The Healthy Food Guide team believe that making small diet and lifestyle changes brings the best long-term gains. We look at the science behind the headlines and promote a balanced way of eating.

If you want to avoid putting on weight, use our strategies to avoid temptation

Many roads lead to overeating – but there are ways to turn your back on them, get yourself back on track to good health and avoid putting on weight

1 Beware those bargain offers

In food outlets and restaurants, we’re often urged to upsize our orders. Resistance is hard but slimline strategies will pay off:

Use your mind On your way to work, in the coffee shop, say no to the £3 muffin on offer to you for £1.
Save it for a rainy day Set aside any money you saved by saying no to ‘better value’ (often unhealthy) offers. Use it to treat yourself to something that makes you feel happy – a manicure, cinema seats, new shoes.
Think nutrition HFG expert Helen Bond says: ‘Ask yourself, “Do I need this? Does it fit in with my healthy eating intentions?” If the answer is no, move on.’

2 Don’t give in at social gatherings

Workplace leaving dos, dinner out with friends, nibbles with drinks are prime occasions where we eat for the wrong reasons. Time to rethink a little:

Plan ahead If you’re going for a meal out, check the online menu and decide what you’ll have. If it’s a party, ask the waiter what’s on offer and decide how you’re going to play it. And fill your plate just the once!
Choose wisely Go for two starters instead of a main; avoid the bread basket, watch what you drink and share a pud. And don’t be shy about asking for a doggie bag, either.
Rethink your social life It doesn’t have to be all about food and drink. Arrange to go for a walk or to a museum with a friend and be wary of friends who try to push you into eating cake with your coffee.

3 Avoid supermarket offers

The worrying deals are those that encourage you to buy foods that weren’t on your shopping list. Don’t let them override your healthy eating intentions:

Shop smart Write a shopping list and stick to it. Simple as that.
Plan your route If you write your list in aisle order, you’re more likely to avoid the unhealthy options. Or you can always shop online.
Pick your offer Only go for bargains on healthy foods you actually need.

4 Consider location

If you’re living close to fast food outlets, try to walk on by and seek out healthier food shops.

Shop around Explore your area for local greengrocers, delis or health food stores – or order a fruit and veg box to be delivered to your home.
Get growing Use your garden, balcony or window to grow fresh produce.
New routes If you regularly pass a bakery, takeaway or ice cream shop, you might need to reset your sat nav… or at least discover a new way home.

5 Think small

Giant portion sizes now look normal and they’re affecting our weight. Here are some strategies to help:

Be size conscious Serious weight watchers may need to weigh their portion sizes. Another useful idea is to think of portions in terms of everyday objects.
Love your leftovers Serve up a healthy plate size and immediately pack up any leftovers for another day.
Fill up on veg At least a third of your plate should be filled with non-starchy veg such as carrots or green beans. Check out the Eatwell Plate for a handy guide to a proper healthy plateful.
Use smaller plates and glasses Studies by Cornell University in the US found people consume 22% fewer calories when switching from a 12in to a 10in plate.

*Weight-loss results will vary and are down to your individual circumstances and the amount of weight you have to lose.