Try these 5 simple healthy eating habits to jump start your healthy diet.

When you think of healthy eating habits, you probably think of the food pyramid with grains at the base and fat and sugar in a tiny triangle at the top. While that food pyramid isn’t necessarily wrong, it isn’t right, either.

A healthy diet is diverse, filled with all the food groups, including carbs, fats. It isn’t restrictive, either. Healthy diets are full of protein, good fats, whole grains, and fruits and vegetables.

Healthy eating might sound scary to you. You might be thinking that you’re going to have to completely change your current habits, but a few simple changes will go a long way.

Here are 5 simple healthy eating habits to get you started on your path to a healthy diet:

Eat colorfully

Living by this rule will help you eat more fruits and vegetables by default. Strive to eat a wide variety of colors. The color of the food actually shows what kind of nutrients it has.

For example, red foods contain lycopene, which may reduce risk of prostate cancer, purple foods contain antioxidants that help with memory, and green foods are rich in Vitamin K, which helps regulate normal blood clotting. Read this blog post to learn more about eating colorfully.


Meal prep

Prepping your meals is a fool-proof way to make sure that you’re eating healthy, nutritious meals. When you’re not prepared, that’s when you find yourself running to Taco Bell in between errands. If you know that you have home cooked meals in your fridge waiting to be eaten, you’re much less likely to get sucked into fast food or other unhealthy snacks.

Meal prepping can be time consuming, but its worth it. You get all your cooking done in one day and don’t have to think about it for the rest of the week. Check out this beginner’s guide to meal prepping.


Reduce portion size

Portion sizes have increased significantly over the past few decades. We eat giant portions compared to many other parts of the world. A portion is whatever amount of food is in front of you. A serving however, is the recommended amount of a certain food that you should eat. Those usually aren’t the same.

There are all kinds of visual representations online for what your portion sizes should be. Find one that works for you and your diet! Read this article on tips for portion control.


Limit snack foods

A healthy diet doesn’t mean no snacking ever, it just means mindful, healthy snacking. Sweets and snacks, eaten in moderation, aren’t going to kill you.  However, mindless snacking will lead to overeating. Try not to keep processed convenience foods like chips, crackers, and candy laying around your house. You’ll grab it when you’re bored and sitting in front of the TV. You’ll probably eat the whole bag without even noticing, and then lose your appetite for dinner.

Instead of reaching for whatever processed food is in your cupboard, take the time to plan out healthy, easy snacks that you’ll love to munch on. Check out this article with 29 healthy snack ideas. They might take a little bit of preparation, but you’ll feel so much more satisfied with those snacks than you would by going to town on that old bag of Ruffles.


Don’t label

Don’t label foods as “good” or “bad.” Foods don’t have morals, and shouldn’t be labeled as if they do.   Labeling foods as good or bad leads to us thinking that way about ourselves when we eat them. When you think this way, you’ll automatically punish yourself for being “bad” after eating a cookie. Instead of labeling foods as good or bad, think about what they can do for your body as a whole. If eating a cookie will make you happy, than eat that cookie. But don’t eat 10 cookies. Not because they’re “bad” per se, but because they won’t make you feel good!

It’s hard to erase all the stigmas that diet culture has instilled in us, but it will be helpful if you do. Read this article for more reasons to stop labeling food.