17 Ways to Start Eating Healthy and Stick With it

A new year has just begun, which for many people means setting new fitness goals and making an effort to improve overall health. If you’re looking to make healthy lifestyle changes in 2021 and want to get started by eating well, you’re in the right place. Read on for some invaluable healthy eating tips that will help you get started and stick to a balanced diet.

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  • Start for the right reasons – and with realistic expectations

Eating a balanced diet has many health benefits including the potential for weight loss, but it’s important to start your journey to eating well for the right reasons. Eating right is about so much more than shedding pounds, and if you go into your journey focusing only on your weight, you may put too much pressure on yourself to make quick changes to your body. Setting realistic, achievable goals that don’t centre around losing a lot of weight in a short space of time will prevent you from getting discouraged, and will also help you to make meaningful, maintainable lifestyle changes that will keep you healthy long-term.

  • Remember your motivators

The journey to eating well can be difficult and sometimes it does get tempting to fall back into old habits. Staying motivated is the key to success, so it’s vital that you remember what made you change your diet in the first place. It would be beneficial to make a list of reasons why you want to get healthier, whether it’s to manage a health condition, get in shape or improve your overall mood. Refer back to this list whenever you’re struggling to stay motivated and it’ll help you stay on track.

  • Keep junk foods out of the house

Sometimes you just get cravings for junk food, but these will be less prevalent and much easier to fight if you’re not surrounded by unhealthy options at home. Avoid buying fatty or sugary foods at the supermarket to prevent temptation, and if your family will still be eating these types of foods, encourage them to keep these hidden. Seeing your favourite unhealthy snacks sitting on the counter only makes it more difficult for you to resist.

  • Buy high quality ingredients in advance

To replace the junk foods in your home, try to keep the kitchen stocked with fresh, high quality ingredients that make you feel excited to eat well. A meat box delivery service is a great option to get you started, as this gives you access to the best cuts of meat at a competitive price. Eating high quality meat is a good source of protein, which is essential to fuel your body, maintain bone and muscle health and even reduce appetite. Investing in a meat box means getting lean, locally sourced produce delivered to your door, which you can prepare in a huge variety of ways to create delicious meals.

  • Plan your meals

To help you stay on track, plan your meals in advance and make sure your cupboards are full of the nutritious ingredients needed to create a good range of healthy options. Whether you get ahead by batch cooking on the weekends or prepare each meal on an evening, knowing what you’re planning to cook in advance will speed things up and help you keep track of what you’re putting into your body. Remember to account for leftovers in your meal planning, too – cooking more than you need on an evening makes it easy to eat healthily at lunchtime the next day, even if you’re really busy.

  • Maintain balance

The key to an attainable healthy diet is balance, which means it’s okay to indulge in a treat every now and then. If you’re too strict on yourself from the beginning, you may lose interest in your new diet and turn to your favourite snacks for comfort. Allowing yourself a few off-plan foods is fine and will make it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle, as you’re less likely to feel overly restricted and lose motivation as a result. Treat foods are okay in moderation and won’t undo all your hard work, as long as you balance them with a good range of healthy and nutritious options.

  • Have a partner join you

If someone close to you is also trying to improve their health, have them join you in your healthy eating and exercise plan. This way, you can hold each other accountable, celebrate your wins together and motivate one another to keep going. Having your partner or spouse join you may be particularly beneficial, as couples are inclined to follow one another’s lead and the two of you can share the responsibility of food shopping and preparing healthy meals.

  • Measure your progress

When it comes to both healthy eating and exercising, tracking your progress can be extremely beneficial. Try inputting the foods you eat into an app or diary to keep track of what you’re eating and measure your exercise with a phone or smartwatch, as this will allow you to easily look back on your progress. When you need an extra push to keep at it, there’s no better motivator than seeing how far you’ve already come.

  • Have a high-protein breakfast

When trying to lose weight, many people make the mistake of skipping breakfast altogether, but a well-balanced breakfast that is high in protein can actually prevent you from overeating later in the day. A protein-rich breakfast helps you stay full and keeps your blood sugar levels in a healthy range, making you feel more satisfied and less likely to snack.

  • Pack healthy snacks when on the go

When you’re in the middle of a hectic day, it can be hard to stick to a healthy diet, especially if you’re away from home and don’t have easy access to healthy foods. To prevent you from grabbing whatever processed food is available at the time, plan ahead and carry healthy snacks with you to tide you over. Nutritious, high-protein snacks such as mixed nuts, seeds, natural yoghurt or protein bites will satisfy your appetite until you’re able to sit down for a proper meal.

  • Up your exercise

While you don’t want to make your new routine overwhelming or too difficult to maintain, increasing the level of exercise you do at the same time as making changes to your diet will give you the best results. These two healthy lifestyle changes reinforce one another, and you may find it easier to make both changes simultaneously than starting with one and adding the other to your routine further down the line.

  • Have a plan before eating out

Don’t let a meal with friends or family stress you out – after all, a get-together with loved ones is supposed to be fun! If you’re worried about eating healthily when dining at a restaurant, try to prepare by looking at the menu ahead of time, or by picking out the restaurant yourself so you know there’s something you’d be happy to eat. You can also limit the impact of a meal out by drinking water instead of alcohol.

  • Prepare before travelling

If you’ll be travelling away from home, you may feel anxious about what you’ll eat while in unfamiliar territory. Don’t be afraid to go slightly off plan during your trip, but if you’re determined to stay on track as much as possible, there are some ways to make this easier. If possible, pack some healthy non-perishable foods such as dried fruit, nut butters, wholegrain crackers and trail mix, as these will be a healthy snack or light meal option if you find yourself stuck.

You can also prepare by researching the restaurants and supermarkets in the area ahead of time, giving you a better idea of the kinds of foods they’ll have available and what you can expect.

  • Be patient

When eating well and exercising, you must be patient with yourself. Expecting to see significant changes right away, whether that’s in how you look or how you feel, can demotivate you quickly and massively restrict your long-term progress. If you don’t see immediate changes, don’t lose hope – have faith in the process. Stay motivated by tracking your diet and exercise, as this will reassure you that you’re on track and that the changes you’re working towards will come with time.

  • Be forgiving

If you veer off track and cave to a takeaway or a sugary snack, don’t beat yourself up about it. As mentioned earlier, it’s all about balance, and one unhealthy choice doesn’t mean your journey to better health is over. It’s common for people who are trying to stick to a new diet to give in to temptation every now and then, but the important thing is to not treat this as a failure and proceed to overindulge in unhealthy foods for the rest of the day or week. Rather than considering your progress ruined or undone, take a breather, remember your reasons for improving your diet and put the past behind you. This mentality will help you get back on track more quickly and have you feeling positive in no time.

  • Avoid fad diets

A new fad diet seems to pop up every week and although their promises of instant results may seem amazing, the reality is that this type of eating and weight loss tends to be unsustainable and unhealthy in the long run. Fad diets are promoted as being a way to lose weight quickly, but they are typically very restrictive and make it incredibly difficult to maintain your new weight long term. This leads to a dangerous cycle of yo-yo dieting, where people lose weight only to gain it back shortly afterwards.

Finding a sustainable diet plan that works for you and gives your body the nutrients it needs is a much healthier choice to make, so avoid those fad diets and understand that to achieve lasting results, you need to have patience and take it slow.

  • Figure out what works best for you

There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to healthy eating and exercise, and what works for a friend or family member may not be the best way forward for you. When beginning your journey to better eating and good health, don’t be afraid to try a few different things, especially if you’re not enjoying or getting a lot out of your current method. The key to maintaining a healthy diet is to find a way of eating that you enjoy, that isn’t overly restrictive and that you find sustainable. Then, when it comes to sticking to it, you’ll realise that it isn’t even a chore.

This guide to eating healthy and sticking with it was brought to you by experts at The Dorset Meat Company, who offer nationwide butcher meat box delivery. With a fantastic range of grass-fed, ethically reared meat available for you to choose from on their website, you’re sure to find delicious healthy meal staples to help you on your journey to eating well.

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