Even the healthiest eater can make a mistake every now and then that could mean they aren’t getting the most out of food. Whether you’ve slipped into a few questionable habits, are following incorrect advice or are just doing what seems right to you, small mistakes can add up if you’re trying to be healthy.

If you’re trying to lose weight, watch what you eat, ensure you have plenty of energy during the day or simply want to be healthier, avoiding food mistakes is an important step. In fact, it is probably more important than eating healthy food all the time, as you may not realise how many calories you’re actually eating or what certain foods at different times of the day do to your energy levels.

To help you keep on track with your healthy diet and ensure you get all you need from your meals, here are some of the most common food mistakes even the healthiest people make:

Opting for low-fat everything

We’re constantly told that fat is bad for us so we should cut down on it. This is why so many of us reach for low-fat versions of foods in a bid to make meals healthier. But have you ever thought about what gets added to make the food taste the same or similar to full-fat versions?

A lot of the time, sugar is the extra ingredient that makes low-fat or fat-free foods tastes good, meaning you could actually end up eating more calories than you would if you ate the full-fat version. Nutritionists have found that sugar is worse for our bodies than fat, so it is important to compare how much is in your foods to find the best option.

Instead of automatically picking up something that is fat-free, opt for items marked with ‘no added sugar’. It’s also a good idea to check the nutritional content so you know what you’re eating.

No protein for breakfast

It’s easy to grab something like a slice of toast or a bagel in the morning, especially as they fill you up and leave you feeling ready for the day. However, this feeling rarely lasts if all you’re eating in the morning is refined carbs and you’ll usually find that you’re reaching for the mid-morning snacks in no time.

Too many people skip the protein in the mornings, which means they don’t feel as satisfied for longer. Protein also gives you sustained energy, especially when compared to refined carbs, which can send your blood sugar rocketing before crashing.

For a more balanced breakfast, opt for a meal that is mostly healthy protein but has some whole grains on the side, such as cottage cheese on whole wheat toast, greek yoghurt with quinoa or scrambled eggs on toast.

Not drinking enough water

A lot of the time, we think we’re hungry when we’re actually thirsty and so reach for a snack rather than water. On top of this, we tend to drink tea, coffee or sugary drinks instead of water, which isn’t ideal and can play havoc with your energy levels and diet.

Not getting enough water can make you feel lethargic, affect your skin, cause issues with digestion and generally just slow your body and brain down. This is why you should ensure you always have water to hand and opt for a glass instead of a caffeinated or sugary drink.

If you struggle to drink plain water, try adding slices of fruit for a healthy flavouring, which will ensure you can get through more glasses.

Eating your big meal for dinner

Your biggest meal of the day is where you get most of your energy from, so why are you eating it a few hours before you head to bed? You should be having your biggest meal of the day when you can still use the energy to ensure it isn’t wasted. This means enjoying a big lunch and a smaller dinner.

Eating your biggest meal at lunch can help you avoid that mid-afternoon slump and ensure that you burn more calories off during the rest of the day. Big portions for dinner might be habit, but it means that you are probably still digesting food when you go to bed and you end up wasting energy.

Swap your meals around and see what a difference a larger lunch makes. On top of this, you should also make sure you’re having a substantial breakfast to help your body wake up.