When many of us think of losing weight, we automatically think of dieting and depravation. The idea of eating healthily to lose weight conjures up images of self-denial – what we can’t eat anymore if we want to lose weight. Sometimes, though, a more positive approach may help. Instead of panicking over the foods you have to give up, why not incorporate lots of different and interesting foods into your diet, so that there’s just no room for the naughty stuff?

If you want to establish healthy eating habits – whether it’s for weight loss or some other reason – one of the best things you can do is focus on what you do get to eat. Here are some positive tips for making healthy eating a habit.

1. Whole grains

This does not mean that you just replace your white bread with store-bought whole wheat bread. That may be a start, but the world of whole grains is quite varied. Try incorporating a new whole grain-based dish into your meals each week. Some grains to try are:

* Millet
* Quinoa
* Brown rice
* Basmati brown rice (has a popcorn-like flavor)
* Wheat berries

Adding these foods into your diet can be a fun challenge. You can incorporate them into homemade breads and muffins and casseroles, or make them into grain loaves. They can be cooked into soups or eaten with just some seasonings. Wheat berries can be sprouted. Get creative with your whole grains!

2. Meats and fish

Look into lean turkey, chicken, fish, and beef. As you incorporate these into your diet, you may well find that there is no longer room for fatty steaks, burgers, and other less healthy cuts of meat. You could roast a turkey breast on Sunday, then use the leftover lean meat during the week for snacks and lunches. Lean beef can be made into shish kabobs, fajitas, and other flavorful dishes.

Fish is surprisingly versatile, too – baked, broiled, or grilled, fish can be a vehicle for all kinds of flavorful sauces and spice combinations.

3. Vegetables and fruits

Of course, adding more of these important foods into your diet is vital. A combination of raw and cooked is probably best. At meals, try to get out of the mentality of “one vegetable” or “one fruit” as an accompaniment to your meal. Instead, don’t be afraid to have salad, fruit, and a cooked vegetable at one meal. Once again, you are “edging out” the less healthy competition!

You also may not have explored the realm of interesting and unusual vegetables. Jicama, celery root, fennel, leeks, and fresh beets may be foods you have not tried before. Fruits come in an amazing variety, too – try kumquats, star fruit, unusual melons, papayas, and so forth.

4. Legumes and beans

Getting protein from beans and legumes is a very healthy habit to get into. Beans contain all sorts of important nutrients, and they are naturally low in fat and high in fiber. You can make bean dips, spreads, and casseroles; you can eat them boiled and baked. Green beans can be steamed and tossed with flavorful herbs and spices, and snap peas can be stir-fried.

Now that you have added all these good foods to your diet, you may not have room for the fatty snacks anymore!