Developing a plan for healthy eating means setting goals, tracking
your progress, and rewarding yourself.
Set goals you want to achieve. It is generally best to set small,
measurable goals. You can set them on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. When
setting goals, consider:
Where you want to start. This could be with
meals or food. For example, begin by working on a healthy breakfast, and move
to other meals after this goal has been reached. Or, decide to eat more fruits
and worry about other foods later.
Making one change at a time.
Rather than changing your diet overnight, make your changes one at a time. For
example, try to eat at least 5 servings of fruits and vegetables each day, cut
back on eating out to once a week, or eat seafood in place of meat or chicken twice a week.
Adding something to your diet instead of
taking something away. Add foods that you think you need more of, like fruits
and vegetables. Taking things out of your diet (for example, foods that are
high in fat or sugar) may leave you feeling deprived, which may make it more
difficult for you to make a change.
Choosing more of the healthy
foods that you enjoy. Make a list of the foods you like and see how you can
change them to make them healthier. For example, make pizza at home using
low-fat mozzarella cheese and lots of fresh vegetables. Substitute healthy
foods you like for less nutritious ones in your diet.
your goals. This provides clear direction on what you want to achieve. Also,
reading your goals can serve as a helpful reminder.
goals that involve rapid weight loss. Rapid weight loss is unhealthy and is
hard to maintain.
Track your progress
One way to evaluate your progress is to start recording what you
eat in a food journal. People who keep track regularly may be more successful
at losing weight and keeping it off. (See the
food record form(What is a PDF document?).)
To help you track your progress:
Record the healthy things you do in a notebook
or journal. Look over this when you begin to doubt yourself or your
Pay attention to how you feel. Can you notice any
difference when you are eating better? Or do you notice any difference when you
sometimes eat poorly?
Notice whether your food preferences change.
As we change what we eat, we learn to like new foods. You may find you don't
like some of the foods you used to eat before you started making changes in
your diet. And you may have learned to like new foods that you thought you
Look over any lab tests you might have if you are
following a special diet. You might notice improvements.
Blood sugar tests will tell you whether
your diet is helping to control your diabetes.
How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.