10 Ways to Start Eating Healthy and Make It Stick for the Long Term (2022)

One of the most important things that you can do to maintain your optimal health is to eat a balanced and nutritious diet. Doing so helps adults stave off chronic conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, and allows those who are already chronically ill to manage their diseases. But what exactly is "healthy eating"? It can look different for everyone, but the ultimate goal is to establish a pattern of taking in foods and drinks that supply you with the necessary nutrients to keep up your overall health. So how can you start eating healthily—and make it stick for the long term? Here are the best strategies for doing just that, according to experts.

10 Ways to Start Eating Healthy and Make It Stick for the Long Term (1)

Chances are that you're not going to know everything about healthy eating when you're just starting out on your dietary journey. There's a lot to know, after all. To that end, registered dietitian Trista Best advises you to start slow. "One approach is to try a new vegetable each week," she tells Health. "Pick a vegetable you've never tried before and research a new recipe to integrate it into a meal. If you do this each week, or even just once a month, you'll end the year with several new healthy foods and recipes you didn't know you liked before." And that's a surefire way to eat healthily in a manner that won't overwhelm you.

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Log Your Intake

If you go about your day thoughtlessly noshing on whatever you want, or if you don't plan your meals before eating them, you might find that you're eating less healthfully than you intend to. You also may not be taking in your desired amount of certain foods. One way to be more mindful, according to registered dietitian Lisa DeFazio, is to put your pen to paper. "Write down your reasons for wanting to eat healthily (lose weight, lower cholesterol, increase energy, improve moods, etc.), and read your list every day," she tells Health. "Track your intake with an app like MyFitnessPal to make sure you are getting all the nutrition you need." Indeed, you might be surprised what you learn when you take the time to really record what you're eating. As for figuring out what your ideal intake is in the first place, talk to your doctor or get a referral to a dietitian. You can also get a primer from the US Department of Agriculture's MyPlate Plan, which is a personalized food plan for your age, sex, height, weight, and physical activity level that shows what and how much to eat.

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Pre-made foods can be super convenient, especially when you're juggling work, family, and other obligations. But as per registered dietitian Summer Yule, ultra-processed foods make it tough to control your food intake due to multiple portions in one package or excessive not-so-healthful ingredients. "Ultra-processed foods are highly processed and designed in such a way that they're very easy to overeat," she tells Health. "Some examples include store-bought cookies, sugary breakfast cereals, frozen corn dogs, and similar convenience foods. These foods are often high in added sugar, white flour, and/or added oils, providing relatively few vitamins and minerals but a lot of calories." So instead, make your default whole foods and meals that you prepare yourself. That way, not only will you eat more healthful foods, but you'll also be more likely to eat the amount you intended since whole foods can fill you up faster than processed foods. And a note, this suggestion of eating fewer ultra-processed foods doesn't include items like chopped and frozen veggies, canned beans, or shelled pistachios—while they have been processed, they're still whole foods.

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Eat More Plants

The benefits of adopting a plant-based diet—like vegetarianism or veganism—are well-documented. For example, research in the Journal of Nutrition has shown that vegetarians have higher levels of healthy fats, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory compounds in their bodies than non-vegetarians. This is "likely because [vegans] consume more produce and other whole, plant-based foods," as Health's nutrition editor Cynthia Sass, RD, previously reported. To that end, eating a more plant-based diet may be one way you can start eating healthier. Just be sure to be gentle with yourself if you try this approach, as you don't have to go full vegan or vegetarian to reap health benefits. In fact, the flexitarian diet, which is primarily a vegetarian diet but includes the occasional animal protein, was named one of the best diets of 2022. "Remember, it's not all or nothing. This perspective can be daunting and lead to failure," says Best. "Try making one of your favorite non-vegan meals vegan by changing some of the ingredients, like tofu tacos instead of beef." You may find that not only are you eating healthier with this approach but also that you're trying new foods.

Another way that you can start eating healthier is to think in terms of what's on your plate. There are certain foods that should play a large role in your diet at every meal, according to DeFazio. "Fruits and vegetables should be the foundation of your diet; half your plate should be vegetables," she says. Along with one serving of fruit at each mealtime, DeFazio recommends having lean protein on your plate. To get that protein at breakfast, aim for an ounce of nut butter, turkey bacon, cottage cheese, or an egg. Protein should be about a quarter of your plate during lunch and dinner; reach for three to four ounces of skinless chicken breast or fish. Pro-tip: If you're not sure what four ounces look like, it's about the size of a deck of cards.

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Make Sensible Swaps

While no foods are inherently good or evil, there are some that are best consumed in moderation. One of these foods is white flour, which is found in many baked goods and bread. Fortunately, Yule has a handy tip for moderating your white flour intake: Swap out a significant amount of it (or other simpler carbs) for whole grains or vegetable alternatives. For example, you can "use cauliflower rice instead of white rice, legume pasta instead of white flour pasta, or enjoy sandwich fillings in a lettuce wrap," she says. "These swaps help you eat more veggies and eat less white flour. It's a double-win!" You can also swap out mayonnaise for mustard, use spiralized veggie noodles for your pasta, and drink seltzer water instead of soda.

Looking for a way to eat healthily that doesn't involve counting calories or a restrictive mindset? If so, then volume eating may be right for you, as noted by Best. "Volume eating is a fascinating and relatively new concept to eating a balanced, nutrient-dense, low-calorie diet pattern without sacrificing hunger," she says, as stated in the International Journal of Obesity. "Essentially, the consumer eats large volumes of food that are low in calorie density." In fact, doing so has helped Best in her personal healthy eating journey, as it's helped her to reach her desired weight and improve her overall wellbeing. The approach has also been named one of the best diets for 2022.

Don't Ditch the Carbs and Fats

If there are two foods out there that have gotten a bad rap over the years, there's no question they would be carbohydrates and fats. Over time, the belief that these foods are "bad" for you has become prevalent. But that's just not the case, according to DeFazio. "You need carbohydrates at each meal for energy, as cutting carbs leads to binging and sugar cravings," she says. "Aim for about 1 cup of cooked starch per meal, such as oatmeal, rice, sweet potatoes, couscous, or pasta—whole grain whenever possible." She also suggests making sure you have a serving of healthy fats like nut butter, avocado, or olive oil at each meal. By making sure to consume healthy fats, you will decrease your risk of heart disease, hardening of the arteries, and stroke and also lower your blood pressure, triglycerides, and "bad" cholesterol. Your "good" cholesterol, on the other hand, will get a boost.

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If you're looking for ways to eat healthier, you also want to make sure you're drinking healthier, too. After all, drinking enough water—2.7 liters a day for women and 3.7 for men, on average—will help you regulate your temperature and process wastes, as well as protect your spine and joints, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. So make sure you're getting enough water each day. If you're not drinking enough water, you can start upping your amount by swapping out the soda and sugar-sweetened beverages in your diet for water, Yule suggests. Again, sugar-sweetened beverages aren't evil foods, but moderation in your intake is key. So when in doubt, reach for a glass of H2O.

Set Yourself up for Success

One of the reasons it can be difficult to start eating healthily is because it takes time and energy to do so. That's why convenient foods are so tempting, especially when you're swamped or low on energy. However, DeFazio has some great tips to set yourself up for healthy eating success. "Go to the market or order grocery delivery; you need a healthy-stocked fridge and pantry so you have healthy choices in the house," she says. "For meal prep, make big batches of rice and chicken or fish when you have time so you have dinner ready on busy days." DeFazio also suggests going the sheet pan meal prep route; essentially, you can prepare lean protein and vegetables beforehand and store them in the fridge, then throw them on a sheet pan and into the oven when you get home from work. All of these options will have you thanking your past self when you sit down to a healthy, delicious dinner on weeknights.

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FAQs

What are the 10 healthy eating tips to try and live by? ›

How do I eat healthy long-term? ›

"The healthiest of people fill their plate with nutrient-rich foods like whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean protein, dairy, and healthy fat, but they also allow for pleasure foods," says Goodson. "The key to a long, happy life is balance.

What are 10 things you can do to stay healthy? ›

Here are 20 practical health tips to help you start off towards healthy living in 2020.
  1. Eat a healthy diet.
  2. Consume less salt and sugar.
  3. Reduce intake of harmful fats.
  4. Avoid harmful use of alcohol.
  5. Don't smoke.
  6. Be active.
  7. Check your blood pressure regularly.
  8. Get tested.
31 Dec 2019

What are 10 healthy habits? ›

10 Healthy Habits of Fit People
  • Start off with a breakfast to FUEL your day. ...
  • Drink lots of water. ...
  • Set a deadline. ...
  • Don't leave your healthy-eating goals to chance. ...
  • Remain consistent. ...
  • Eat whole, real foods. ...
  • Fill your home with healthy, nourishing foods. ...
  • Take your workout with you.
4 Jun 2015

How do you stick to a healthy lifestyle? ›

Here are a few things you can do to help you stick to your diet plan and finally meet those goals:
  1. Don't have unrealistic expectations. Be realistic in your goals for creating a healthy lifestyle. ...
  2. Start small. Don't do too much at once. ...
  3. Meal prep. ...
  4. Carry healthy snacks. ...
  5. Commit to a plan you can love.

How do you stick to losing weight? ›

30 Ways to Stick to Your New Diet
  1. Start now.
  2. Don't fall victim to the 'fast and feast' cycle.
  3. Don't make rules; make choices.
  4. Refocus social gatherings away from food.
  5. Stop counting calories.
  6. Stop obsessing over what you 'can't have. '
  7. Eat the rainbow.
  8. Determine if 'cheat days' are working for or against you.
12 Dec 2019

What is the best food to keep long term? ›

Here is a list of foods that work well in long-term storage:
  • Rice.
  • Dried beans, lentils, or peas.
  • Protein bars, granola bars, or fruit bars.
  • Canned soups, fruit, and vegetables.
  • Peanut butter and jelly.
  • Coffee, tea, and hot chocolate.
  • Powdered drink mixes.
  • Nuts and dried fruits.
14 Sept 2021

What are 5 tips to eat and stay healthy? ›

Top tips
  • Eat a variety of food.
  • Cut back on salt.
  • Reduce use of certain fats and oil.
  • Limit sugar intake.
  • Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use.
26 Dec 2019

What are the 7 steps to having healthy eating habits? ›

7 steps to a heart-healthy diet
  1. Learn to barter (and plan ahead). ...
  2. Recognize portion distortion. ...
  3. Reduce your sodium (salt) intake. ...
  4. Choose more fruits and vegetables. ...
  5. Limit unhealthy fats. ...
  6. Select whole grains. ...
  7. Treat yourself regularly to avoid deprivation.
27 Feb 2019

What are 7 healthy eating tips in mind? ›

7 Healthy Eating Habits That Will Change the Way You Eat
  • Eat in moderation. Moderation really is the key to success. ...
  • Portion control. Portion size helps you eat in moderation and keeps you from overeating. ...
  • Listen to your body. ...
  • Don't skip meals. ...
  • Know your facts. ...
  • Drink water. ...
  • Don't beat yourself up!
2 Mar 2017

Why eating healthy is important? ›

A healthy diet is essential for good health and nutrition. It protects you against many chronic noncommunicable diseases, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. Eating a variety of foods and consuming less salt, sugars and saturated and industrially-produced trans-fats, are essential for healthy diet.

What are the 15 easy ways to be healthier? ›

22 Simple Ways to Get Healthier With Minimal Effort
  1. Fill Half of Your Plate With Non-Starchy Vegetables. ...
  2. Eat From a Smaller Plate and Bowl. ...
  3. Swap Refined Carbs for Whole, Unprocessed Carbs. ...
  4. Add Some Fruit to Your Morning Oats. ...
  5. Eat Fatty Fish Often. ...
  6. Consider Certain Supplements. ...
  7. Drink Green Tea. ...
  8. Have Your Coffee Black.
2 Oct 2017

What are the 10 good habits for students? ›

10 Habits of Successful Students
  • Get Organized. Making a plan for what you're going to do and when you're going to do it will make sure you're always ahead of the curve - literally.
  • Don't multitask. ...
  • Divide it up. ...
  • Sleep. ...
  • Set a schedule. ...
  • Take notes. ...
  • Study. ...
  • Manage your study space.

What are the 4 keys to a healthy lifestyle? ›

Experts widely consider exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and sleep crucial to healthy living. While these so-called “four pillars” of good health help keep your body running, they also do wonders for your emotional well-being.

What are the 4 steps to a healthy lifestyle? ›

4 Steps and More
  1. Brush and floss daily to keep your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease.
  2. Get a good night's rest. ...
  3. Enjoy regular family meals. ...
  4. Smile and laugh out loud several times a day. ...
  5. Meditate, pray, or otherwise find solace for at least 10-20 minutes each day.

What are 5 balanced diets? ›

The best way to eat for health is to choose a variety of foods from each of the 5 food groups every day:
  • vegetables and legumes (beans)
  • fruit.
  • grains and cereals.
  • lean meat, poultry, fish, eggs, legumes (beans) tofu, nuts, seeds.
  • milk, cheese, yoghurt or alternatives.

What is the first thing to do when you want to lose weight? ›

9 weight loss tips
  • Eat a high protein breakfast. ...
  • Limit sugary drinks and fruit juice. ...
  • Stay hydrated. ...
  • Choose weight-loss-friendly foods. ...
  • Eat more fiber. ...
  • Drink coffee or tea. ...
  • Base your diet on whole foods. ...
  • Eat slowly.

What is the secret to losing weight and keeping it off? ›

Be Active. Get daily physical activity. People who have lost weight and kept it off typically engage in 60—90 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity most days of the week while not exceeding calorie needs. This doesn't necessarily mean 60—90 minutes at one time.

What food can you keep for years? ›

15 Groceries That Can Keep for Years
  • Oats. This prolific cereal grain and staple of many American breakfast tables can last up to 30 years, according to the Utah State University Extension. ...
  • White rice. ...
  • Pasta. ...
  • Popcorn. ...
  • Dark chocolate. ...
  • Honey. ...
  • Powdered milk. ...
  • Dried beans.

What should I be eating everyday? ›

How to Eat a Healthy Diet
  • 6 to 8 servings of grains. ...
  • 2 to 4 servings of fruits and 4 to 6 servings of vegetables. ...
  • 2 to 3 servings of milk, yogurt, and cheese. ...
  • 2 to 3 servings of meat, poultry, fish, dry beans, eggs, and nuts. ...
  • Use fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.
20 May 2009

What is the healthiest breakfast to eat? ›

  1. Eggs. Eggs make a simple, nutritious breakfast choice. ...
  2. Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great option if you're looking for a quick breakfast. ...
  3. Coffee. Aside from water, coffee is the world's most popular beverage. ...
  4. Oatmeal. ...
  5. Chia seeds. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Cottage cheese. ...
  8. Whole wheat toast.

Which food we should eat daily? ›

Here are the top 15 foods you should be eating according to our experts:
  • Fish. ...
  • Broccoli or any of the cruciferous vegetables. ...
  • Beets. ...
  • Spinach and other leafy green vegetables. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Peanut butter. ...
  • Almonds. ...
  • Mangos.
5 Apr 2019

What are the 7 tips to have a healthy life? ›

Follow these seven tips to increase your energy and live a happier, healthier, more productive life:
  • Eat nourishing food. ...
  • Sleep seven to eight hours per night. ...
  • Keep company with good people. ...
  • Avoid news overdose. ...
  • Get regular exercise. ...
  • Do something meaningful each day.
9 Aug 2022

What are 5 healthy eating tips? ›

Top tips
  • Eat a variety of food.
  • Cut back on salt.
  • Reduce use of certain fats and oil.
  • Limit sugar intake.
  • Avoid hazardous and harmful alcohol use.
26 Dec 2019

What are some healthy tips in choosing healthy lifestyle? ›

10 Healthy Lifestyle Tips for Adults
  • Eat a variety of foods.
  • Base your diet on plenty of foods rich in carbohydrates.
  • Replace saturated with unsaturated fat.
  • Enjoy plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Reduce salt and sugar intake.
  • Eat regularly, control the portion size.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Maintain a healthy body weight.
7 Jun 2017

What are the 15 easy ways to be healthier? ›

22 Simple Ways to Get Healthier With Minimal Effort
  1. Fill Half of Your Plate With Non-Starchy Vegetables. ...
  2. Eat From a Smaller Plate and Bowl. ...
  3. Swap Refined Carbs for Whole, Unprocessed Carbs. ...
  4. Add Some Fruit to Your Morning Oats. ...
  5. Eat Fatty Fish Often. ...
  6. Consider Certain Supplements. ...
  7. Drink Green Tea. ...
  8. Have Your Coffee Black.
2 Oct 2017

What are the 4 keys to good health? ›

Experts widely consider exercise, good nutrition, relaxation and sleep crucial to healthy living. While these so-called “four pillars” of good health help keep your body running, they also do wonders for your emotional well-being.

What are the 10 lifestyles? ›

  • 1.Get adequate rest daily. ...
  • 2.Get regular physical activity. ...
  • 3.Eat more plant based foods. ...
  • 4.Eat more whole-grain breads and cereals. ...
  • 5.Choose healthy fats. ...
  • 6.Achieve/Maintain a healthy weight. ...
  • Be free of dependence on tobacco, illicit drugs, or alcohol. ...
  • 8.Maintain a cheerful, hopeful outlook on life.

What are 3 keys to a healthy diet? ›

The 3 keys to optimal nutrition are balance, quality, and timing. To maintain balance, eat from all or most of the food groups.

What are 3 key factors to healthy eating? ›

No matter the situation, optimal health is rooted in good habits in three primary categories: nutrition, fitness, and lifestyle. No single factor is more or less critical than the other, and they are all complexly intertwined.

What is the #1 healthiest food your answer? ›

The following are some of the most healthful:
  • Broccoli. Broccoli provides good amounts of fiber, calcium, potassium, folate, and phytonutrients. ...
  • Apples. Apples are an excellent source of antioxidants, which combat free radicals. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Blueberries. ...
  • Avocados. ...
  • Leafy green vegetables. ...
  • Sweet potatoes.

What is the healthiest breakfast to eat? ›

  1. Eggs. Eggs make a simple, nutritious breakfast choice. ...
  2. Greek yogurt. Greek yogurt is a great option if you're looking for a quick breakfast. ...
  3. Coffee. Aside from water, coffee is the world's most popular beverage. ...
  4. Oatmeal. ...
  5. Chia seeds. ...
  6. Berries. ...
  7. Cottage cheese. ...
  8. Whole wheat toast.

Which food we should eat daily? ›

Here are the top 15 foods you should be eating according to our experts:
  • Fish. ...
  • Broccoli or any of the cruciferous vegetables. ...
  • Beets. ...
  • Spinach and other leafy green vegetables. ...
  • Kale. ...
  • Peanut butter. ...
  • Almonds. ...
  • Mangos.
5 Apr 2019

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