Variety of healthy foods, including vegetables and nuts, against a light blue background

Healthy eating for a healthy lifestyle

Medically reviewed on May 16, 2023 by Morgan Spicer, Medical Communications Manager. To give you technically accurate, evidence-based information, content published on the Everlywell blog is reviewed by credentialed professionals with expertise in medical and bioscience fields.

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Healthy eating is a powerful tool you can use to achieve your weight-related health goals. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating, many different eating styles can lead to weight loss.

Losing excess weight takes time. A healthy rate of weight loss is about 1 to 2 pounds per week. [1] This typically requires reducing your daily energy intake by about 500-750 calories each day, expending that much more energy, or a combination of both! People have different caloric needs based on their age, weight, gender, activity level, and other factors such as metabolism. It may benefit you to discuss your weight loss goals with a specialist, such as a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, to hone in on the number of calories you need to make weight loss healthy and achievable for you. Any time you reduce the amount of food you eat, you need to pay careful attention to the quality of your diet to make sure you are still getting enough nutrients to support your body.

Here are 3 simple steps to give your eating habits a makeover:

1. Assess your eating habits

First, take a closer look at the foods you eat frequently to look for hints about how your daily choices might be impacting your health. For some people, it’s helpful to keep a food journal to help find patterns in your daily routines. For example, maybe you have a habit of grabbing a latte on your morning commute, or maybe you have appetizers and drinks after work with friends every Friday night. Pay particular attention to your snacking and dining out habits. Once you have a clear picture of your eating patterns, you can begin to make better decisions about your food choices.

Self Reflection: What patterns do you notice in your eating habits? How are your choices moving you closer to your health goals? How are your choices moving you away from them?

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2. Look for ways to improve your eating habits

Next, look for opportunities to improve your eating habits. Some people find it helpful to follow structured eating plans like the USDA’s My Plate method, the DASH Diet, or the Mediterranean Diet. Healthy eating patterns like these focus on choosing a wide variety of nutrient-dense foods, including fruits, vegetables, lean meats, low-fat dairy, seafood, nuts, seeds, legumes, and whole grains. Another way to improve your eating style is to focus on finding healthier replacements for foods that don’t align with your health goals. Here are some examples of food substitutions that can help with weight loss:

  • Replace sugar-sweetened drinks with lower calorie beverages like water
  • Choose whole fruits instead of fruit juices
  • Add a teaspoon of your favorite jam (or low calorie sweetener) to plain yogurt instead of buying flavored yogurt
  • Make sandwiches using leaf lettuce or collard greens instead of bread or tortillas

Self Reflection: Make a list of all the possible ways you could improve your daily food choices. What could you STOP doing? What could you START doing? Now review your list and choose 1-3 ideas to try over the next two weeks.

3. Stay on track with your eating goals

Monitoring your daily habits is a great way to stay committed to your goals. [2] Apps are one way to track progress, but you can also use a simple journal or notebook. If tracking calories doesn’t feel right for you, consider tracking a different health habit, like how many days per week you dine out or how many servings of fruits and vegetables you consume each day. Monitoring your habits can help you course correct when life gets busy or when you lose sight of your goals.

Self Reflection: How will you monitor your eating habits?

Physical activity and weight loss

Understanding emotional eating

Body positivity and weight


  1. Losing Weight. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed September 19, 2022. Accessed May 16, 2023.
  2. Patel ML, Hopkins CM, Brooks TL, Bennett GG. Comparing Self-Monitoring Strategies for Weight Loss in a Smartphone App: Randomized Controlled Trial. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth. 2019;7(2):e12209. Published 2019 Feb 28. doi:10.2196/12209
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