There is an endless amount of “diets” prescribed in books, online and in apps.  While many of them probably achieve results if adhered to, most people are never able to fully adhere to them because the diets are impractical.  There are too many rules and foods to avoid for most diets to be practical for the common person and most fail because people cannot stick to them.  

We believe lifestyle changes are much more impactful than short-term diets.  Below are 10 simple rules to follow when eating that are practical, sustainable and will give you significant results.  

Start Your Day with Breakfast ~ Breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism, fuels you up to start your day and helps curb cravings for the remainder of the day.   If you are going to have one “bad” meal, make it breakfast.

Eat Real Food, Not Processed ~ If you don’t recognize ingredients on the box, you shouldn’t be eating it.  It is better to have slightly more calories or fat from whole foods than fewer calories from processed food.

Listen to Your Body ~ Eat when your body tells you to.  If you’re not hungry, don’t eat.  If you’re hungry, eat; putting it off will lead to overeating and poor decisions later.

Eat More Veggies and Colors ~ This is one is obvious, but most people don’t get sufficient vegetables.  You should aim to eat two pounds of vegetables per day.  Try eating one vegan meal a day to help you meet your recommended daily intake.  In addition, try to eat vegetables of varying colors, as each color represent different antioxidant phytochemicals that help protect against chronic diseases.

Don’t Skip Meals, and Snack When Necessary. ~ Skipping meals will slow down your metabolism and cause you to be starving later on.  If it’s going to be more than five hours in between meals and your body is hungry, you should grab a snack. It’ll give you energy and help you from overeating at your next meal.  The best snacks are unprocessed plant foods, so try to eat fruits, vegetables or nuts.  Leaving yourself with an empty stomach will lead to overeating or making poor eating decisions.     

Eat Your Calories, Don’t Drink Them ~ The body burns calories when breaking down food.  So while eating an apple or drinking an apple in a smoothie may provide the same nutritional benefit, eating the apple will result in fewer net calories because of the calories needed to break down the apple.

Drink More Water and Avoid Soda ~ Water is the best drink on the planet, and it’s almost impossible to drink too much.  Soda (including diet soda) is the one of the worst drinks in the world, and is a major cause of obesity and diabetes.  Sparkling, naturally flavored water is a great alternative and will also work in your cocktails.  Tea and 100-percent pure fruit juice are other alternatives.

Ditch the Whites ~ White flour is stripped of most of its nutrition and is therefore digested rapidly and causes your blood sugar to spike. White sugar can be addictive and is added to many processed foods that don’t even taste sweet, such as bread and pasta sauce.  Steer clear of foods with sugar listed among the first three ingredients.  So skip the free bread the next time you go to a restaurant.  

Eat Healthy Fats, Not Low Fat ~ Fat is a necessary nutrition component.  It also helps keep us full and adds flavor to our food.  Focus more on what fats you are eating rather than how much fat you eat.  Avocado, nuts, seeds, fatty fishes (sardines, tuna and salmon) and extra-virgin olive oil are all healthy fats.  Also, remember that whole is better than processed, so grab that stick of butter rather than the stick of low-fat margarine.  

It’s Ok to Occasionally Cheat ~ Indulging from time to time is actually good for sticking to an overall healthy diet.  You don’t need to strive for perfection. Find something that you can stick to long term. Eating healthy 90 percent for a lifetime is far better than eating 100 percent healthy for just four weeks.