I’ve never been one to diet. I love chocolate, wine and snack food way too much to give it up for spinach and kale. But in the last few months, all that chocolate and dessert loving caught up to me, and I didn’t feel good about myself. I’d started shirking on my trips to the gym, my practice and felt a lot more sluggish.

So for the sake of my health, my productivity and my self-esteem, I decided something in my diet had to change – without going on an actual diet. I wanted to eat healthier to better my lifestyle, not go on some crash or fad diet to lose 20 pounds in a week. So I followed some inspirational healthy foodie Instagrams, did some recipe research and found a healthy way to eat the foods I love.

Breakfast

I’ve always loved oatmeal, but I’d gotten sick of the same old routine of adding just some brown sugar and bananas on top of the oats. I decided to go straight to the source to get some more ideas to spice up my oatmeal – Quaker Oat’s Instagram page. I found a recipe that added a baked sweet potato, pumpkin pie seasoning and walnuts to the top of their gluten free rolled oats, and I’ve eaten it for breakfast every morning since.

I love sweet potatoes, so adding them to my oatmeal has been all the motivation I need to eat a healthier breakfast every morning.

Lunch

Avocados have been all the rage for the last couple of months, and I’ve been pretty much leading the movement. I can’t go a single day without eating an avocado, and they have so much healthy fat, making them the perfect addition to any meal. For lunch, I’ve toasted two pieces of gluten free multi-grain bread, baked some cheddar cheese on top of the pieces in the oven and added some smashed avocado to the top with salt and pepper.

Not only is this filling, but it’s delicious. It’s almost like a healthier, greener grilled cheese. Some days I even add spinach or tomatoes too!

Snacking in between

Chobani lime-flavored Greek yogurt with peanuts, granola and honey. Now hear me out – I was skeptical to try this odd combination at first too. But the combination of sweet, salty and the tang from the lime make this parfait the perfect go-to protein snack.

Dinner

Two words: Buddha Bowls. I’ve been obsessed with this latest trend, which is basically just filling a bowl with brown rice and decorating it with every vegetable imaginable. I love adding roasted sweet potato cubes, spinach or kale, (more) avocado, tomatoes, snap peas and broccolini. Sometimes I’ll throw in a piece of grilled chicken, or other times I’ll add some chickpeas for protein. A variation of this bowl every night satisfies my hunger and lets me eat all of my favorite veggies at once.

Dessert

As I said, I can’t go a single day without some kind of chocolate dessert. To compensate, I melted 70 percent dark chocolate, added pomegranate seeds, spread the mixture into a baking pan and let it solidify for a few hours. This dark chocolate pomegranate bark is so rich that I only need a small hunk every night to satisfy my cravings.

So moral of the story? Don’t diet. They typically don’t work, can be unhealthy and don’t lead to a lifestyle change. Instead, take your favorite healthy foods and turn them into dishes you can eat throughout the day. With these healthier but tasty choices filled with protein and antioxidants, your practice will only become easier.

OK, foodies, tell us how you get your nutritious foods in below!

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