You don’t have to deprive yourself of the foods you love to stay healthy. Here are four healthy eating tips: Preparing your foods, Avoiding processed foods, Cooking from scratch, and Learning about nutrition. All of these tips overlap and play off each other. You can also find ways to combine them to create a plan that works for you. Ultimately, a healthy eating plan is about finding the right balance for you.

Preparing your food

Making sure your food is prepared in a healthful manner is essential to maintaining a nutritious diet. Meal preparation also helps you choose better foods. By preparing your meals ahead of time, you’ll make smarter choices about what to eat and when to eat it. Not only will you be more likely to make healthier choices, you’ll also be more likely to resist temptation to eat unhealthy foods.

Educating yourself on nutrition

Educating yourself on nutrition for healthy eating can help you make informed decisions regarding your daily diet and overall health. This doesn’t mean that you have to be a strict calorie counter or completely abstain from food. In fact, it’s perfectly fine to have the occasional treat. As long as you don’t make it a habit, it’s entirely possible to follow a healthy eating plan.

Avoiding processed foods

Processed foods are almost everywhere you look. These foods are manufactured with added ingredients, artificial ingredients, and long shelf lives. They can make your diet less nutritious and can cause weight gain, heart disease, and type 2 diabetes. When shopping for foods, choose those with less ingredients and lower amounts of sugar and fat. Listed below are some examples of processed foods. This list is not an exhaustive list. You should look for the following characteristics when shopping for these foods:

Cooking from scratch

Incorporating whole, fresh ingredients in your meals is the key to cooking from scratch for healthy eating. Whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and raw proteins are at the top of the list. By transitioning to scratch cooking, you will improve five key areas of your life. Read on to learn how you can make scratch cooking easier, and see the benefits it can have on your health. Read on to discover some of the reasons why.

Avoiding sugary drinks

In addition to having little nutritional value, sugary drinks are the number one source of added sugar in the American diet. One can of Coca-Cola contains 120 percent of the daily maximum amount of sugar. Big Soda spends billions of dollars marketing these products, especially targeting poor and young people. More than half of American children and two-thirds of young adults consume sugary drinks every day. These beverages contribute to a major increase in obesity and type 2 diabetes in children and are particularly harmful to Latinx and Black populations.

Avoiding salty snacks

If you’re on a health kick, but crave a greasy, salty snack, there are some healthy alternatives that don’t include excess sodium. Olives, for example, contain 100-400 mg of phenolic compounds per 100 grams. They also have a much higher nutrient content than typical vending-machine fare. To avoid the guilt of eating junk food, try dipping celery sticks in a healthy nut butter. Or, consider a snack made of eggs or edamame beans. These seasoned beans are packed with nutrients, such as vitamin B12.