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5 Tips For Setting Healthy Eating Goals

healthy eating

We all know that healthy eating is important, but what does good nutrition actually look like? Does it mean eating more fruit and vegetables and fewer sweet treats, or is counting calories and dividing meals into carefully-weighed portions?

The truth is, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to healthy eating. After all, a professional weightlifter’s diet will look very different to that of a marathon runner, even though both may be at the peak of their physical ability.

In much the same way as different machines require different fuel, the food your body needs will depend on a range of factors, including your body type, your lifestyle, and your personal health and fitness goals.

So if you are looking to change your eating habits and follow a nutrition plan, the first and arguably most important step is to set the right goals. These healthy eating targets will give you something to aim for as you adopt new habits, keeping you motivated and helping you to stay on track. You’ll be more likely to maintain your new diet, and you’ll be able to monitor your progress along the way. But how do you decide which goals to set?

Studies have shown that using the system of SMART goals makes people more likely to hit their targets and make meaningful changes in their life. These are goals that are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Sensitive.

Read on to learn how to apply the SMART system to your food habits.

Specific

Improving your diet is an admirable goal, but it’s important to be clear on how you are going to achieve this. Just setting a vague goal to eat more healthily won’t cut it, as this doesn’t give you any guidance or clarity. A better goal would be to ingest a certain number of calories a day, or only eat sugar after dinner.

Measurable

A measurable goal is one that you can track. There are several metrics for monitoring your eating habits, but calories is one of the easiest to measure. There are plenty of tools and apps you can use for this, such as MyFitnessPal, which enables you to log every meal you eat. You might wish to measure other aspects of your diet, such as grams of protein per day or your overall weight. It may even be a qualitative form of measurement, such as the way you look or feel.

Achievable

Goals that are realistic are easier to achieve. If you are overambitious, you might lose motivation and give up. But if you select a goal that is challenging yet within reach, you are more likely to keep up your nutrition habits and integrate them into your lifestyle going forward. So rather than deciding to cut out sugar altogether, why not restrict the sweet treats to a certain day of the week?

Relevant

Are your goals relevant to your lifestyle? Think about what it is you want to achieve through your new and improved diet. Are you looking to excel in a particular sport or discipline? Or do you just want to look and feel better about yourself? This will inform your choices when it comes to food and ensure the decisions you make are the right ones for you.

Time-Sensitive

Setting a timeline for your healthy eating goals will give you a schedule for achieving them. Perhaps you want to reach a certain weight by the end of the year, or only eat a certain quantity of food per day. This will keep you focused on your health journey and increase your chances of success.

What other goal-setting tips do you have? Share your ideas in the comments!

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