The hardest part of losing weight seems to be changing eating habits. You can exercise until you are blue in the face but if you don’t have your food intake under control, you could be simply spinning your wheels. Here are some ideas to help you make the right choice when it comes to food.

It is a fact that fresh foods have more natural flavor and nutrients than processed food. We often choose the processed foods because we are in a hurry. The one thing we tell ourselves is that we will do better next time.

How many of you know that tomorrow never comes in this case? Making the right and healthy food choices requires focus, discipline, and a few simple tricks of the trade.

1. Prepare your food ahead of time. The chief complaint about making a healthy dinner is that you don’t have time. Take a day on the weekend when you have more time and whip up a few nutritious dishes for the following week. Because you have the time, you can experiment with spices and different foods you may not have tried before.

2. Read your food labels. Now, just about every food has a label on it. Here you can find out the amount of fat, calories, carbohydrates, sodium, and protein per serving. You can make an informed decision about whether or not you should eat that particular food.

3. Makeover some of your favorite dishes. Do you like fried chicken? Instead of dropping those chicken wings or drumsticks into piping hot grease, cover them with bread crumbs and a bit of cooking spray and place them in the oven to bake. Using lower-fat mayonnaise on your sandwiches or choosing to step down to skim milk can help you to whittle down your waistline.

4. Carry bite-size snacks on hand. There is nothing worse than being hungry and eating out of a vending machine at work or stopping off for a burger on the way home. In the morning or the night before, prepare your snacks for the coming day. Chop carrots or celery into bite-size pieces. Keep a bottle of low-fat or fat-free salad dressing on hand to dunk your vegetables in when you snack.

5. Use smaller plates. The average plate is about 8 inches wide. In restaurants, we get ones that are way bigger. When you fix your meal, purposely use the smallest dinner plate you have. Eat slowly to digest your food completely. Push away from the table when you are full.

6. Drink water. Drinking several glasses of water can keep hunger at bay until you get a chance to eat. It also gives you time to assess whether you are really hungry, thirsty, or just stressed.

These easy ideas are ones that anyone can implement to help them stay on the right track with their eating habits.