9 Secrets of Healthy Eaters

Ever looked at an unwavering healthy eater and wondered, “What’s your secret?” Maintaining a healthy diet is a lifestyle — but it’s one that’s open to everybody. So where should you begin? Here are nine common habits of healthy eaters.

1. Vary your diet

A healthy diet is a varied diet. And healthy eaters know the importance of switching things up to get all the nutrients they need — and to keep their taste buds entertained. “Not all the nutrients and other substances in foods that contribute to good health have been identified, so eating a wide assortment of foods helps ensure that you get all of the disease-fighting potential that foods offer,” according to Berkeley Wellness. “In addition, this will limit your exposure to any pesticides or toxic substances that may be present in a particular food.”

2. Plan meals

Meal planning can make all the difference when it comes to eating healthy. Filling your home with plenty of nutritious options — especially ones that are ready to eat — can prevent you from impulsively reaching for junk food. “Make a weekly meal plan, eat most meals at home, and think about your entire day when making food choices,” Food Network recommends. “You will save time, money and a whole bunch of calories.”

3. Eat breakfast

A bowl of healthy oatmeal with fresh berriesCredit: Synergee/Getty Images

When healthy eaters plan their meals, there’s one they definitely don’t skip: breakfast. “Research indicates that eating breakfast every day helps with weight loss and weight maintenance by reducing hunger later in the day,” according to Mayo Clinic. “When you break the overnight fast with a healthy breakfast, it’s easier to resist unhealthy choices during the day.” Even if you don’t love big breakfasts, try to include at least two food groups in your meal to set your body off to a healthy start for the day.

4. Drink lots of water

We hear it all the time: Are you drinking enough water? Besides being critical for your entire body to function properly, water can be your secret weapon for maintaining a healthy diet. “Sometimes thirst can be misinterpreted as hunger,” according to Mayo Clinic. “Check in with your body when you feel hungry, especially later in the day. Drinking a glass of water before eating can satisfy thirst and keep you from eating unnecessary calories.” The amount of water you need depends on several factors — age, weight, health, weather, exercise, etc. And remember some of your water intake does come from the hydrating foods you eat.

5. Watch out for liquid calories

Water is crucial for a healthy diet, but other beverages can do more harm than good. “Beverages supply more than 20 percent of the calories in the average American’s diet,” according to Berkeley Wellness. Some of those beverages do offer health benefits, including milk and natural fruit juices (though eating the whole fruit is the healthier choice). But other drinks, such as soda and alcohol, are just empty calories. And because it’s easy to forget to count liquid calories, it’s important to limit these beverages in your diet.

6. Read the ingredients list

A family looks at the ingredients on a bottle at a grocery store.Credit: vgajic/Getty Images

In a world full of unpronounceable ingredients, it takes effort to maintain a healthy diet. But the best thing you can do is know exactly what you’re putting in your body. “Eat foods that contain only ingredients that you can easily identify and foods with just a few ingredients,” Mayo Clinic says. “Eating more ‘real food’ will help you cut out processed food, such as chips, cookies and frozen meals.” Plus, it’s important to know the correct serving size — even when it comes to some healthy foods. For instance, you don’t want to snack on a whole bag of almonds when a handful is the proper portion.

7. Grow your own food

If you really want to be certain about what’s in your food, you always could grow it yourself. “Any food you can grow on your own is better for your health and the health of the environment,” Food Network says. “Whether it’s a few pots of herbs or a full-blown veggie garden, get your hands a little dirty and start growing your own food.” Because home gardeners primarily grow healthy foods — and not, say, a potato chip plant — they’re more likely to construct nutritious meals using these ingredients. And the satisfaction of taking greater ownership over your food can help motivate you to keep on that healthy path.

8. Be picky

Sometimes you have to speak up and advocate for your healthy diet. For instance, when eating at a restaurant make sure you’re aware of everything that goes into your meal. “Ask your server how foods are prepared and choose menu items that are baked, broiled, roasted, seared, poached or steamed,” Mayo Clinic suggests. “Also make sure to ask for sauces or dressings on the side, and look for vegetables or fruit as side options instead of french fries.” Restaurants often can accommodate certain dietary needs if you just ask. So find a way to be picky, but polite, to avoid putting something you don’t want into your body.

9. Enjoy your food

A woman smiles as she eats soup.Credit: RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

Healthy eating should never be synonymous with deprivation. In fact, the real secret to maintaining a nutritious diet is enjoying it. Practice mindful eating by slowing down to savor each bite. “It takes up to 20 minutes for your brain to register the chemicals that let you know when you are no longer hungry,” according to Mayo Clinic. “Slowing down helps your brain catch up to how full you’re feeling.” And don’t torture yourself if you indulge in something unhealthy. Instead, focus more on adding in good foods rather than cutting out the junk for a truly satisfying healthy diet.

Main image credit: puhimec/Getty Images

109 comments

Hannah A
Hannah A4 days ago

thank you

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Hannah A
Hannah A4 days ago

thank you

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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Jack Y
Jack Y2 months ago

thanks

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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John J
John J2 months ago

thanks for sharing

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Feryal Cubukcu Can
Feryal Cubukcu Can2 months ago

I have come to observe that many American people tend to keep their mouths full at all times. It is like they can't live for an hour without eating something. First of all, people need to have the will power to resist unnecessary food temptations.

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lynda l
lynda l2 months ago

Focus more on adding in good foods rather than cutting out the junk for a truly satisfying healthy diet.

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Ben O
Ben O3 months ago

OK

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Angela K
Angela K3 months ago

Thanks for sharing

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