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12 Clever Ways to Eat Healthier & Lose Weight (Without Giving Up Chocolate)

I could tell you to eliminate every drink but water and unsweetened coffee, all sugar, white bread, pasta, and anything that has been fried from your diet to eat healthier and lose weight. 

But guess what? You know that already.

I could tell you that cooking at home will help you eat healthier and smaller portions. You know that too.

If you want to eat healthier and lose weight, your problem isn’t that you don’t know the difference between healthy and fattening food. 

Do you know what the real problem is? Emotion, exhaustion, and execution are your enemies when it comes to eating healthier.

If you are anything like me, you have every intention of giving up sugar, until that plate of fresh strawberry shortcake with vanilla ice cream shows up. 

My passion is wellness and health, and yet, I find myself in McDonald's from time to time. Yes, I know the food is unhealthy.

Sometimes mamas, even ones that generally serve heaps of organic produce, whole grains, and sugar-free cakes end up eating at a fast food restaurant because they get tired, or it is the only option in miles, or their kids beg you until you can no longer say no.

So stop getting down on yourself about once in a while, and start focusing on your everyday rules, habits, and go-tos. 

The following list will help you prepare for how you will eat when negative emotions, exhaustion, or a lack of willpower keep you from eating colorful meals that nourish your body and soul. 

Rule Number 1: Three raw veggies before every lunch and dinner

If you are only going to take away one tip from this article to eat healthier and lose weight, it’s this: eat three different veggies before every lunch and dinner. There is a catch, which is that salad does not count. 

The veggies need to be something you can cut to count. So prepare some carrot sticks, slice some tomatoes, red peppers, or cucumbers, prepare a bowl of red beet salad, eat some shredded cabbage, or add sliced zucchini to your group of three.

Prepare for exhaustion and lack of willpower the first four weeks by always preparing the raw veggies the night before or every morning. 

Once you get in the groove of always eating your raw veggies before a meal, you can prepare them as you cook lunch or dinner. 

Adding more fiber to your diet will eventually result in a flatter tummy and better digestion.

It's important to get everyone in your family to follow the new rules. This can be a challenge if they don't think they like raw veggies. So employ tactic number two.

Make Lunch Your Biggest Meal of the Day

Take a lesson from the traditional European culture and make lunch the most substantial meal of your day. This will fill you up and provide your body with energy when you need it most.

Nourishing your body with veggies, whole grains, fruit, and lean proteins will keep you from reaching for sugary, fatty, or salty snacks in the afternoon.

Eating dinner at lunch will also give your body time to digest, so you don't go to bed with a full stomach. You may fall asleep faster and get higher quality sleep if you make the switch to eating your most substantial meal in the middle of the day as well. Give it a try.

Drink a Half Liter of Water With a Squeezed Lemon

Drink a half liter of water with the juice of one squeezed lemon first thing in the morning. Starting the day dehydrated can make you feel more fatigued and hungry than you are.

The lemon water will also give you a fresh kick of vitamin C, which is much more potent when squeezed right before drinking. The lemon juice will stimulate your digestion system, help with skin repair, and may strengthen your immune system.

Rule #2 Eat Raw Veggies & Fruit While Watching TV (First)

Who doesn’t like to curl up and watch their favorite entertainment program with some snacks? Trying to refrain from snacking while watching TV or a movie can drain your willpower and prove impossible if you’ve had a bad day. So don’t fight this desire. Instead, make rule number two for yourself:

You can only eat your favorite unhealthy snack, be it chips, ice cream, pretzels, or chocolate, once you have eaten an apple and a few slices of cucumbers or carrots.

Now if you are having a difficult time getting your kids to eat their veggies, then hand them a bowl full while they are enjoying their screen time. Don't be surprised if they disappear.

Apples, carrots, cucumbers, and peppers all give a satisfying crunch while you eat them. Veggies and fruit are not only nutrient-dense, but they are also high in fiber. 

Eating fiber before your favorite indulgence will fill you up and keep you from reaching for a second bowl of chips or ice cream. 

You may get to the point where you only need to snack on apple and cucumber slices and skip the unhealthy dose of ice cream altogether.

Give Yourself an Escape Plan

The third way out is to eat one treat a day. 

Yes, eat one treat a day!

But eat ONLY ONE treat, and anything fried or containing sugar or white flour counts. This means one sweetened beverage, white bread, pastry, cake, sugar coffee, soda, chips, fries, or cookies. 

Yes, I understand that you will get faster results in slimming down if you give up all white flour and sugar. Yes, you will indeed eat healthier and feel better if you give up sugar and white flour. If you can do this, then I applaud you!

My humble opinion (and experience) is that most mortals cannot give up sugar and white flour for a lifetime. Sure, you can give it up for a couple of weeks, maybe even months. You could feel so good, that you manage to make it a lifetime.

I want to give you sustainable ways to eat healthier and lose weight that will last until your last breath becomes air. This means you can eat one treat a day.

WAIT. Do not underestimate the power and the difficulty of living by this rule. One treat means you can’t have your cake and eat it too if you also order a vanilla latte. The vanilla latte is already the treat. You need to choose one.

Do you know why French women can stay slim despite their decadent food? I think they live by this rule. They thoroughly revel in the decadent piece of triple-layer fudge cake with raspberries and cream. Then they drink their coffee black and pass on the bowl of white pasta in favor of steamed veggies and fish.

The one treat rule is your escape plan when faced with the reality of your emotions, celebrations, and well, life. 

Rule #4 In Times of Negative Emotion, Treat Yourself at Night

There are times when we float through life, and everything goes well. There are times when negative emotions like apathy, depression, sadness, frustration, anger, or fear sweep in a consume our focus. 

You can prepare for emotion by having strict rules in place to save yourself from overeating sugar, salt, and unhealthy fat. 

If you wake up on the wrong side of the bed and are in a period of grief, depression, sadness, or stress, then save your one treat of the day until after four in the afternoon.

Your willpower can decline throughout the day. A decrease in willpower isn't a challenge when you are feeling balanced and happy. You know you used up your free card for the brownie at your nine thirty work break, and you have no trouble resisting the goodies until your eyes close that night.

It is a different story if you are carrying the heavy weight of negative emotion. You will find it difficult, if not impossible to abide by the one-treat-per-day rule if you eat your one treat already in the morning.

So prepare for emotion and willpower exhaustion by shifting your treat allowance to the afternoon or evening. And remember, if you are battling anger, fear, or sadness, it is even more critical to eat regular meals at the same time every day.

If You Find Yourself at Fast Food, Order a Happy Meal

If you end up at a fast food restaurant, then try ordering the child’s portion and opting for water instead of soda or juice. 

A child's meal has far fewer calories than a regular menu. 

A Bigmac and small fries at McDonald's is 760 calories.  

A happy meal with a hamburger, small fries, and apple slices has 380 calories. 

Add a side salad, and you add just 15 calories (without the dressing). Try to eat the salad without the dressing as it adds tons of fat and sugar to your fast food meal.

Please remember that fried food is a treat, so you’ve used up your one-treat-a-day card.

Have 5 Healthy Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes

Let's not make the ideal the enemy of the good. Sure, your Instagram feed, magazines, and internet are filled with gorgeous, healthy meals. By all means, make it a goal to try some of these recipes and add them to your regular rotation.

Just don’t think that there are only two options: easy and convenient, and healthy and time and energy intensive.

You can eat healthy when you are exhausted and stressed. Stock your pantry with whole grain pasta, sugar-free tomato and pesto sauces, quinoa, couscous, oatmeal, polenta, lentils, rice, and beans, and your freezer with stirred veggies and fish. 

When time is short, and you need to eat fast, then you can:

  • make a bowl of a pot of no-sugar whole grain oatmeal and add frozen berries and maple syrup to taste.

  • Make a pot of whole grain pasta and serve with sugar-free tomato sauce, pesto, and a salad

  • Stir fry veggies and serve with a side of quinoa, couscous, polenta, or bulgar wheat cooked in vegetable bouillion.

  • Serve a rice and bean bowl with stir-fried veggies with Mexican seasoning. Serve with cut-up tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and cottage cheese.

Eating healthier isn't about becoming a cooking goddess. You can cook comfort food and create good meals in minutes when you are exhausted, short on time, or stressed. Cut yourself some slack about not living up to some ideal in your head.

I’m sure even vegan health gurus eat oatmeal for dinner sometimes too.

Buy a Smaller Fridge, Shop More

According to, one-third of American adults are obese, whereas one in six European adults is obese. What could be the cause?

Has anyone suggested the size of the refrigerator? Smaller fridges cause Europeans to go to the store more often, which quite a few do on foot or by bike. It is possible because the towns, as well as the cities, are built more densely together. It's possible to walk or bike to the store.

Going to the store more often means that veggies and fruit are purchased more frequently. The fresher the producer, the higher it is in nutrients. So not only are Europeans more active, but they are also getting more nutrition from the produce they eat.

You may not want to buy a new fridge, but try giving daily or bi-daily shopping trips a try to eat healthier and lose weight.

Place your Veggies and Fruit in Your Cart First.

Another clever way to eat healthier starts at the grocery store. Fill your cart with vegetables and fruit first. Aim for your cart to contain at least 50% of produce to other food items. Then only add one treat to your cart. 

Whether a bag of chips, a tub of ice cream, or ingredients to make a cake, only place one sugar, salt, or fat indulgence in per grocery visit. 

Fast One Morning a Week

One morning a week go without eating anything. Do not schedule this fasting morning for when you must get some creative work done or require intense willpower. Your brain needs energy to function. It will slow your thinking to go without eating anything.  

Instead, select a morning when you will be sitting in mindless meetings, out and about doing errands, getting chores done, or relaxing at home with a morning sleep-in.

Giving your digestion a break will give your body time to detox and flush out toxins. Just be sure not to overcompensate at lunch for the missed calories. Drink enough pure water during the morning, and avoid any sugar drinks or juices.

Give Up Sugar Coffee

I know, this one might be tough. Starting your day with a dose of sweetness, yes, even if you get the sugar-free vanilla in your latte, is priming your taste buds to want more.

Your body becomes accustomed to the sweetness. If you rarely eat anything sweet, then a little bit will go much farther for you. It's just like how drinking increasing amounts of alcohol causes you to develop a tolerance. You need to drink more and more to get the same buzz. Sweet is the same thing. The more sweetness you eat, the more you need to eat. 

You can become desensitized to sweet. So try cutting back from sweet things at the beginning of your day. 

Is your favorite coffee drink the highlight of your day? You have to ask yourself if your morning latte is worth your one-treat-a-day card. Then enjoy your treat with full attention.

  1. Rule Number 1: Three raw vegetables before every meal

  2. Eat Your Biggest Meal at Noon

  3. Drink Water with a Fresh Squeezed Lemon Each Morning

  4. Eat Raw Veggies & Fruit Before a Treat While Watching

  5. Enjoy One Treat a Day

  6. Save Your One Treat Until Evening in Times of Stress, Sadness, Anger or Fear

  7. Order a Happy Meal if You Eat at Fast Food

  8. Have Five Healthy Meals You Can Make in 10 Minutes

  9. Shop Every Day or Every Second Day

  10. 50% of Your Grocery Cart: Veggies and Fruit 

  11. Don’t Eat Until Lunch Once a Week

  12. Give Up Your Latte

Wishing you radiant health, joy, and abundance, Heather

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