couldn’t commit and felt discouraged. It wasn’t until we did these 10 simple ways to eat healthier (over the course of four years) that we saw changes. Our brain fog went away, our sleep improved, our energy increased, and naturally weight came off.
Again, every body has a different definition of what it means for them to be healthier, but if you want a place to start, I highly recommend these.