14 Tips for Getting (and Staying) Motivated to Eat Healthy

I frequently get asked how to get started with weight loss and how to stay motivated to eat healthy. From what I can tell, even the most health conscious people struggle with eating healthy one hundred percent of the time – myself included. That said, I do have some tips for jumping on the healthy eating bandwagon (or hayride this time of year!)…

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  1. Set small, measurable goals that will help you get to your overall large goal. For instance – I will eat 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day, incorporate leafy green veggies into 3 meals a day, drink at least 68 ounces of water daily, etc.
  2. Keep a food and exercise journal. This is extremely helpful to track how much you’re eating – sometimes you don’t realize how many small bites here and there add up. You can do a hand-written journal or go digital and log your food/fitness from the computer or your smartphone. MyFitnessPal is a great resource for this.
  3. Crowd processed junk food out of your diet by adding in nutritious whole foods.
  4. Skip the pantry and head to the fridge. No one really keeps a lot of processed foods in their fridge because they’re usually self-stable. When looking for an afternoon snack I tend to stick with something from the fridge (non-fat greek yogurt, fruit, veggies with hummus, edmamae, etc.)
  5. Try new foods. Eating steamed broccoli and baked tofu every night can get old. Look for new healthy recipes online, in cookbooks or magazines so you don’t get bored with eating healthy. I know a good place for recipes. ;)
  6. Enlist support from your friends and family. Whenever I realize I need to get back to my roots and clean up my eats the first person I tell is Isaac because he then knows not to offer me sips of beer and chips.
  7. Team up with a friend and hold each other accountable for eating healthy.
  8. Eat something every 2-3 hours. This keeps your metabolism running and also makes sure you don’t get ravenous and end up eating whatever is in sight when you get home from work.
  9. Keep nutritious foods on hand and ready to eat. Preparation is the key to eating healthy! Having fresh vegetables and fruits, lean protein, healthy fats and smart carbs each week is super helpful for staying on track. I like to make big batches of roasted veggies and brown rice or quinoa at the beginning of the week so I have healthy foods in the fridge ready to go for quick lunches.
  10. Keep tempting foods that trigger you to overeat out of the house. For me this is cereal, packaged trail mix, granola and other packaged foods. If the tempting foods are already in your house because someone else bought them, I’ve found that putting them away in a (high) cabinet is helpful. Out of sight, out of mind.
  11. Always bring a healthy snack with you when you leave the house for more than a couple hours. Apples, bananas, fruit and nut bars, homemade trail mix and carrots are super portable. And healthy bars like Larabar are always good in a pinch.
  12. Eat and enjoy your favorite foods in moderation. Deprivation tends to backfire so if you really want a treat, then eat and enjoy it.
  13. When going out to eat, look the at the menu for the restaurant online. Deciding beforehand what healthy option you’re going to get can be helpful so you’re not tempted by unhealthy options once you’re there.
  14. Don’t let one set-back keep you from working toward your goal. Don’t get down on yourself if you slip-up -just make sure your next meal is a healthy one!

Hopefully this little list helps give you some ideas on how to stay motivated to eat healthy. Like I said, everyone has off days and may not eat healthy ALL of the time, but it’s what you do 80-90% of the time that counts. Let me know in the comment section what tips you use to stay motivated to eat healthy. And if you liked this post, I will do another one with tips on how to stay motivated to workout!

PS- Happy Modern Family Day – my second favorite day of the week! I’m already excited for 9:00PM.

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Comments

  1. Great tips! I think one of the biggest things is not to get discouraged/unmotivated if you cheat every once in a while. I think a lot of people than just end up forgetting everything and thinking they have to be all or nothing. But if you let yourself indulge every once in a while, you won’t feel deprived and will end up being more likely to succeed!

    • agree! yep that’s me.. I eat something unhealthy & feel like i failed & have to start over again which usually ends up with me eating more bad stuff ..
      I think getting into habits is a good way to eat right, try stuff that is good & good for you like yogurt in the morning, or celery with peanut butter for a snack. little things will add up & when you start to like those foods you’ll crave them.

  2. Awesome post!! I try to do a lot of those things all the time and they definitely work :)

  3. These are great tips Brittany! I love the one about trying new foods. I definitely need to continue to work on trying as many new and interesting foods as I can.

  4. I’m so with you on #4 – and I always figure that when I grocery shop, more than half of my haul should require refrigeration (or freezing, for frozen veggies and the like). Besides, fruits and vegetables are so delicious!

  5. #8 is a biggie I need to work on…I get so hungry then eat until I’m stuffed! If I use #11 and bring snacks for the afternoon to work, problem #8 solved.

    Oh, and I am excited for Modern Family too! I hope its as funny as last years Halloween episode!

  6. Thanks for sharing! It is so important to eat healthy. Am I going to see you at Foodbuzz? I’d love to meet the brilliant girl behind one of my very favorite blogs!

  7. thank you for sharing this, i so needed it! i have fallen off the eat-right bandwagon and have been finding it difficult to get back on!

  8. I’ve been using the livestrong app to track my food and that helps a LOT! It means I can let myself have a treat without going OVERBOARD. (That way if I have some chips at little mexico, I stop at a serving… and not eat the whole basket. haha)

  9. Great post that I really needed today!! :)

  10. Great tips! Thank you. :D

  11. Christina Akin says:

    Thanks for the post, I had been starting to slip up in my healthy eating routine as well. One of my tips to eat healthy 80-90% of the time is to keep lots of healthy options available in your own fridge/pantry. If I only have a few options, by the end of the week I am hitting up starbucks and other places for snacks because I am bored of my few options. But, by keeping variety in my diet I can usually always find something healthy I like at home. I need to get better about packing snacks with me on the go. I work long days in the mall (food court = NO healthy options) and also travel an hour to take college classes. I find myself hungry on the drive home, and passing up tons of fast food drive-throughs is not easy. Perhaps you could also do a post about healthy snacks (brands or homemade) that are great to pack for on the go? I always need new ideas.

    • I definitely agree about keeping a variety of healthy things on hand so you don’t get bored with eating at home! And thanks for the post idea – I’ll definitely try to do one about healthy snacks. I love snacking so that’s right up my alley.

  12. Tim Shaffer says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for this post. I’ve been following your blog for a while now and always find it well worth the read. These are great tips, especially with the upcoming “food” season (Thanksgiving, Christmas…)

  13. Great list! I think #s 1, 11, and 13 are my favs.

  14. I do #13 all the time now!

    My struggle is getting bored with food and then finding myself desperate not knowing what to try new. I will get into a rut and then I literally don’t want to even eat. Blech. (I guess I tend to do that rather than eat junk — equally not good though!)

    Going to Trader Joe’s today to try and fix that. Usually if I pick out some new foods then suddenly I feel so much better!

  15. I think being a part of the blogging community (even just reading blogs) can help you stay on track – you never run out of new, great ideas!

  16. Great tips!! I know we all need a little extra motivation every once in awhile. :)

  17. Great tips! I think most people get on track, then after a splurge heavy weekend or busy week they feel like they have fallen off the wagon. The last tip is definitely one of the most important – splurge when you really want to, and just know you can use the strategies above to get back on track after a fun week!

  18. That’s a really great tip to head for the fridge instead of the pantry. I’m likely to grab an apple or some grapes if I look in the fridge, but probably some animal crackers or cereal if I head to the pantry :)

  19. Thank you! I’ve strayed from taking good care pf myself lately and your very do able,
    very smart list is the jumping point I was needed.

  20. I also appreciate the tip about going to the fridge instead of the pantry (also, NOT the freezer either where treats might tempt). That is one I haven’t heard before, but I think it’ll stick in my head.

    Like other people have said, having a community of healthy folks helps. Things I would never think to try have improved my diet and made food more fun — like putting peanut butter or pumpkin IN my yogurt. Man, that has kind of rocked my world (and my afternoon snack!), so thanks for those fun tips!

  21. Great tips, Britt! I am in total agreement with you, especially when it comes to keeping nutritious foods on hand and keeping tempting foods out of the house. You rock!

  22. Oh thank you, thank you, thank you for writing this post!
    It has come just at the right time for me to be honest :-)
    Since I’ve been having difficulties the past couple of weeks my diet has been pretty bad, I snack waaay too much and I’m starting to feel the consequences so I’m desperate to get back on track!
    Healthy eating here we come (and hopefully smaller stomach!)

  23. Great tips! I especially struggle to eat healthy on the weekends, but I have been trying to keep in mind my motivations and the progress I’ve made so far. I don’t want all my hard work to go to waste!

  24. These are really great tips – I especially think it’s important to tell everyone you know! They can help and hold you accountable!

  25. So many great tips! I love it!! I find that keeping a food journal is one of the best ways for me to identify what I’m doing well and what needs more work. I also like that you suggested trying new foods. So important.

  26. These are great tips. I find the hardest to follow is taking food with me when I go out for a long time (11). I would add one more. Meal Plan! I find that no matter how much healthy food I have in my fridge, if I don’t meal plan, I don’t eat it. I plan to have a lentil salad with a meal and then make enough for two more. This way I always keep healthy carbs handy in the fridge, in quantities enough for at least one lunch and a dinner as well. I plan what I want for the week and double up the cooking where possible, or freeze for later. It can also help a lot with # 8, 9, 10, 11, as well as making sure you add variety. When we are so busy these days with jobs, family, friends, and outside interests, a meal plan also helps with grocery shopping. I made a handy chart for each meal and snack, what cooking I need to do, what I need to take out of the freezer, and ultimately, my shopping list. I put it on the fridge to follow for the week – most of the time :)

    • Meal planning is definitely a good idea as well! A general meal plan with ideas for meals works better for me than a strict meal plan with what I’m going to eat for each meal. The flexibility is helpful. :)

  27. I’ve been reading your blog for some time now, and I’m a big fan! This post came at the perfect time in my life! I was struggling with trying to find balance and to focus on my own well being, and the task seemed so daunting! Then, I read your post and I was inspired! I’m starting with setting small, measurable goals! This week, I will work out at least 30 minutes a day! I hope it is ok if I add your link in my own blog post?

  28. My sister just called me yesterday to ask advice on eating healthy.I will pass on this blog to her. Great tips:)

  29. Great tips. I never leave the house without raw almonds in the 100-calorie packs. They save me every time. I do well most of the time, but I’m such a stress eater and I feel like I always sabotage my good efforts. Any suggestions?

  30. This post is great! very helpful, however I find the bit about keeping a food journal really tedious! I don’t know I find myself starting it and after about half a day dreading eating my next meal because I know I have to record it, I have some learning difficulties so I find it hard. That being said i need to keep or ill end up not knowing what I had. My boyfriend always asks me “what have you eaten today?” it really just a boring chore recording everything! But that’s just me! Has anyone any tips to maybe make it less of a bore?

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