A healthy diet can reduce risk for a number of conditions, including diabetes, high blood pressure, and various cardiovascular diseases. Research indicates that obesity, heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and 13 nutrition-related cancers cost the U.S. economy $16 trillion between 2011 and 2020. If calculated on a global scale, that figure would be a number so large that many individuals may not even know how to pronounce it.

Whether individuals have already established healthy eating habits and just want to maintain them, or want to transition to more nutritious diets, they’re bound to encounter various obstacles along the way. Identifying those hurdles can help people stay the course and reap all the rewards that healthy eating can offer.

  • Travel: Travel poses a significant obstacle to healthy eating. Professionals who travel frequently for work may find it difficult to exert control over what they eat and how much they eat. Restaurants often prepare foods with more salt than individuals would use at home, and business travelers may be forced to eat whatever is accessible, regardless of how healthy it may or may not be. One way to clear this hurdle is to research business trip locations in advance in the hopes of finding accessible, healthy food throughout the trip. Check out local restaurant menus and arrange to stay in hotels that provide healthy breakfasts each morning. Apply the same approach when traveling for recreation.
  • Time: Time is another potential obstacle to healthy eating. Busy adults often cite a lack of time to prepare healthy meals as the primary reason their diets are lacking in nutritional value. If lack of time to prepare healthy meals is your biggest dietary obstacle, make a concerted effort to plan ahead. Utilize slow cookers to ensure you can have a nutritious, homemade meal each night. Do some homework online and find recipes for quick, nutritious meals that can be prepared on weeknights.
  • Snacking: Snacks can compromise healthy diets. There’s nothing wrong with snacking during the day if the foods that comprise your snacks are nutritious and low in calories. Greek yogurt, fruit, and fresh vegetables dipped in a small amount of hummus can make for filling, nutritious snacks.
  • Guilt: Guilt is no small hurdle on the road to maintaining or adapting to a nutritious diet. No one is perfect, so missteps are to be expected. If you veer off course and overindulge in foods that don’t offer much nutritional value, forgive yourself and try to identify what triggered the misstep so you can avoid it in the future. It’s also important to recognize that, in most situations, the occasional indulgence in unhealthy food is acceptable. People with medical conditions who have been told by their physicians to make dietary changes should consult with their doctors about occasional breaks and the consequences of eating certain foods, even in moderation.

A nutritious diet can help people live healthy lives. Certain obstacles may compromise such diets, and identifying such hurdles in advance can make them easier to clear.