Choosing or creating a diet plan to suit your goals isn’t always easy, and following said plan can be even more difficult. It’s an all-too-common struggle among non-gymgoers and fitness fanatics alike, but there are plenty of steps you can take to avoid some of the most common diet pitfalls.

Whether you’re trying to kickstart a new meal plan or come back from a hiatus, follow these simple tips to stay on track and hit your strength and physique goals.

1. Cut calories when eating out

Knowing how many calories are in that stir-fry you’ve just ordered not only helps keep your nutrition in line but also may help others make healthier choices, according to two recent studies. In a meta-analysis of more than 200 studies on the effect of displaying calories on both consumers and retailers, Australian researchers found that women ate 60 fewer calories a meal on average (83 calories for those who were overweight) when the menu displayed calorie counts. And a study of nearly 762,000 restaurant reviews found that when restaurants posted calorie information, more consumer online reviews also discussed the health bene ts of their favorite fare. What’s more, the posts weren’t limited to high-income areas—even those in lower-income areas seemed to be more involved with chatting about healthier dining choices.

2. Be smart about meat

When you’re buying meat at the grocery store, you don’t know how long it’s been sitting around—and it can take weeks to get from the farm to your refrigerator.

3. Get professional help

Does your eating plan lack direction? An R.D. might be the best way to make sure you’re getting the macros and nutrition you need to fuel you for success.

4. Avoid the late-night munchies

One more reason to put a stop to midnight snacking: A recent study published in the journal Experimental Physiology found rats that were fed at the beginning of their rest cycle (when they should be sleeping) had a drastic spike in triglyceride levels compared with when they ate at the beginning of their active phase. High blood fat levels like these can up your risk of heart disease and diabetes—not to mention the added calories that extra snacks can bring at night.