The Easiest Diets to Follow for Weight Loss

Consider Convenience and Lifestyle Factors to Choose the Best Plan

the easiest diet to follow

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When searching for a weight loss program, it's tempting to look to fad diets for quick results and minimal effort. After all, who wants to spend weeks, months, or even years trying to lose weight when a certain diet promises quick and easy results?

Although many of these programs make these types of appealing promises, it takes time to develop sustainable, effective habits that stick. Luckily, healthy eating doesn't have to be as complicated as many "diet books" make it seem.

Healthy Eating Made Easy

Everyone has a different lifestyle and food preferences. A healthy eating plan for you might not be the same as for your co-worker or neighbor. The key to sustainable weight loss and sound nutrition is to find foods that are compatible with your schedule and skill set.

Ask yourself a few important questions before deciding what to eat:

  • Do I have time to grocery shop?
  • Do I like to cook and spend time in the kitchen?
  • How can I balance comfort foods with healthier options?
  • How much time do I have to cook and prepare food?
  • What are my health goals?
  • What is my food budget?
  • Will I enjoy experimenting with new tastes and flavors?

If you find a way of eating that suits your routine and satisfies your taste preferences, you're more likely to stick with it long enough to see the full benefits. In addition, if the plan is simple, you're likely to maintain healthy eating habits after reaching your goal weight, making it easy to maintain a healthy weight over time.

Convenient Food Programs

Meal delivery plans are some of the easiest food programs for people who have minimal time to cook and grocery shop. Often these plans provide small microwavable meals that you can heat up on the go, portion-controlled shakes, and smoothies, or small snack bars for a quick snack.

Programs like Weight Watchers offer the added benefit of face-to-face support. An emphasis on whole foods rather than branded items makes Weight Watchers one of the more popular meal programs.

  • These programs might be best for you: If you can financially commit the program (which can become quite expensive over time) and would like the added accountability of group support. Although many programs include prepackaged foods, they often encourage learning to cook for long term maintenance.
  • These programs might not be best for you: If you prefer not to participate in a group setting, you love cooking and trying new recipes on your own, or you don't want to invest extra money into your eating plan.

Simplify Your Menu

If you don't want to spend time and money learning a point system or setting up a food delivery, then you need a meal plan that is quick and easy to learn. There are some well-known books and blogs (such as Atkins, Paleo, or Whole30) that provide simple food lists. If you eat the foods on the approved list and avoid other foods, there's a good chance of weight loss on any structured plan.

For overall healthier eating habits, simply following the plate method can help you achieve a better nutritional balance. If weight loss is your main goal, calorie counting can also be helpful, for some people.

To count calories, using basic math skills and your choice of many free apps to make the process easier. Even if you just do it temporarily, calorie counting can give you a better idea of your "food budget" and proper portion sizes.

If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect of counting calories, consider using hunger cues to guide your food choices. Signs of hunger or fullness can help you determine what your body needs. You can also try keeping a food journal or photo food diary. This will help you be more mindful of your eating habits without any calculations. Reviewing your food diary also offers insight into your daily habits.

  • This is a good method for you if you are on a budget, able to use tech devices (like a smartphone), and willing to put forth a small but consistent effort to improve your eating habits
  • This is not the best method for you if you aren't as likely to be consistent with food tracking, don't have access to your smartphone at mealtimes, or aren't ready to evaluate your eating habits. This is also not the best method for you if you have a history of disordered eating.

Accessible Healthy Eating

Sometimes, the best meal plan is the one that removes any guesswork. Buying certain products at the grocery store makes it more convenient to eat well. For instance, frozen meals, protein bars, and nutritional shakes can be healthy choices, just check the Nutrition Facts Label to be sure that you know what you're getting.

While frozen meals are often a bit high in sodium for everyday use, they are a fool-proof way to maintain reasonable portion sizes and enjoy meals you like without having to cook complicated recipes. Mixing in an extra serving of fresh or frozen vegetables or choosing fruit for dessert can help you balance out some of the sodium in prepared food products.

  • This is a great option: For people who don't want to read books, spend a lot of time in the kitchen, compare online programs, or make a long-term investment in a food delivery service.
  • This is not a good plan: For anyone with a medical condition that requires limits on salt or added sugar intake. Frozen meals and shakes tend to be high in sodium and added sugars or preservatives (although some brands are better than others).

The Case for Portion Control

A common concern with many of these suggestions is that they rely on processed foods. Frozen products and microwavable meals are generally not as nutritious as freshly prepared ingredients. If you get used to the taste of high-sugar or high-sodium meals, you may start to feel that natural foods are too bland.

This is why portion control is such a great basis for any healthy eating plan. Eat what you want, just in moderation. When you focus on portions rather than specialty diets, you can eat what everyone else around you is eating.

With a little bit of research and practice, better portioning habits can help you make a lasting positive change. Many organizations, like the National Institutes of Health, even provide a printable reference card that you can carry with you on the go.

Additionally, portion control naturally encourages healthier eating habits. If want to enjoy some empty calories—foods high in saturated fats and added sugar—you can have a small portion without overeating or crowding out healthier foods.

Choosing Healthy Snacks

For example, a single portion of chocolate is just 1 ounce. If you'd rather satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit, 1/2 to 1 cup of sweetness and fiber will help you to stay full and provide additional nutrients. Either way, there's plenty of space for lean proteins, vegetables, and whole grains to balance your day.

Similarly, if a craving for crunchy and salty hits, you can choose to have one portion of about 15 to 18 chips. While it probably won't be enough food to curb your hunger, it also won't take over your total "food budget" for the day. You can also choose to satisfy this craving by chopping up crunchy cucumbers and radishes. A serving of these veggies equals 1 to 2 cups and makes for a satisfying, nutritious snack.

A Word From Verywell

Perhaps the best thing about portion control is that it's free. There is no membership fee, shipping charge, or book to you're required to buy. Portion control allows you to begin making strides towards healthier eating from where you are now. Eat treats occasionally, and balance them with healthier choices that provide sustained energy levels and support your fitness goals.

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