Healthy eating is something everyone knows is good for you, but that doesn’t mean it’s simple to put into practice. Often it can be much easier to reach for processed, quick and easy meals, or even skip meals altogether because you don’t have the time or energy to prepare anything. Each of these practices harms your overall well-being, so why not set a new healthier goal for yourself?

If you want to start eating healthier but don’t know where to begin, here are some essential steps you can follow.

Smoothie bowl topped with fruit, and surrounded by colorful fruits.

Purge the Junk from Your Cupboards

The first tip requires you to get real with yourself: if there is junk in the house and it’s easily accessible, there’s a high possibility you’ll reach for it. So, why not nip it in the bud and purge the cupboards of all the unhealthy junk food options? If it’s not there, you don’t have a choice but to reach for a healthy snack or meal option.

Start Menu Planning in Advance 

A big reason why people end up eating unhealthily is because processed foods tend to be much faster to prepare and cook. It’s easy, and there’s no thinking involved; simply follow the directions on the packaging and your meal is ready.

This is where menu planning can come in handy. If you’ve planned your meals at least a week in advance, it takes all the guesswork out of it, and you’ll be able to build your grocery list around the ingredients needed. You can also get into the habit of doubling the recipe portion size so you will have leftovers for a day or two.

Don’t Give in to Impulse Purchases at the Grocery Store

Speaking of your grocery list, this is another essential tip to healthy eating. Grocery stores are known for putting the most tempting, and often the least healthy items on the end caps where it is easy to grab them. Stick to your list when in the store and avoid any impulse and unnecessary purchases. It’s also smart to go to the store on a full stomach so that a hungry tummy doesn’t factor into the purchase decisions.

Aim for a Balanced Plate

When making meals, aim for a balanced plate. This means that your fruits and vegetables should be half your plate with the rest being made up of such things as lean protein, dairy, and whole grains.

You May Have Access to a Healthy Foods Benefit

As a final tip, it’s worth looking into whether you have access to a healthy food benefit supplement. Those eligible will have a benefit card with Medicare funds that can be used to purchase healthy grocery store basics such as dairy products, whole grains, supplements and more. The fact is that choosing nutritious foods in the grocery store is usually more expensive, so for those who are food-insecure, a healthy food benefit card can prove essential. Look into your Medicare Advantage plan to see if you qualify and how to access it.

Using tips such as these can make eating healthier much simpler and enjoyable, which will prompt you to keep up with your new goal.