Keys to Eating Healthy

Plan ahead and know your dietary weaknesses.
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If you’re not truly prepared to eat healthy, you’re likely to easily cave in when you see the doughnut box. And even when you’re ready, following a healthy diet still isn’t simple. The keys to eating healthy don’t involve eating the same 10 foods all the time or avoiding all food with carbs. Instead, the best healthy eating tips encourage you to look at the bigger picture -- finding foods that not only satisfy your appetite, but also your nutritional needs.

Identify Your Weaknesses

If you find that you keep falling back into your unhealthy eating habits, take note of the circumstances -- whether you jot down notes in a food diary or text yourself whenever you make a dietary choice that is less than healthful. Make note of the type and amount of food you eat, along with the emotions you’re feeling at the time and the events surrounding the unexpected snacking. Look for patterns. You might find that you always reach for chocolate when you’re feeling sad or that you just can’t resist the fried foods during girls’ night out. Identifying your weaknesses will help you develop techniques to overcome them.

Plan Ahead

“Fitness” magazine suggests that the major key to eating healthy and losing weight revolves around one simple idea -- planning. Although planning your meals and snacks might sound as appealing as scrubbing the bathroom floor, it helps ensure you have healthy choices readily available once your tummy starts grumbling. Set a healthy breakfast out on the countertop or store it in the fridge before you go to bed. Pack your lunch at night as well -- and remember to grab it before you rush out the door. Keep healthy snacks in your purse or at the office to ward off vending machine vibes. Dinner can be a bit more difficult to plan. At the very least, stock up on healthy ingredients at home and compile a list of recipes you plan to make for the week. If you’re extra prepared, you might even throw dinner in the slow cooker before you head out the door in the morning.

Memorize My Plate

Rather than relying on the old My Pyramid standard, take a look at the new guidelines. The United States Department of Agriculture now recommends My Plate as a healthy eating tool. Memorize the major guidelines to keep you on track throughout the day. Make sure at least half the grains you consume are whole grains and choose lean meats over fatty ones. Eat a variety of veggies and fruit and fill half your plate with them at every meal. And don’t forget your servings of dairy -- it contains a variety of nutrients, such as calcium, which keeps your bones and teeth happy and healthy.

Re-Think your Drink

Healthy eating involves more than just the foods you chew -- many of those drinks you guzzle have a lot of sugar and a hefty number of calories. Although low-fat milk might deserve a priority place in your diet, most other calorie-rich beverages should probably get the boot. Try to substitute fresh fruit for sugar-filled fruit juices and definitely ditch the sodas and milkshakes. Instead, reach for water or herbal tea to quench your thirst. A few cups of coffee and the occasional glass of wine probably won’t hurt.

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