So you want to get healthy. Congratulations! You’re worth it. When you start eating healthy you’ll feel better physically and will feel better emotionally too. But many people don’t know how to start a healthy eating plan. People often wonder what a healthy eating plan even is. We’re here to help!
Before you can come up with your own healthy eating plan, or follow the simple healthy eating plan of someone else, you must first understand: what is a healthy eating plan? People with unique dietary restrictions, like diabetics, will have their own unique plans.
That said, there are some general guidelines most people can follow. According to the National Institute of Health, a healthy eating plan follows these general rules:
It’s also very important to eat breakfast. Too often, people simply drink coffee all morning and wait for their lunchtime routine to begin before eating. The reality is that when you let yourself get hungry, you’re putting yourself at risk for overeating. Always eat breakfast and a mid-morning meal.
Of course, most people know that to lose weight you need to lower the calories you eat and raise the calories you burn. If you want to lose a healthy amount of weight – between 1 and 1 ½ pounds – then your daily calorie intake needs to be reduced by about 500 – 750 calories.
The amount of calories you need will vary greatly based on your current weight and your exercise level. Avoid diet plans with fewer than 800 calories per day. Undereating can actually prevent you from losing weight and it is certainly not healthy. Stick to the goals based on your weight and you’ll feel better.
Now that you know what a healthy eating plan is, let’s talk about how to start a healthy eating plan. Follow these steps to get started:
The best way to think about an easy healthy eating plan is not as one huge change but as a series of small, manageable changes. For example, simply adding a salad to your daily diet. As these changes become habits you can add more changes. Some great tips to keep in mind include:
Now that you have some ideas on what a healthy eating plan is, let’s focus on setting up a daily healthy eating plan. Keep these three general rules in mind:
Here we’ll outline an example of a daily healthy eating plan. It’s based on a 2000 calorie diet, which is what the average person needs to maintain their weight. If you’re looking for healthy eating plans for weight loss, lower the calorie count by 500 – 750 calories.
If you weigh less or more than average then you’ll also need to adjust the calories. This particular example of a daily healthy eating plan is meant simply as a guide. Create your own based on your specific goals, current weight, activity level, and food preferences.
Remember that you can substitute anything on this example daily healthy eating plan with a similar product. For example, if you don’t like fish then simply substitute turkey meatballs. If you don’t like apple slices and honey, eat ½ cup of berries and a drizzle of chocolate sauce.
It may seem strange to include sleeping patterns when discussing healthy eating but the truth is that if you get less than the ideal 7 or 8 hours of sleep per night you’re risking a whole host of health issues that include:
Of course, if you don’t get enough sleep you’re also likely to feel tired and lack energy – which can lead to overeating on its own. Drink a glass of water before bed and create a calming routine for yourself. This may be taking a warm bath or reading in bed for half an hour.
Some days will be better than others. Some days you’ll wake up, drink a glass of water, take a short walk, eat a healthy breakfast, and have a perfect day of healthy eating. Others you may eat things that aren’t on your plan or throw your plan out altogether.
And that’s okay! In an ideal world, we’d make a change and stick to it for life without any setbacks. The key isn’t to avoid setbacks altogether but to respond to them appropriately. It’s so easy to have a slice of cake at lunch and then get off track for the rest of the day – or the rest of the month!
If you do have that slice of cake, simply accept that you veered from the track you were on and then get right back on it. Don’t try to skip dinner to “make up for it.” This is just going to make you hungry – which makes you more likely to overeat. Get back on your plan and pat yourself on the back for a job well done.
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