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8 Diet Mistakes We’ve All Been Guilty of Making

Make the road to better health a little less bumpy by avoiding these common diet mistakes.

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Close-up on fitness young woman drinking pumpkin smoothie in kitchenPhoto: Shutterstock/Alliance
Photo: Shutterstock/Alliance

From picking the wrong substitutes to doing too much at once, it’s easy to make diet mistakes on the road to better health. Avoid these common pitfalls to help keep your diet on the right track towards long-term success. Want to get a jump start on the DASH diet?

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a woman is overwhelmed with the wide range in the supermarket when shoppingPhoto: Shutterstock/Lisa S.
Photo: Shutterstock/Lisa S.

Doing Too Much Too Soon

Successful diets are usually lifestyle changes, and diving in head-first can make it difficult to eat healthily for the long term. Gradually introduce restrictions and change eating habits over time to help ensure long-lasting results and avoid yo-yo dieting. After a while, you might not even feel like you’re on a diet, especially if these quick Mediterranean diet recipes are on your menu.

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Vegan banana carrot muffins with oats and berriesPhoto: Shutterstock/Elena Veselova
Photo: Shutterstock/Elena Veselova

Swapping Fat for Sugar

Many low-fat “diet” foods are packed with sugar—and therefore calories—to improve their taste. That doesn’t mean you have to cut out treats entirely—check out our list of healthy baking tips for ways to trim the fat without sacrificing flavor.

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Multigrain wholewheat healthy cereals with fresh berry for breakfastElena Veselova / Shutterstock
Photo: Shutterstock/Elena Veselova

Skipping Breakfast

If you’re just counting calories, it seems like it would make sense to cut out breakfast entirely. But many who miss the most important meal of the day end up overeating at lunch to make up for it. Try a healthy grab-and-go breakfast recipe to avoid unstoppable cravings later in the day.

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Nutrition label focused on Trans Fat contentShutterstock / JohnKwan
Photo: Shutterstock/JohnKwan

Not Reading Labels

Phrases like “fat-free” and “all-natural” might seem appealing on food packaging, but they’re not always as healthy as they seem. Be sure to check out the nutritional information for the full picture on ingredients and nutrients to make sure food manufacturers aren’t pulling a fast one. Find out more about reading nutrition labels.

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Healthy pink smoothie liquid food with cherries Greek yogurt in glassesPhoto: Shutterstock/Whiteaster
Photo: Shutterstock/Whiteaster

Not Counting Liquid Calories

Fruity smoothies, alcohol and sports drinks are often left unconsidered when tracking the day’s calories, but they can put up major hurdles on the road to health. Instead of sweet drinks, grab a glass of water to keep your appetite in check and avoid the extra calories.

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Nuts mix in a wooden platePhoto: Shutterstock / Dionisvera
Photo: Shutterstock/Dionisvera

Not Snacking

Eating a little bit in between meals helps keep the body’s metabolism at peak performance, which helps burn calories throughout the day. Ignoring cravings can also lead to impulsive food decisions just to quell hunger. Try some of our healthy snack recipes to keep sated between meals.

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Pretty hispanic girl cheeky face eating chocolate spread from jar using spoon wearing pajamas at home by windowPhoto: Shutterstock/Aila Images
Photo: Shutterstock/Aila Images

Over-Cheating

On restrictive diets, the day-to-day menu can seem a little gloomy. There’s nothing wrong with grabbing the occasional slice of pizza or a bowl of ice cream, but over-indulging for every meal on a cheat day can set back progress and create an unhealthy relationship with food. Remember, comfort food can be healthy, too.

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Smiling woman taking a fresh lemon out of the fridge, healthy food conceptPhoto: Shutterstock/Stokkete
Photo: Shutterstock/Stokkete

Not Planning Meals

Grocery shopping is tough when you’re on a diet, so smart meal planning is crucial to keep your kitchen organized. Make a fridge list or spreadsheet to plan your meals throughout the week, and you’ll be less likely to order takeout when hunger cravings knock on your tummy’s door.

Rory Cooper
Rory was raised in rural New Hampshire before spending a few years in the hustle and bustle of Chicago. Now back in New England, he's stocking up on fishing tackle, amassing an ever-growing collection of crochet hooks and fantasizing about one day living in a cabin.
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