“Diet” has become a loaded word in today’s culture. Yet, it doesn’t have to involve the radical changes and ultra-selective food choices that we often think it must. A few simple changes can clean up how you eat and help you augment other healthy food choices you make in your daily life.

Top Tips to Eat More Healthy Food

We added “daily” into the mix because each day, the small choices you make eventually add up to become your lifestyle diet. Focus on one day at a time, and you will see more long-term benefits in the future. Here are our top tips for cleaning up your daily diet.

1. Swap your sugar for healthy alternatives

Sugars and highly processed foods go hand-in-hand. Pay attention to the kind of food you get from the grocery store. Try to start cutting out overly processed foods full of corn oil and corn syrup, sugars that make your blood sugars spike each time you eat them, leading to weight gain, high blood pressure, and even Type 2 diabetes in extreme cases.

Reducing alcohol intake is another one to cut down on if you want to make ongoing changes. This is because the sugar in alcohol can do a number on your body, causing all kinds of fluctuations in blood pressure and insulin levels.

2. Cook healthy food at home

Almost anything you can find to warm up or buy from a fast food restaurant will be full of preservatives, hard-to-digest sugars and carbohydrates, and unhealthy fats. By planning out your meals and cooking them yourself, you are automatically more aware of what goes into your food. This almost always leads to healthy food choices, giving you more control over your daily diet.

3. Stay on the outskirts of the grocery store or opt for local produce

Many grocery stores use a similar layout strategy. Often, all their natural products, fruits, and vegetables are on the outer aisles of the store. As you draw toward the middle, there are more preserved foods that don’t need to be temperature-controlled. Opting for local produce also helps guarantee the quality of ingredients that goes into your food since you can ask the grower about any chemicals used in production. Eating fresher healthy food from local producers also gives you access to more of the nutrients in the food as fruits and vegetables begin to lose nutrients through natural breakdown starting 24 hours after it’s picked.

4. Remember that carbs aren’t the enemy

Diet fads have demonized all kinds of things that we need in our daily diets. For example, carbohydrates and fats. You need carbs to replenish energy in your body and help it run smoothly. Don’t avoid food just because it doesn’t fall under a diet-food heading.

5. Don’t overcommit

Finally, don’t try to do everything at once. Start by becoming more aware of your food, and then each week or so, choose to cut something out or limit something. For example, do you typically eat fast food five or six times each week? Try to cut it down by half, then half again in a month or so. Changing too fast can set you up for a binge rebound.

Everything in Moderation—Even Healthy Food

Notice that we aren’t saying to make drastic cuts or all-encompassing changes to your current lifestyle. Long-term changes are what you’re going for, and making sudden radical changes is almost always unsustainable. Instead, make small healthy food choices and changes in moderation day-by-day. Days will turn into weeks, weeks into months, and months will become a lifestyle change that leads to a healthier you.