A healthy diet is essential to a well-rounded, flourishing lifestyle. While your diet doesn’t need to be perfect, there are likely little ways it can be tweaked and enhanced. Starting small is a good way to make changes that stick. So, here are some easy healthy eating tips you can start incorporating today.
You don’t have to make the change right away. If healthy eating is fairly new to you or it seems overwhelming, start with just a tip or two at a time and build from there.
1. Make a Shopping List—and Stick to It
Who hasn’t gone to the grocery store for one thing and come out with a whole basket of impulse buys? It happens to all of us!
To minimize purchasing unnecessary and unhealthy items, make a grocery list ahead of time. Then, don’t buy anything that’s not on the list. (Another tip: don’t grocery shop hungry. You’ll want to buy everything!)
The following tips can help you know what to add to that list.
2. Prioritize High-Nutrient Plant Foods
The simplest of healthy eating tips is this: focus on nutrient-dense, whole foods. These are foods that provide a good amount of vitamins and minerals, fiber, and no added junk:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Beans and legumes
- Nuts and seeds
- Whole grains like brown rice and quinoa
3. Replace Refined Grains with Whole Grains
The USDA recommends we make at least half of our grains whole. That’s a good place to start. Ideally, work to make all your grain foods—like cereals, oatmeal, pastas, rice, and bread—whole grains with minimal extra ingredients.
4. Get Plenty of Good Protein
Protein provides the building blocks of our muscle and tissues. You can get protein from plant foods like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, split peas, lentils, tempeh, and nuts and seeds.
The best animal proteins are grass-fed and free range, as factory farmed meat comes with a lot of risk. Choose turkey over chicken and look for lean cuts (better than deli meat). Choose deep sea fish with scales that aren’t farm-raised or fresh water.
5. Have Healthy Fats
Fat used to get a bad rap. But now, we know dietary fat is essential for cell growth, energy, brain health, protecting your organs, and more.
Focus on foods with good monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in nuts like walnuts and almonds, seeds like flaxseed, sunflower seeds, and chia seeds, and oils like olive, safflower, and peanut.
6. Get Veggies with Every Meal and Snack
With each meal and snack, look for ways to add vegetables:
- Have a side salad with your meal.
- Add a side or two of steamed veggies, such as broccoli.
- Make a green smoothie with spinach.
- Eat baby carrots or cucumber slices with hummus.
- Heat a bag of frozen vegetables to stir into your pasta or rice dish
And try to eat your greens and veggies first so they aren’t left out if you get full.
7. Make Eating Out a Treat
There’s nothing wrong with eating an occasional meal out with friends or family. But cooking at home is far healthier—and cheaper! Why not make eating out a special thing to enjoy once in a while? Try eating simple, home-cooked meals as much as possible.
8. Slow Down and Be Kind to Yourself
This might seem funny as one of our healthy eating tips, but it’s common to have negative emotions around food and your body. Give yourself the grace to make mistakes while practicing mindful eating and tuning into how foods make you feel.
9. Move a Little More Each Day
Just like healthy eating, being active can help you feel better in your body. And when you feel good, it’s easier to stay inspired to make healthy choices that keep you feeling good.
10. Don’t Drink Your Calories (and Drink Water)
Sodas and other sugary drinks tend to be full of empty calories or artificial ingredients. Get your calories from whole food sources that provide benefits. Try to stick with black coffee, unsweetened tea, and other natural, calorie-free drinks—especially lots of water!
The Bottom Line
Healthy eating doesn’t have to be hard. Start with some simple changes by following a couple of these healthy eating tips at a time. You’ll notice the difference sooner than you think! And if you need extra support, consider trusted supplements to use alongside your healthy eating habits.