How to stick to a healthy diet

For many people, unhealthy food is part of their everyday life.

You probably already know the benefits of a healthy diet: it improves your mood, helps you lose weight and reduces the likelihood of developing heart disease.

But despite the numerous benefits, sticking to a healthy diet can prove quite tricky. The new year is upon us, so you can bet your last rand that someone out there has resolved to eat healthier in 2020. Maybe that someone is you. But if we’ve learned anything about resolutions, it’s that they are tough to commit to.

If you’re planning to ditch your deep-fried dishes and doughnuts in favour of veggie fritters and flatbread, you’re going to need more than willpower – you’re going to need a plan. Here are a few simple ways to stick to a healthy diet:

Be realistic

For many people, unhealthy food is part of their everyday life. They have a fizzy drink with their meals, plenty of sugar in their coffee and lots of oil in their frying pan. Let’s say you’ve been eating like that for the past five years. You can’t expect to do a complete 180 in a matter of weeks. Long-lasting change takes time.

Start with baby steps (e.g. having one less teaspoon of sugar in your coffee) and slowly work your way towards the harder goals, such as eating less red meat.

Take the healthy alternative

Close your eyes for a second and think about a flame-grilled beef burger. The juicy beef patty is slightly charred and is nestled between a ripe, ruby red tomato, a lush slice of lettuce and a fresh fluffy bun that’s soft to the touch. It’s practically begging to be eaten.

We hate to be the bearers of bad news, but a salad with wilted lettuce, too much dressing and cream white feta cheese doesn’t stand a chance against even a burger with unhealthy toppings. In matters like these, it’s best to fight fire with fire. How do you do that? Get your hands on tasty recipes that won’t harm your health. Can’t get enough of burgers? Prepare a Vegetarian Courgette Burger with Orange-Carrot Salad. Love sunflower oil? Choose one that’s suitable for a heart-healthy diet.

Prioritise lean protein

Here’s something you probably knew: people keep eating until they’re full. A common complaint about healthy food is that it’s not as filling as junk food. If you think that statement rings true, we have two words for you: lean protein. Having a bit of lean protein at every meal will keep you fuller for longer, which means you won’t overeat or starve before your next meal.

Wondering what the best sources of lean protein are? Beans, lentils, peas, skinless chicken breasts and egg whites are an excellent place to start and they are excellent sources of protein.

Eating healthily is not always easy, but it’s worth the effort. While the tips we gave you are sure to keep you on the saddle, it’s always best to figure out what works best for you.

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