5 Simple Swaps for a Healthier Diet

Five women share the tweak that tilted the scale in the right direction.


Eat With an Audience

Photo by Martin Barraud/Getty Images

“I have a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old, and I cook pretty healthy meals. But I realized that whenever my kids would go down for bedtime or naps, I would crash on the couch with a ton of junk food. Instead of swearing off specific foods, I decided I wouldn’t eat when they’re asleep. Now I don’t eat nearly as much junk.” —Liz Prowell, Frederick, Maryland


Look for Sneaky Sugar

“I wanted to drop a few pounds for an upcoming girls’ trip, but I didn’t want to deal with counting calories or tracking food. At first I planned to just avoid chocolate, because I know the little handfuls of chocolate chips from the pantry or the afternoon cookie add up. But then I started looking at more labels and was floored by how many products have a ton of added sugar in them. I decided to skip anything with added sugar, and I could feel the difference in how my clothes fit within a week.” —Jamie Mummey, Minster, Ohio


Plate Every Bite

“It’s crazy how easy it is to eat a small meal while you cook—a nibble of this here, a taste of that there. And then as I’m serving, I might have an extra bite or two. I vowed to stop eating anything that wasn’t from my own plate at the table, and that one change made a real difference on the scale.” —Mary Yarashefski, Chicago


Second-Guess Your Hunger

“Slowly changing my mind-set around food has made the biggest difference. When I want to eat something specific, I’ve started asking myself, "Am I hungry, or do I just think that will taste good?” If it’s a craving, that doesn’t mean it’s off-limits! But I’ll have just a bite and really savor it, then pop in a piece of gum. I feel like this is something I can keep up.” —Christine Michaleski, Virden, Manitoba, Canada


Crank Up the Flavor

“Just because a food is low-calorie doesn’t mean I want to eat it. I started scouting the grocery store aisles for new foods that have a ton of flavor without many calories. Right now I’m obsessed with harissa, the North African hot chile spread. Adding a little bit to some crackers and veggies makes the perfect lunch.” —Clare Vickery, Chicago

Our June issue is all about getting it done—from crossing off small chores on your to-do list, getting your finances in order, mastering some beauty basics, starting a workout routine, and much more. In the coming weeks, we’ll have more tips and tricks from influencers and Real Simple editors on how you can #gettidone.