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Maybe you have been wanting to eat healthier, but you don’t think you have the time to make it happen. Eating healthy can seem like a daunting task, but it doesn't have to be.
The good news is, you don’t have to spend a lot of time just to eat better. Introducing a few new tips and tricks into your everyday life can make eating healthier a simple habit for you. Doesn't that sound less daunting than what you imagined?
Meal plan each week.
Meal planning itself may not be quick, but it will save you lots of time in the long run. It will also make it easier and quicker for you to make healthier food choices. Sit down each weekend and plan your meals out for the following week. Include breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks so there is nothing left up to chance.
Prep as much as you can ahead of time.
Eating healthier is easier when you have food on hand. Sometimes, we don’t have the time or energy to chop veggies for a salad or boil eggs for a nutritious breakfast. Take time on the weekends to meal prep so you can make quick healthy decisions during the busy week.
We’ve all been there- you come home after a long day of work, exhausted and hungry. You want to eat what is quick and easy, but so many times that means ordering pizza or eating a processed lunch in the breakroom.
Plan your food for the day.
If you're finding that it's not enough to meal plan for the entire week, take it a step further: plan out what you are going to have at each meal time during the day.
This can be as simple as taking 10 minutes as part of your nightly routine to plan your meals for the following day. This way you don’t exceed your calorie intake and you always know what healthy foods you are consuming.
Here's a quick example:
Breakfast: Oatmeal with fruit and nuts.
Lunch: Leftover quinoa salad from last night’s dinner. Add in some avocado, spinach, carrots or celery for extra crunch!
Dinner: Turkey chili and a side of roasted vegetables.
When you first get started, plan your grocery shopping list according to what you have at home. This way when you go to the store, you won't be tempted by things that are not on your list.
Eat Better! Its Good For You!
Opt for whole foods over processed.
It’s always better to have fresh whole foods than something out of a box or wrapper. When shopping, stay in the “outer ring” of the grocery section as much as possible. This is where your healthiest produce and other foods are located.
Sticking to the perimeter of the store will help you stock up on fresh fruits and vegetables. You can add some to your lunchtime sandwich, put a side of broccoli on the plate next to that steak, or make healthy green smoothies for breakfast.
Check the labels.
Take a look at the foods you like to eat on a regular basis. Read through the ingredients. If there are too many unnatural components or ingredients you cannot pronounce, consider removing it from your diet. Make the switch to foods with fewer and healthier ingredients to eat better.
Exercise portion control.
Sometimes, eating healthier involves eating less rather than eating different foods all together. Portion control is a great way to ensure you aren’t overeating and that you are taking in a suitable amount of calories each day.
Divide snacks out into serving sizes rather than eating mindlessly from the box or bag. Smaller plates can also help you eat the right portions.
In the United States, our portion sizes are out of control. Take that control back by eating at home – on your own terms. If you decide to eat out, ask for a to-go box right away. This is an easy way to make sure you're only eating half of a large meal; the rest can be for lunch the next day.
If you're at a restaurant and you order something that won't reheat well, consider splitting with a friend or simply opting to eat out at lunch time when the portions are smaller (and the prices are cheaper!).
Start your day with a tall glass of water.
Start your hydration before you begin eating each day. A glass of water with fresh lemon offers a number of healthy benefits. For one, it kickstarts your metabolism to work for you as you eat throughout the day. It can also aid in weight loss.
Staying hydrated is the best way to treat your body right.
Avoid skipping meals.
You may be enticed to forego breakfast or another meal as a means of eating healthier. However, you aren’t doing your body any favors by not giving it the fuel it needs. Make sure you are eating at least three solid meals and 1-2 snacks each day to keep your metabolism working at optimal levels.
When you skip this meal, it's more likely that the rest of your day will be spent with unhealthy and unsatisfying choices.
If mornings are too hectic to make time for a sit-down breakfast in the morning, opt for something quick like an egg sandwich on whole wheat toast or oatmeal with berries and yogurt.
Remember: eating healthier doesn't have to mean eating boring foods!
Always pack your own lunch.
Nothing can kill your healthy eating game more than not having a nutritious lunch ready for you. Co-workers won’t hesitate to invite you out for a quick bite, and there go your calories for the rest of the day. Eliminate the urge to eat unhealthy by packing a good lunch for every work day.
Have a small plate before dinner.
Dinner is generally the largest meal of the day – meaning it’s the one where we could potentially eat too much. Consider having a small plate of raw veggies or a small salad before you sit down at the dinner table each evening. Since it takes 15 minutes or so for your stomach to realize you are eating, this healthy appetizer gets everything on the right track before you start your meal.
Along with a healthy pre-meal snack, be sure to keep a glass of water at the ready. Staying hydrated also helps keep hunger at bay.
Drink when you feel hunger.
Our brains can sometimes mistake hunger for thirst. When you are feeling like you want to snack, try drinking some water instead. You may find that your craving goes away, and you don’t consume any unnecessary calories! That's a win for us!
Take your time.
Eating quickly can cause you to consume too much food at one time. Instead of scarfing down your meal, take your time. Enjoy each bite and pause between each. Sip your drink throughout the meal as well to lengthen the process. Taking longer to eat lets your stomach determine you are full before you have eaten more than you should.
Keep healthy snacks on hand.
Having a well-stocked supply of delicious and healthy snacks always available keeps the urge of bad snacking at bay. Put a bowl of fresh fruit on the counter for you to grab when hunger strikes. Keep a storage baggie of nuts in your purse or car for on-the-go snacking.
Eliminate junk food in your kitchen.
It seems obvious that if you don’t have it in the house, you won’t eat it. However, so many people think if they hide it in the back of the pantry, they can stay away from it. Some can, but others cannot (others is me). Getting rid of the "bad" foods will prevent the urge to raid the fridge or cabinets looking for them.
Prepare yourself for late night snacking. If you know it's going to happen, swap those crutch foods (like chips) out for healthier alternatives that still pack a crunch (like cherry tomatoes and celery sticks). These alternatives offer great crunch without any added sugar.
Find healthy alternatives.
Maybe you love ice cream, and don’t want to give it up even if you are trying to eat healthier. Substitute your favorites for a lower calorie, healthier version, sugar-free Keto ice cream seem to work well with myself and my son. Or, switch to frozen yogurt. Finding healthier substitutions for the less than healthy foods we love is a great way to eat better overall.
As you can see, eating better doesn’t have to take up a lot of time. It’s more about being mindful about what you consume every day. Making a conscious effort to eat healthy goes a long way, and you’ll soon start to notice the changes becoming everyday habits in your life.
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