Healthy Eating

Expert Secrets on How to Make Healthy Eating Sustainable

Making small changes in your eating plan can lead to big results.

By: Lauren Manaker MS, RDN, LD, CLEC

Eating a healthy diet can sometimes be easier said than done. While many of us have the best intentions and wish to follow a healthy eating pattern, life simply gets in the way. And as a result, sustainable healthy eating can be challenging. 

But eating to support our health is far too important to pass up. From heart health to cancer risk reduction, making the right food choices can play a huge role in your overall health. 

As a registered dietitian, I have seen my share of people who have lofty goals of eating healthy, yet, after a few weeks of their commitment, they fall off the wagon. Finding sustainable ways to make healthy eating is key, and I have found five tips that can help make that possible.

Simple Healthy Eating Swap Rules 

Overhauling your entire diet can be overwhelming, but making small food swaps can be your ticket to making sustainable changes. Here are some simple swap rules. 

#1 You’re Looking For Sweet & Salty Swaps 

Opt for whole-grain bread instead of white, make the leap from chewy gummy candies to natural raisins, and nosh on air-popped popcorn instead of chips. You will still get the satisfying tastes along with an extra nutrition boost that can help support your health goals.

#2 You Like Fried Food But Want a Healthier Option 

Try baking your favorite fried foods instead of deep-frying. If you are a french fry or fried chicken lover, don’t feel like you have to give up your go-to indulgences. Experiment with baked options, and you will still get the same satisfying crunch without the added fat. Options like baked sweet potato fries and baked breaded chicken are simple to whip up and are much better for your overall health. 

Bonus Tip — making your food in an air fryer is another great way to enjoy some of your favorite fried foods without all the added oil!

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Saying No to Processed Foods

#3 You Need Healthy Snack Options 

Visual cues can help you choose healthier food choices. And having something like a fresh bowl of fruit available for grabbing can make eating more produce a much more sustainable practice. Plus, having a fruit bowl can help you keep track of whether you are running low. If your fruit bowl is looking a bit sparse, you know it is time to go shopping again!

You can also stock your pantry with healthy snack options like nuts and seeds and keep them within reach. If you have plenty of healthy food options readily available, it will make those healthy snacks easier to reach for when those snack cravings hit. 

#4 You Need Breakfast in a Hurry

If you struggle to eat a healthy breakfast or skip it altogether due to a lack of time, you need in on these easy breakfast options. Instead of grabbing a bagel, try a slice of gluten-free toast with mashed avocado, in place of a sugary yogurt, try unsweetened Greek yogurt with fresh berries and a drizzle of honey. Another simple healthy eating hack is to make some hard-boiled eggs to have on hand for an easy grab-and-go breakfast. Try pairing 1-2 hard-boiled eggs with some almonds and berries for a nourishing breakfast or even a mid-day snack.

#5 Your Current Eating Plan is Too Boring 

When trying to eat to support your health, meal ideas can become monotonous rather quickly. While we know that baked salmon and a green salad is super-nutritious, nobody wants to eat those dishes all day, every day. 

Committing to making homemade and creative daily dishes is not sustainable for many people. Old-standbys are great meals to include, but you want to balance them out with something exciting on occasion. Each week, aim to cook one new healthy recipe to add variety and inspiration to your diet. Whether you are finding your recipe online, or getting tips from a friend, or making it up as you go, having fun with your tastebuds will make eating well much more enjoyable and sustainable. You can also consider joining FitOn PRO for access to personalized meal plans and exclusive recipes to reach your fitness goals faster without counting calories and with foods you’ll love to eat.

Making Healthy Eating More Sustainable 

Eating well doesn’t have to be an overwhelming ordeal that includes foods that resemble rabbit food and leaves you feeling hungry shortly after mealtime. Making small changes in your eating plan can lead to big results and can be a much more sustainable plan of attack.