11 Simple Ways To Stick To A Healthy Eating Basics

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By Cecilia Snyder, MS, RD — Medically reviewed by Jerlyn Jones, MS MPA RDN LD CLT, Nutrition — Updated on December 1, 2021

In today’s dynamic và fast-paced world, sticking to a healthy diet is sometimes easier said than done. Most of us know the feeling.

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For starters, just sifting through the array of healthy diets khổng lồ figure out which one is best for you can be a challenge.

But even after you’ve picked out a meal plan or eating pattern, maintaining that healthy diet day in & day out has its fair tóm tắt of difficulties.

The good news is, no matter how tough it might feel some days, sticking to lớn a healthy diet is possible, and it doesn’t even mean that you have lớn give up your favorite foods.

There are tons of tips và tricks that make eating healthy easier, và most of them are simple & free.

Here are 11 of our favorite ways khổng lồ stick lớn a healthy diet.


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The word “diet” can mean different things. It can either refer to short-term dietary changes that are usually dedicated to weight loss or another purpose (e.g., following the keto diet), or to lớn a person’s or community’s typical way of eating.

In this article, we’re focusing mostly on the second application of diet — a sustainable eating pattern that reflects habitual food choices.


1. Eat a diet rich in whole foods
There are many ways to follow a healthy diet, and no two nutritious diets look exactly the same.

Still, most successful, long-term healthy diets have at least one thing in common: They’re rich in whole foods.

Whole foods are those that have been minimally processed, such as:

fruitsvegetableslegumeswhole grainsnuts & seedseggs and dairyfresh animal proteins

Shakes, supplements, và fad diets might seem useful on the surface, but time & time again, whole-foods diets have been linked to lớn better health outcomes all around the world.

Whole foods are high in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that tư vấn a healthy gut & reduce the risk of chronic diseases lượt thích obesity và diabetes (1, 2, 3, 4).

On the contrary, ultra-processed foods lượt thích chips, candy, and sodas are more likely lớn promote inflammation and encourage chronic diseases (3, 5, 6, 7).

SUMMARY

Healthy diets come in all shapes & sizes, but most of them are centered on nutrient-dense, whole foods lượt thích fruits, vegetables, grains, & protein.


One of the most important questions to ask yourself when starting a healthy diet is, “Can I keep this up long term?”

If the answer khổng lồ that question is no, you could be embarking on a crash diet.

Crash diets usually rely on extreme calorie restriction to obtain fast weight loss results (8, 9).

But here’s the thing about crash diets — actually, the thing about diets in general, from keto to lớn Atkins và everything in between — the results usually don’t last in the long run. Over time, most people who diet regain the weight they’ve lost (10, 11, 12).

Interestingly, one diet that has held up khổng lồ the kiểm tra of time is the Mediterranean diet — & it’s rich in whole foods (10).

Thus, when it comes to sticking with a healthy diet, try to resist the urge khổng lồ focus too much on weight loss.

Oftentimes, the healthy habits you instill by eating a nutritious diet over up being more important in the long run than how much weight you’ve lost in a short period of time.

SUMMARY

Crash dieting might help you thua kém weight quickly, but that’s not always healthy. Plus, there’s no guarantee the results will last.


Simply put, adopting a healthy diet can be intimidating & challenging.

There are so many diets lớn choose from, you may feel like you don’t even really know where to start. It seems lượt thích everyone under the sun has an opinion on what you should và shouldn’t eat.

The good news is you aren’t alone on this journey.

Many trained professionals can help you figure out the best path for you (12).

A registered dietitian can help you navigate meal plans, food groups, your daily nutrient needs, & safe diets for specific conditions and diseases.

A behavior change specialist, such as a psychologist, can help you break old habits và form new ones.

SUMMARY

Working with a trained professional provides a tư vấn system to lớn lean on. It likewise ensures you’re getting accurate and up-to-date information about healthy eating, as well as how to best stick with it.


It’s not uncommon khổng lồ hear about diets described as being the “best” or “healthiest.”

Yet, no one diet works best for everyone.

We each live in a unique set of circumstances influenced by genetics, our health, work schedules, family, cultural traditions, and more.

No single diet can perfectly account or accommodate for so many individual factors.

In the end, the “best” healthy diet for you is the one that makes you feel your best and that you can stick with for the long haul.

SUMMARY

Sticking lớn a healthy diet means finding a way of eating that is not only nutritious but also that you find enjoyable, sustainable, và conducive to your personal circumstances.


In recent years, researchers have found that people around the world are eating more ultra-processed foods than ever before (13, 14, 15, 16).

Ultra-processed foods are those that have been made by industrial processing. They tend to lớn contain additives like sweeteners, thickeners, stabilizers, & other ingredients that make the foods last longer and taste better (5).

Some examples of ultra-processed foods include fast food, frozen dinners, và sugar-sweetened juices và sodas.

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Not only are ultra-processed foods tempting due khổng lồ their flavors, but even being in the presence of these types of foods can affect brain chemistry và behavior (17, 18, 19, 20).

You can help avoid the temptation khổng lồ eat these foods by keeping them out of your house, limiting your access khổng lồ them at trang chủ (21, 22).

On the other hand, keeping your fridge và pantry stocked with nutrient-dense, whole foods is a great way lớn keep your healthy diet in mind and encourage yourself to lớn have those nutritious foods more often.

SUMMARY

Surrounding yourself with the foods you want to lớn eat & learn khổng lồ love, rather than the ones you’re trying khổng lồ avoid, increases your chance of success.


Often, it’s the moments when we find ourselves feeling extra hungry & tempted with a tasty treat that we forget about the healthy eating plans we had in mind for the day.

Though craving foods from time to time is completely normal, researchers have found that in moments of extreme hunger, our cravings tend lớn get even stronger (23).

Keeping nutritious & filling snacks on hand is a great way lớn keep cravings at bay until your next full meal.

Snacks that are high in protein and fiber can help keep you feeling full (24, 25, 26, 27).

Some examples are:

fresh fruits and veggiesyogurtpopcornmixed nuts and nut buttershummus or roasted chickpeaswhole grain crackersSUMMARY

Staying prepared by keeping nutritious và filling snacks on hand reduces the chance of straying from your healthy diet when hunger strikes.


Have you ever felt like there’s one food you just can’t live without? Fortunately, you don’t have to!

Depriving yourself of the foods you love and crave can actually kết thúc up backfiring.

In the short term, it tends to lớn make your cravings for those foods even stronger, especially for people who are more susceptible to food cravings in general (28, 29).

Some research has even found that feeling satisfied rather than deprived while dieting is linked to lớn a higher rate of weight loss (30).

Rather than completely giving up the less nutritious foods that you love, try having them only occasionally while practicing portion control.

SUMMARY

It’s true that with moderation and portion control, there is room for all foods in a healthy diet — even those that might seem like they couldn’t have a place.


A common barrier people encounter while working toward improving their diets is falling into an all-or-nothing mindset.

An all-or-nothing thought might sound something lượt thích this: “Well, I’ve already ruined my diet for the day by having that piece of cake at the office các buổi tiệc nhỏ earlier, so I might as well forget my plans khổng lồ cook at trang chủ tonight và grab takeout instead.”

These types of thoughts usually look at situations in black and white, or as “good” và “bad.”

Instead, try khổng lồ look at each individual food choice you make during a day as its own. One less-than-ideal choice doesn’t have lớn snowball into a full day’s worth of similar choices.

In fact, having high self-esteem & confidence in your ability to lớn make healthy choices tends to be associated with better health outcomes, so don’t let one small stumble bring you down (31, 32).

SUMMARY

Instead of letting all-or-nothing thoughts convince you that anything less than perfection is a failure, view each new choice you make about your diet as a clean new slate.


For many people, potlucks, happy hour, và dining out are something to lớn look forward to. But for someone struggling lớn stick khổng lồ a new or healthy diet, they can feel like another hurdle lớn overcome.

Restaurant meals tend khổng lồ be higher in calories, sodium, sugar, fat, và ultra-processed foods than meals cooked at home, and they often come in large serving sizes (33, 34).

Plus, in social settings, our own food choices are heavily influenced by the choices of the people around us (35, 36, 37).

Simply put, it’s easy khổng lồ overdo it when eating out, and maintaining a healthy diet while eating out can be very challenging.

Still, there are ways khổng lồ make it easier. Having a strategy in mind before you get lớn a restaurant or gathering can go a long way toward easing your mind và helping you feel prepared to lớn navigate eating out.

Here are a few of our favorite tips for eating out:

Research the menu before you go.Stay hydrated during the meal.Order your meal first.Take your time và savor your meal.SUMMARY

Planning ahead for eating out is a great way khổng lồ ease any stress or uncertainty you might feel about how you’ll stick to lớn your healthy diet at a restaurant or event.


Self-monitoring is an easy và effective way lớn keep track of your progress on your own (38, 39).

It can be as simple as keeping a journal of the foods you eat each day or as detailed as using a điện thoại cảm ứng thông minh or web-based ứng dụng that tracks the details of your daily calorie intake, weight, activity levels, và more.

When self-monitoring your progress, remember that weight loss và gain are not the only ways khổng lồ measure how far you’ve come. In some cases, they might not be the best way to lớn measure progress either.

People choose to follow healthy diets for all types of different reasons. For example, you might choose khổng lồ focus on how your dietary changes have affected your physical or mental health, rather than how much weight you’ve lost.

Some other questions to lớn ask yourself to help measure whether your healthier diet is working are:

Am I full and satisfied?Do I enjoy what I eat?Could I keep eating this way forever?How many healthy choices did I make today?How confident vày I feel about my diet?Have I noticed any changes to my physical health?Have I noticed any changes khổng lồ my mental health?SUMMARY

Measure your progress lớn assess whether your efforts are having their intended consequences. But tracking doesn’t have to lớn mean logging every calorie in an app! Checking in with your toàn thân can be enough to help you stick lớn a nutritious diet.


Sticking to lớn a healthier diet is a marathon, not a sprint.

Learning the best diet for yourself takes trial and error, and some days will be easier than others, so try not to feel discouraged if it takes longer than you’d lượt thích for your new habits khổng lồ set in.

As long as you mix realistic expectations for yourself, remain committed, và continue lớn reevaluate your progress, your diet is likely to keep moving in a positive direction.

SUMMARY

Forming new habits of any type takes time, và healthy diets are no different. When you’re feeling frustrated, try practicing self-kindness and refocusing on your long-term goals.