Eating healthy and losing weight doesn’t have to be complicated. By following these 12 simple strategies, you can streamline your approach to nutrition and make better choices each day. Before long, you will be on your way to achieving your health and weight loss goals. Don’t let complicated diet plans deter you. There are easy, practical ways to eat better without completely overhauling your routine.
1. Plan Out Weekly Meals
One of the biggest barriers to healthy eating is failing to plan ahead. Designate a time each week to map out your meals and snacks for the days ahead. Planning what you will eat reduces the chance that you will make a last-minute, unhealthy decision when hunger strikes. You can make a meal plan on paper or use an app to organize and save your plans week after week. Getting the family involved can also help streamline the planning process.
2. Stock Up on Nutritious Staples
Having healthy ingredients on hand makes following through with wholesome meals much easier. Some staple items to keep stocked include fresh or frozen fruits and veggies, lean protein sources like chicken and fish, whole grains, beans and lentils, nuts and seeds, and low-fat dairy. Check your kitchen before you go grocery shopping to take stock of what needs to be replaced for the week ahead. Buying in bulk for certain items can save you money in the long term.
3. Learn Better Cooking Methods
The way you prepare food can add extra calories, fat, and sodium or strip away nutrients. Practice healthier cooking techniques like grilling, roasting, baking, steaming, sautéing, and pressure cooking. Try to avoid frying. Taking a healthy cooking class can expand your knowledge, and investing in some quality cookware can make healthy prep easier.
4. Control Your Portion Sizes
Understanding appropriate serving sizes and monitoring how much you eat prevents overconsumption. So, use smaller plates, weigh and measure your portions, and don’t take seconds without considering if you are still truly hungry. Be mindful of portion sizes when you are dining out, as restaurants tend to serve very large servings. Distracting yourself between bites puts the brakes on mindless eating.
5. Minimize Added Sugar
Sugary drinks, sweets, and desserts pack a lot of extra calories and lead to weight gain over time. Limit foods with added sugars and instead reach for more natural alternatives to satisfy your sweet tooth, like fruit. Check all food labels for clues on added sugar content. If you are baking, cut the amount of sugar called for in recipes by a third.
6. Stock Up on Healthier Snacks
Hunger leads to poor impulse snacking decisions if unhealthy options are most convenient. Keep your kitchen, office, and bags stocked with smarter choices like nuts, cut-up veggies, yogurt, and hummus for when cravings strike. Mix up the snacks you have on hand to add variety. Portion your snacks into single servings that you can grab whenever you are hungry.
7. Make Better Breakfast Choices
Starting the day with a well-balanced morning meal leads to better eating all day long. Quick go-to options include oatmeal topped with fruit, Greek yogurt with nuts and berries, veggie-packed scrambled eggs, or whole grain toast with natural nut butter. Wake up 15 minutes earlier to have time to prepare a smart breakfast. Stock whole grain cereals and breads to build a fast morning meal.
8. Practice Mindful Eating Habits
Slow down and savor your meals without distractions to better tune into your body’s hunger and fullness signals. This prevents overeating and empowers you to stop when satisfied. Set the table and chew slowly to pace yourself while eating. Pause halfway through the meal to check if you are full.
9. Stay Hydrated
Thirst is often mistaken for hunger, leading to unnecessary extra calories. Carry a BPA-free water bottle and sip all day to stay satiated between meals. Sparkling water, unsweetened teas, juices diluted with water, and coconut water also fit the bill. Infuse your water with fresh fruit for a dose of flavor. Choose water-rich fruits and vegetables like melon, oranges, tomatoes, and celery.
10. Load Up at Lunch
Don’t skip meals and wait until dinner when you are ravenous. Making lunch the biggest, most nutritious meal curbs overeating later in the day. Include fiber-rich carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats for lasting energy. Cook extra vegetables or grains at dinner for quick leftover lunches the next day. Portion them into containers and refrigerate or freeze for grab-and-go convenience.
11. Give in to Cravings – In Moderation
Trying to ignore your cravings completely backfires for most people, leading to binge eating later. The 80/20 rule allows you to enjoy treats 20% of the time as long as you stick with healthy choices 80% of the time. Eat sweets slowly and mindfully to satisfy your cravings with smaller portions. Keep healthier sweet swaps like fruit, Greek yogurt, and dark chocolate around.
12. Consider Taking Supplements
While food should always come first, quality supplements can help fill in nutritional gaps that lead to overeating. For instance, multivitamins ensure adequate vitamin and mineral status. And supplements like glucomannan fiber pills and chromium picolinate can specifically target appetite control and blood sugar regulation. A thermogenic fat burner in pill form can also kickstart your weight loss journey. Just make sure to research the safety and efficacy of any supplements you are considering taking, and consult your doctor, especially for preexisting health conditions. Start with foundational supplements like a multivitamin or probiotic.
The Bottom Line
Juggling work, family, and other demands makes both losing weight and sticking with a healthy diet challenging for most people. But putting just a few of these simple, realistic strategies into practice takes the complicated factor out of the equation. Before you know it, wholesome eating and improved health become much more manageable and sustainable. Don’t let setbacks derail your progress. With commitment and consistency, healthy habits will take hold over time and you will be able to reach your weight loss goals.
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