When it comes to healthy eating and weight loss, those who fail to plan, plan to fail. Junk food temptations and over sized portions are an inevitable part of life—so you need strategies to help you avoid them. The eight healthy habits below are a great place to start:

#1 Work as many nutrient-dense foods into your diet as possible

Eating nutrient-dense whole foods doesn’t have to be complicated. Apple or celery slices with a nut butter of your choice, for example, constitutes the perfect vitamin-packed whole food snack.

Eating nutrient-dense foods is important not only because nutrients are needed to maintain good health and control food cravings, but also because these foods typically contain more fiber. Regular fiber consumption has been linked to healthier gut flora, better blood sugar control, stronger immunity, and even better brain function. All of these things play a role in appetite regulation and weight management.

#2 Prepare your food for the week ahead of time

Why do so many of us end up eating the “wrong” foods, despite having so many good intentions? It usually goes something like this: You get stuck in traffic, the cat needs an emergency trip to the vet, or you unexpectedly have to work overtime. As a result, you make a quick pit-stop for takeout on the way home rather than cooking the dinner you had planned.

To avoid falling into this trap, spend Sunday evening preparing meals for the week. This will allow you to just heat up dinner when you get home, making cooking even more convenient than take away. (And if you really, really don’t have time to do even this, remember that there are healthy food professionals can rely on. You don’t have to head through a drive-through window or order pizza!)

#3 Gain a better understanding of portion control

Because we’ve been raised to expect huge portions, most of us have no idea what a “serving size” really is. Did you know, for example, that you shouldn’t eat more than ¾ of a cup of cereal for breakfast? Or spread more than one level tablespoon of peanut butter on your toast? Try actually measuring your portions when you make food at home and you’ll likely discover that your prior “guesstimates” were far too generous. (And remember that portion control counts just as much when you’re eating healthy food—some healthy foods, like nuts and avocados, contain an impressive number of calories.)

#4 Always read the label

Whenever you buy pre-packaged food, check the label for caloric content and nutrient density. If the calories in a product are high and the nutrients are low, choose something else.

#5 Focus on vegetables

Vegetables provide an excellent calories-to-nutrients ratio and usually pack a hefty fiber punch. Likewise, unlike fruits, they’re naturally low in sugars. They therefore do not contribute to blood sugar spikes and crashes, making them the ideal weight management food.

#6 Make your own meals as often as possible

Keeping track of ingredients, nutrients, and calories becomes much harder when you eat out. When you cook food at home, on the other hand, you know what’s going into it and can easily measure the correct amount of ingredients.

#7 Eat a varied diet

One of the simplest ways to meet all your nutritional needs is to eat a wide array of different healthy foods. After all, each food contains a different composition of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, and healthy fats. You can also supplement your diet with plant-based “complete foods” (e.g. hemp seeds) that contain protein, omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, and a wide variety of vitamins and minerals. This will help boost your diet during times when you’re not able to cook varied meals.

#8 Eat regularly—but never eat too much in a sitting

As the link between skipping breakfast and gaining weight demonstrates, missing meals actually encourages over-eating. There’s no advanced science behind this correlation, just the irrefutable fact that ravenously hungry people are more likely to over-eat and/or cave to the first food temptation that comes along. Conversely, eating five times a day—i.e., three small meals and two snacks—has been shown to reduce hunger, curb cravings, and keep the metabolism humming along nicely.

At Transform Health, we use a complete nutrition, fitness and lifestyle system to help you live out a healthier lifestyle and achieve your health and fitness goals. Why not book in a complimentary consultation with us today? You’ll find all the details online at https://www.transformhealth.com.au/