We’ll let you in on a little secret: eating fresh and healthy consistently is actually quite easy. We know. It can sometimes seem like an impossible dream that is nice in theory, but difficult to achieve in reality. However, keeping your menus fresh and healthy can be practically effortless if you follow these simple tips:
1. Plan healthy meals in advanceDesignate one day in the week to meal planning for the following week. Be sure to plan meals that include a variety of fresh vegetables, legumes, healthy grains, lean meats and fruits. As you sift through recipes, you can make sure that the ingredients are healthy. This is difficult to do if you are constantly trying to throw something together. Let’s be honest, if we wait to make our meal choice until the last minute, then we’ll just grab a Pop Tart for breakfast and those same old frozen fries and chicken nuggets for dinner. Bleh, who wants that?
2. Buy mostly from the produce sectionWhen you grocery shop for the week, fill the majority of your cart or basket with fruits and vegetables from the produce section and include a variety of colors. Add healthy choice grains, legumes and meats to compliment your fruits and vegetables, but try to avoid buying quick snacks such as chips, crackers, cookies and soda. They key here is to stay on the outer edges of the super market. All the junk food is usually located on the inner aisles. If these items don’t end up in your cupboard, they won’t end up in your stomach. Don’t give yourself the option to make an unhealthy choice at home.
3. Prepare your produce immediatelyIt’s easy to throw your produce in the refrigerator on the counter and forget about it until it looks and smells scary and is no longer edible. It’s also cumbersome to prepare your snacks and meals each time you eat, and therefore, you will never eat it. Consequently, you will most likely make a less healthy snacking or meal choice. Healthy eating does not have to be a hassle. Shortly after grocery shopping, wash, cut and store your fruits and vegetables so they are ready for immediate snacking or meal preparation. When they are already prepared, you can conveniently grab them for a quick snack, throw together a fresh mix of greens and veggies with your favorite dressing or assemble a quick stir fry. If you want, you can even prepare full meals in advance combined in refrigeration or freezer containers.
4. Schedule time for cookingMake sure you have a designated time assigned to preparing your meals, whether you prepare your full week of meals in one day or set 5:00 p.m. each day as the allocated time to prepare dinner. Whatever method works best for you, be sure to implement it. If cooking time is scheduled, you are less likely to grab a quick hamburger or pizza during your busy week. Life can get hectic, but don’t let your busy
schedule get in the way of letting you eat healthy and fresh and feeling good. In addition, when you make time you can use winter or summer recipes depending on the time of year.