Healthy eating can seem like a chore. No one likes coming home from a hard day’s work and having to cook a complicated dish before they can eat. Knowing how to make healthy eating a habit can seem like an elusive goal—but it is possible.

In this piece, we’ll take a look at how to make healthy eating a habit without giving up all of your favourite foods. We want you to be able to cook and eat healthy meals without considering junk food as an alternative.

Here are some tips that make eating healthy meals a whole lot easier.

How to Make Healthy Eating a Habit

Meal Preparation

Meal preparation is one of the best ways to teach yourself how to make healthy eating a habit. Cooking every meal right before you eat it is a recipe for failure—no pun intended.

What’s the biggest reason we eat unhealthy meals?

The answer: because we don’t have to cook them. Cooking can be a hassle, and it’s often the last thing you want to do when you get home from a long day of work or a session at the gym.

It’s easier to order food than it is to get out the recipe book and make something healthy. Take the temptation away by removing the barrier to healthy eating. Cook your meals in advance when possible; for example, you could batch-cook the week’s meals on a Sunday so all you have to do is reheat them during the week.

Schedule

Setting a food schedule goes hand in hand with meal preparation. Wondering what you’re going to eat for dinner is another way to fail on your healthy eating goals.

The idea behind these first two tips is to make healthy eating the path of least resistance. Sure, junk foods taste great, but we want to make it easier and cheaper for you to eat healthy meals.

Setting recipe schedules means you always know what to buy at the supermarket. You won’t get stuck wandering the aisles, filling your basket with whatever you’re craving at the moment.

Again, you need to make healthy eating as easy as possible if you want it to become a habit.

Set a Cheat Day

Set a cheat day and stick to it. We’re trying to make a routine a habit here, and sticking to a specific cheat day can help.

No one is perfect all the time, and you don’t have to deprive yourself of anything sweet and delicious. Take a day out of the week and make it your cheat day. This doesn’t mean binge-eating; just a day when you’ve got some wiggle room to have a treat or two.

Giving yourself a cheat day might not sound like the best way to eat healthy foods, but it can help you over time. Instead of thinking, “Oh, I’ll just have a couple of cookies” two or three times a week, you now have something to look forward to on your cheat day.

Setting a cheat day has the added benefit of giving you something to be excited about. As small as it might sound, looking forward to something is a fantastic way to improve your mood on a daily basis.

Use Smaller Plates

Psychology is at play when we talk about how to make healthy eating a habit. In fact, you may be able to trick your mind by eating off of smaller plates. People tend to eat more food when it’s on a larger surface, so trick your brain by using smaller plates.

Eating smaller portions helps you cut down on calories you don’t need, and won’t burn throughout the day. Keep your portions small by shrinking their display surface. You may even wind up with more healthy leftovers for your next meal.

Snack Smarter

Snacking isn’t inherently bad, but eating cookies and crisps in the afternoon isn’t the best way to curb your hunger.

Instead, bring snacks from home to school or work. Avoid vending machines and try bringing hard-boiled eggs, nuts, or low-sugar yogurt.

Not only are these snack options much healthier than the alternative, but they should keep your hunger at bay for far longer than junk food will.

Make it a Hobby

Eating healthy can be a drag if you’re cooking the same meal all of the time. It’s much nicer when you look forward to eating your supper and get excited to save the leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

Boring recipes won’t get the job done and can have you longing for an unhealthy meal that’s easy and delicious.

Avoid this cycle by making healthy eating a hobby. Look up some interesting recipes you’d like to try. Try new foods and see what takes your fancy. You might surprise yourself and become a far better cook than you ever imagined.