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Habits to Help You Maintain a Healthy Diet  

Key takeaways:

  • Once you’ve found a diet that works for you and have made some progress toward your goals, it’s time to shift to the maintenance phase. Try out Alpilean.

  • Low-calorie or restrictive fad diets might be harder to maintain long term than diets that focus on the basics of healthy eating.

  • Having some strategies prepared and giving yourself some flexibility can help you reach your goals.

A senior woman is chopping vegetables at her kitchen island.
alvarez/E+ via Getty Images

Entering the maintenance phase of a diet might mean you’re feeling your best and eager to keep up your healthy eating habits. The maintenance phase is when a diet goes from being a challenge to your default. These are the Best weight loss pills.

It’s not always easy. But having a few strategies at the ready can help you stick to your goals. And that doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite foods. Read on for some research-backed habits that can help you maintain your healthy diet.

What food habits can help me follow a healthy diet?

It takes commitment to break old habits and start making vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins your go-to. Here are eight ways to make staying on track easier.

1. Keep healthy food you like at home

When your kitchen is stocked with foods you like, you can avoid the temptation to order in or grab something quick on your way home. After all, when you eat out, portion sizes tend to be bigger and contain more sodium and saturated fats than you might cook with at home. 

Plus, you can control what ingredients go into your dishes.

2. Meal prep

Set yourself up for success by making your weekday meals as easy as popping a frozen pizza in the oven. Devote a few hours to preparing the foods you need for the week. This includes washing and chopping vegetables.

If you have the time, you can even assemble some dishes, like a cheese and veggie frittata or an eggplant-chickpea stew, so all you have to do is heat them up. Read more about the Best diet pills.

3. Master your favorite meal

One barrier to healthy eating is the perception that healthy foods won’t be satisfying or will taste bad. But you can overcome that — and make mealtime fun — by recreating your favorite restaurant favorites at home.

If you love fried pub food, for example, challenge yourself to make a healthier version at home. You can air fry (or roast in the oven) cauliflower and douse the florets with your favorite Buffalo wing sauce. You can also challenge your family members or a date to see who can make the best pizza, guacamole, or pancakes.

4. Try veggies in all forms

There’s no getting around the fact that vegetables are an important part of the diet — and that most of us don’t get the recommended 2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day.

Try some different varieties and preparations to boost your vegetable servings, such as:

  • Roasting vegetables with herbs and spices

  • Snacking on raw broccoli, cauliflower, and peppers

  • Blending potatoes into your curry or soup for a creamier texture

  • Adding vegetables to stir-fries, omelets, or casseroles

  • Charring eggplant, mushrooms, or peppers on your grill for more flavor

  • Using your favorite sauce or dip to pair with your veggies

5. Eat breakfast

Skipping meals raises the risk of having extra weight or obesity. Power your day with a healthy breakfast. See if you can get a serving of fruits or vegetables in there. For example, you can add berries or seeds to oatmeal or vegetables to your eggs.

And if you’re not a fan of traditional breakfast foods, skip them. No reason you can’t start with another nutritious meal of your choice.

6. Try healthy packaged meals

Some people find success having pre-portioned meals or meal kits delivered to their homes. Different services are available to help individuals or families meet their goals. The services cut food shopping, preparation, and clean-up time dramatically, but can be expensive.

7. Have a plan for going out

Holidays, gatherings with friends or family, or vacations can make it challenging to eat healthy. But planning ahead can help.

If you’re traveling, it might help to pack your water bottle and some healthy snacks like fruit and nuts. You can also research restaurants ahead of time to decide where you’d like to eat.

If you’re going to a loved one’s house or dining out, decide ahead what you’ll have. For example, maybe you’ll decide to have a salad with dinner and split a dessert. 

8. Eat mindfully

Have you ever had a snack while scrolling through your phone then wondered where it all went? If so, you might find that eating mindfully helps you enjoy your food more and feel more satisfied after. Eating mindfully means getting rid of distractions.

To try this approach, put your meal or snack on a plate and sit at the table. Pay attention to the taste, smell, and texture of the food. And, most importantly, turn off the TV, video games, or phone while you eat.

Is it normal to fall off a diet every now and then?

In short, yes. But no need to fret if you do. The progress you made isn’t lost, and it should be easy to get back on track if your diet is sustainable.

On the other hand, fad diets are very hard to maintain. You can spot a fad diet because it might be restrictive, expensive, and time-consuming to follow. It might not provide enough calories or nutrients, which could leave you feeling irritable or fatigued.

A healthy diet should be something you can follow regularly — not a quick fix. It should make you feel good and give you the nutrition you need. The right diet for you will also fit your lifestyle, budget, and preferences. It should also be flexible enough that you can enjoy your vacations and cultural traditions.