The Bytes

The term “best” or “healthiest” is frequently associated with diets.

Despite this, there are no universally effective diets.

Every individual lives in unique circumstances influenced by genetics, health, work schedules, family, cultural traditions, and more.

A single diet cannot take into account all the factors affecting an individual.

The best healthy diet for you is that which makes you feel your best and which you can keep up with over the long haul.

Keeping a healthy diet means finding foods that not only satisfy your nutritional needs, but that you also enjoy, are sustainable, and are suitable to your circumstances

Ensure that you surround yourself with healthy foods.

Recently, researchers found that people throughout the world consume more ultraprocessed foods in comparison to three years ago (13 Trusted Source, 14 Trusted Source, 15 Trusted Source, 16 Trusted Source).

An ultra-processed food is one that has undergone industrial processing. These foods have additives to make them last longer and taste better, such as sweeteners, thickeners, stabilizers, and other ingredients (3 Trusted Sources).

The ultra-processed foods include fast foods, frozen dinners, and sugar-sweetened drinks.

Foods that are ultra-processed are not only enticing due to their flavors, but being present when these foods are present can affect brain chemistry and behavior (17 Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source, 20Trusted Source).

By keeping these foods away from your home, you can avoid the temptation to eat them (21 Trusted Source, 22 Trusted Source).

Maintaining a healthy diet by keeping your fridge and pantry stocked with nutrient-dense, whole food items is a great way to make sure you are eating those foods more frequently.

Making sure that you're surrounded by the foods you're trying to avoid instead of the ones you're trying to enjoy will increase your chances of success.

Always keep filling snacks on hand

Often, it’s the moments when we find ourselves feeling extra hungry and tempted with a tasty treat that we forget about the healthy eating plans we had in mind for the day.

Even though craving foods from time to time is completely normal, researchers have found that when our hunger is at its most intense, the cravings tend to get even more intense (7 Trusted Source).

Keeping tasty and nutritious snacks on hand is an excellent way to stave off hunger until your next meal.

Keep yourself full with high-protein snacks and fiber snacks (24 Trusted Source, 25 Trusted Source, 26 Trusted Source, 27 Trusted Source).

Examples include:

  • fresh fruits and veggies
  • yogurt
  • popcorn
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • mixed nuts and nut butters
  • hummus or roasted chickpeas
  • whole grain crackers

Maintaining a healthy diet by keeping filling snacks on hand will reduce the chances of falling off your healthy diet when hunger strikes.

Indulge in all your favorite foods

Have you ever felt like there’s one food you just can’t live without? Fortunately, you don’t have to!

You can actually backfire on yourself by depriving yourself of the foods you love and crave.

Short term, it can increase your cravings for those foods, especially for those who are more vulnerable to food cravings in general (28).

28 Trusted Source, 29Trusted Source).

Researchers have even found that weight loss is linked to feeling satisfied while dieting rather than depriving (30Trusted Source).

Rather than completely avoiding the less nutritious foods you love, try consuming them only occasionally while monitoring your portions.

When you eat with moderation and control your portions, you can enjoy all foods in a healthy diet, even those that seem impossible to include.

One of the most common obstacles people face when trying to improve their diet is focusing on the positives rather than the negatives.

It might sound like this: “Well, I already ruined my diet for the day by having the cake at the office party earlier, so I might as well forget about cooking at home tonight and grab takeout instead.”

People tend to think about situations in black and white, or as “good” and “bad.”

You should instead treat each food choice you make during the day as a separate one. If you make one choice that is less-than-ideal, it doesn’t have to lead to a full day of similar choices.

Being confident and having high self-esteem tend to lead to better health outcomes, so don’t let one or two blunders get you down (31 Trusted Source, 32 Trusted Source).

Instead of allowing labels such as "all-or-nothing" to make you believe that anything less than perfection is a failure, consider each new food choice you make about your diet as a fresh start.

Plan ahead when eating out.

People look forward to potlucks, happy hours, and dining out. Nevertheless, if you are struggling to follow a new or healthy diet, they might seem like another obstacle to overcome.

In general, restaurant meals are higher in calories, sodium, sugar, fat, and ultra-processed foods than meals cooked at home, and they often come in large portions (33 Trusted Source, 34 Trusted Source).

The choices we make about our diet are also heavily influenced by those around us, especially in social settings (35 Trusted Source, 36 Trusted Source, 37 Trusted Source).

In short, when eating out, it’s easy to overindulge, and keeping a healthy diet can be difficult.

Nevertheless, there are ways to make it easier. If you plan ahead before heading to a restaurant or gathering, you can ease your mind and feel prepared to enjoy eating out.

Here are some of our favorite tips for eating out:

  • Research the menu before you go.
  • Eat a piece of fruit ahead of time.
  • Stay hydrated during the meal.
  • Order your meal first.
  • Take your time and savor your meal.

Be aware of your progress.

A self-monitoring system is an easy and effective way to keep track of your progress on your own (38 Trusted Source, 39 Trusted Source ).

A simple method would be to keep a journal of the foods you eat each day or to use an app that tracks your daily calorie intake, weight, and activity levels.

When you self-monitor your progress, remember that weight loss and gain are not the only things you need to look at to see your progress. Sometimes, they might not accurately measure progress either.

There are many different reasons why people follow a healthy diet. Consider, for instance, how dietary changes have changed your physical or mental health rather than how much weight you have lost.

Here are a few more questions to ask yourself to help determine whether your healthier diet is working:

  • Do I feel satisfied and full?
  • What do I eat? Do I enjoy it?
  • Can I eat like this forever?
  • Is there anything I did today that was healthy?
  • How confident am I about my diet?
  • Have I noticed any changes in my physical health?
  • Have I noticed any changes in my mental health?

Analyze your progress to find out if your efforts are bearing fruit. Tracking does not necessarily mean logging every calorie in an app! Checking in with your body can be enough to help you stick to a healthy diet.