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6 Ways to Build a Habit of Eating Healthy

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Want to learn how to build a habit of eating healthy that you stick with and yields permanent results?

Building a habit of eating healthy is an ever-changing process. It’s important to take it seriously and not so seriously at the same time. In other words, don’t use building a new habit of eating healthy as another way to remind yourself you’re not enough or that you need to do better or be better. You are good as you are right now. But it’s always fun to grow and evolve.

So, are you ready to take your life to the next level?

Before we get into the world of building healthy eating habits, let’s get some things out of the way.

First, congratulate yourself for wanting to build the habit of eating healthy. Wanting to improve your eating habits means you care about yourself. 

Second, you have to understand what building healthy eating habits is and what it is not. It’s not an overnight thing but an ongoing thing—a lifestyle change. You will experience hiccups, ups and downs, and frustration, but once you’ve accepted this reality, the road to eating healthy gets a lot easier. 

Third, you don’t have to be perfect because there is no such thing. You only have to learn from the day before and improve as you move along on your healthy eating journey.

Fourth, you have to connect to the benefits of eating healthy.

Medical News Today lists them as:

  • Weightloss
  • Reduced cancer risk
  • Diabetes management
  • Heart health and stroke prevention
  • The health of your offspring
  • Strong bones and teeth
  • Better mood
  • Improved memory
  • Improved gut health
  • Getting a good night’s sleep

If none of those above resonates with you, then find your reason and keep it close. 

Okay, are you still with me? Yay!

Now that we got that out of the way let’s begin!


1. Setup Your Environment

Setting up your environment is the first task in developing healthy eating habits. We all know that we are creatures of habit and agree that our environment significantly affects our lifestyle and beliefs. 

Willpower gets thrown around a lot, but healthy eating is not just about willpower. We cannot rely on willpower alone as a strategy for long-term success because willpower is energy that only lasts in short bursts. You also have to set up a supportive environment to complement willpower.

Self-help author Steve Pavlina explains how willpower works here. (It’s a great article, and I refer back to it often.) The more you can control your environment in the beginning, the more you’ll be able to manage your urges. 

Action Tip: Plan a day to set up your healthy eating environment when your motivation is high. Consult with your family and let them know about your healthy eating goals. 

  • Your kitchen (pantry +refrigerator)
  • Refrain from social invitations that may influence old bad eating habits
  • Work environment (desk + breakroom)

2. Keep a Food Journal to Build a Habit of Eating Healthy

Most of us get into a rhythm, and life becomes monotonous. Stable routines have benefits but can also put you on autopilot. 

It’s beneficial to step outside of your life and observe from time to time. A food journal is a perfect way to do that. It can help you see your strengths, weaknesses, eating patterns, and culprits that sabotage your healthy eating efforts. 

You’ll have a way of looking at your eating behavior objectively. Often, how we feel is not what is happening, especially with situations that occur over time, like our eating habits. 

Action Tip: Grab a journal and start documenting the foods and beverages you’ve consumed for two weeks. You can also get my fitness planner here. It includes a food planner that acts as a food journal. Sign up below!

3. Build a Habit of Eating Healthy in Steps

It’s beneficial to break it down when wanting to accomplish a challenging goal and do it in steps. Baby steps make the experience more manageable.

Building healthy eating habits benefits from a gradual approach. Changing your diet all at once can shock your body and put you in panic withdrawal mode. We don’t want that!

An Example Below:

Week 1: eliminate or substitute sugary drinks

Week 2: eliminate or find a healthy substitute for processed snacks

Week 3:  switch from white rice to brown

Week 4: Cut sugar out of the morning and mid-day coffee 

Week 5: Substitute deep-fried food for pan-fried items

Week 6: meal prep for lunch at work

Play around and see what works for you, but generally, sugary drinks are the easiest way to cut calories out of your life. After a while, you won’t even miss most of the old foods you’ve eaten. 

4. Do Healthy Eating Challenges

If you know me, you’ll know that 30-day challenges are my all-time favorite way to hack a habit. Challenges make working on your goals fun. It relieves the pressure of not knowing if you can commit to a long-term goal and brings out your competitive nature. We all love winning. 

Once you have finished, you’ll be super-psyched and want to continue progressing. I win every time I turn a habit into a 30-day challenge game.

The trick is not to do it on a hard month. For instance, if you know you have tons of parties in December, don’t start in December. The chances are higher that you’ll derail your efforts. Choose a month when you have fewer social engagements. That’s not to say to use this as an excuse never to start but set yourself up to win.

5. Build Healthy Eating Habits by Meal Planning

Meal prepping is one of the best ways to control your eating. You know what you put in your food, control your calories, and save on time. I know this doesn’t work for everyone’s lifestyle, but planning is key.

If meal prepping doesn’t fit your lifestyle, scour through menus of your favorite lunch spots and pre-plan what you’ll order each day of the week.

When you have a plan, you won’t be free-floating. You know what you are consuming in advance, and you’ll see what you must do to succeed. All you have to do is follow through with your plan. 

6. Track Your Healthy Eating Habits

When building healthy habits, especially eating habits, we cannot negate the power of habit tracking. 

Like food journaling, tracking your eating habits reminds you to stay committed while motivating you simultaneously. It also enables you to analyze your efforts objectively, see patterns in your behavior, and find solutions when you fall off track.

If you want to learn more about habit tracking, read my post: How to use a habit tracker to transform your life. 

Take Away

I hope you enjoyed this post! Remember, building healthy habits benefits from a gradual approach and is not an overnight win. Try to be patient with yourself and learn from any setbacks. 

To recap, here are 6 ways to help you build a habit of eating healthy.

  • setting up your environment
  • keeping a food journal 
  • breaking healthy eating down in steps 
  • do healthy eating challenges 
  • planning your meals in advance 
  • tracking your healthy eating habits  

Try them out one at a time, or try them out altogether, and you’ll reap the rewards from all of your hard work. Good luck, and have fun!

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Picture of Susan Pham, mbgFNC
Hi, welcome! I'm Susan, the creator and writer of Manifestaire. My mission is to help you explore the powers of your being so you can create a magical life you love! Here, you can find articles on manifestation, spirituality, metaphysics, yoga, wellness, and so much more.
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