What are some basic steps to take to start eating healthier?

Real Mom Problem

“We're just starting out trying to eat right (for the first time, ever!). Could anyone give me some pointers? ”

by TxSun86 TxSun86

Quick Tips

  • 1. Take small steps to change your eating habits; gradual changes are easier to live with and maintain
  • 2. Start with changes like adding one extra portion of fruits & vegetables every week, or eating out one fewer time each week
  • 3. It's ok to indulge occasionally - just keep your portions small, and don't do it every day

Real Mom Solutions

If you want to start eating healthy, take baby steps to meet your goal. Let our expert and the moms of CafeMom show you how to start your journey to a healthier diet!

Jane Schwartz Jane Schwartz

Our Expert Mom Says...

The key to starting a healthier diet is to take it slow and not try to do too much at once. Take stock of your present eating habits and try to work on one thing at a time. Too many people fail at changing their eating habits because they have an "all or nothing" mentality. Gradual changes you can live with are the ones that are most likely to stick. For instance, if you fall short of your daily minimum of seven servings of fruits and veggies, start there by adding one serving a week until you reach your goal. If you eat out for lunch every day, start by bringing your lunch two days a week. If you skip breakfast every morning, make it your goal to work in a healthy morning meal most days of the week. Ordering out every night or bored with your same old recipes? Get a great healthy cookbook and start making one new meal a week.

Jane Schwartz is a mom of two and a registered dietitian and health writer based in Princeton, NJ. She is the Outpatient and Community Education dietitian at the University Medical Center at Princeton. You can find out more about her work at her website, http://www.janeschwartz-rd.com.

More Healthy Eating Tips from Moms

  • minneapolismama

    Don't cut anything out entirely. Switch to whole grains. Avoid low-fat and sugar-free "diet" foods and just have the real thing. Think in smaller portions. Eat a good breakfast with fiber and protein. Drink water and not sugary drinks. Focus on having a serving each of fruit and veggies at each meal and make snacks out of nuts, fruit, veggies, and yogurt instead of chips or other junk. Have treats as treats, not as an everyday thing. (I should take my own advice here. I am awful with the sweet tooth!)

  • lovebugs_mom906

    Most places have healthier options that you can choose when dining out, even fast food. Also, most restaurants have an online menu with calories. Get on their site and make your mind up about what you will order before ever showing up at the restaurant. Also, a day here and there of not-so-great food choices isn't going to ruin your entire diet. Yesterday was horrible for me, but I woke up today, determined to do better, and I have.

  • Silvertears1275

    I don't say that there is any one thing I can't eat, so I don't feel like I'm being deprived. If I really want ice cream, I'll eat ice cream, just not a huge bowl, and not every day. I have a bag of chocolate chips tucked away and if I really feel like I need some chocolate, I grab a few. Don't be afraid to try something new. Pick a veggie at the store you've never had before and try it. There are a lot of things I really love now that I wouldn't try before.

  • darbyakeep45

    You can start adding some healthy items in to your diet and go from there. Buy whole grain pasta instead of regular pasta and buy brown rice instead of white rice. Same price, so there's no difference there.

  • mikeysmom1980

    What works best for me is eliminating as much processed food as possible without making your life any more difficult. You will not stick to it if you swear you are going to only cook fresh foods and make drastic changes that won't fit into your life. Start with small changes and stick to them.