Eating healthy doesn’t have to be a chore. Unfortunately, many people see it that way. Instead of focusing on all the positives, they think of all the delicious foods that they need to give up. When you deprive your body of something, you’re more likely to splurge on food that isn’t good for you. That’s why it’s important to remember that eating healthier isn’t just a “fad diet” rather it’s a choice you have to make each and every day. Start by following these 7 ways to make healthier food choices.

1.) Grab a Lunch Instead of Fast Food
If you want to be in charge of your health, you’ll have to start preparing your own meals instead of eating out. Fast food may be convenient but it’s usually packed with calories and fat. Fast food does nothing to fuel your energy. You’ll be left feeling sluggish after. When you make your own food, you get to decide what to put in it. You’ll know exactly what ingredients are being used and how many calories are in each item. This will help you to see what exactly you’re consuming on a daily basis.

2.) Bring Your own Snacks and Avoid the Vending Machine
When many people need a midday snack, they reach for the vending machine. The vending machine is typically loaded with chips, cookies, and various candy. The chances of you finding something nutritious in there is very low. That’s why it’s important to have a small stash of healthy snacks on you. Leave them in your car or in your desk drawer. These can include nuts, protein bars, beef jerky, applesauce pouches, and all natural fruit leather.

3.) Drink Water Before Every Meal
Before you eat your food, make sure to drink a big glass of water. Not only will this help up your water intake, it will help you to feel full. That will prevent you from overindulging. Drinking a glass of water before a meal aids in weight loss and even burns calories. For an added health bonus, add lemon, cucumbers, or fresh fruit to your water.

4.) Make Kale, Sweet Potato Chips Instead of Salty Snacks
If you’re someone who craves chips and can’t imagine life without them, there’s still hope for you. You can make your own healthy chips that still help satisfy that salty and crunchy craving you may have. You can bake plantains, sweet potatoes, and kale. They get nice and crunchy and often resemble a chip but healthier. To switch things up, you can even experiment with different seasoning.

5.) Ditch the Bread
No matter what meal of the day you’re on, chances are you grab a piece of bread. People love toast with breakfast, sandwiches for lunch, and garlic bread with dinner. If you want to make healthier choices, ditch the bread. It’s not necessary. If you need something similar, opt for a low carb tortilla or create a lettuce wrap for salads. White bread provides excess calories with no nutritional value. If you must eat bread, switch to bread made with whole grains.

6.) Avoid the Middle Aisles When Grocery Shopping
When grocery shopping, don’t go down the middle aisles unless you have to. That’s generally where all the unhealthy food is. Instead, stick to the outer aisles. That’s where you’ll find your fresh produce, meat, and dairy. The inner aisles typically have pantry foods which are normally pre-processed in order to ensure a longer shelf life. Those are things like fruit snacks, cereal, granola bars, and more.

7.) Remember the Template of Protein, Veggies, and Plated Fat
When loading up your plate for a meal, you need to remember to include a few key things. Choose a meat such as grilled chicken, steak, or salmon as your protein. Next, fill half your plate with veggies. Finally, choose a plated fat to help keep you full. If you’re looking for a plated fat that’s healthy, consider avocado, black olives, or a homemade mayo.

The more healthy choices you make over time the more likely they are to become habbits. Once you start reaching for nutritious food and avoiding the bad stuff, it will come naturally. Balance out your plate, avoid temptation, and don’t skimp on your veggies. Follow the seven tips above and you’ll soon find yourself loving the way you feel.